Infomotions, Inc.The Pilot / Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851



Author: Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851
Title: The Pilot
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): barnstable; griffith; cockswain; dillon; katherine; colonel howard; pilot; cecilia; howard; alice dunscombe; frigate; alice; miss plowden; colonel; manual; captain munson; captain; vessel
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Title: The Pilot

Author: J. Fenimore Cooper

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Produced by Charles Aldarondo, Tiffany Vergon, Marvin A. Hodges,
Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.




THE PILOT

A Tale of the Sea.




BY

J. FENIMORE COOPER




TO

WILLIAM BRANFORD SHUBRICK, ESQ.,

U. S. NAVY.


MY DEAR SHUBRICK,


Each year brings some new and melancholy chasm in what is now the brief
list of my naval friends and former associates. War, disease, and the
casualties of a hazardous profession have made fearful inroads in the
limited number; while the places of the dead are supplied by names that
to me are those of strangers. With the consequences of these sad changes
before me, I cherish the recollection of those with whom I once lived in
close familiarity with peculiar interest, and feel a triumph in their
growing reputations, that is but little short of their own honest pride.

But neither time nor separation has shaken our intimacy: and I know that
in dedicating to you this volume, I tell you nothing new, when I add
that it is a tribute paid to an enduring friendship, by

Your old Messmate,

THE AUTHOR.


      *       *       *       *       *


PREFACE.


      *       *       *       *       *

It is probable a true history of human events would show that a far
larger proportion of our acts are the results of sudden impulses and
accident, than of that reason of which we so much boast. However true,
or false, this opinion may be in more important matters, it is certainly
and strictly correct as relates to the conception and execution of this
book.

The Pilot was published in 1823. This was not long after the appearance
of "The PIRATE," a work which, it is hardly necessary to remind the
reader, has a direct connection with the sea. In a conversation with a
friend, a man of polished taste and extensive reading, the authorship of
the Scottish novels came under discussion. The claims of Sir Walter were
a little distrusted, on account of the peculiar and minute information
that the romances were then very generally thought to display. The
Pirate was cited as a very marked instance of this universal knowledge,
and it was wondered where a man of Scott's habits and associations could
have become so familiar with the sea. The writer had frequently observed
that there was much looseness in this universal knowledge, and that the
secret of its success was to be traced to the power of creating that
_resemblance_, which is so remarkably exhibited in those world-
renowned fictions, rather than to any very accurate information on the
part of their author. It would have been hypercritical to object to the
Pirate, that it was not strictly nautical, or true in its details; but,
when the reverse was urged as a proof of what, considering the character
of other portions of the work, would have been most extraordinary
attainments, it was a sort of provocation to dispute the seamanship of
the Pirate, a quality to which the book has certainly very little just
pretension. The result of this conversation was a sudden determination
to produce a work which, if it had no other merit, might present truer
pictures of the ocean and ships than any that are to be found in the
Pirate. To this unpremeditated decision, purely an impulse, is not only
the Pilot due, but a tolerably numerous school of nautical romances that
have succeeded it.

The author had many misgivings concerning the success of the
undertaking, after he had made some progress in the work; the opinions
of his different friends being anything but encouraging. One would
declare that the sea could not be made interesting; that it was tame,
monotonous, and without any other movement than unpleasant storms, and
that, for his part, the less he got of it the better. The women very
generally protested that such a book would have the odor of bilge water,
and that it would give them the _maladie de mer_. Not a single
individual among all those who discussed the merits of the project,
within the range of the author's knowledge, either spoke, or looked,
encouragingly. It is probable that all these persons anticipated a
signal failure.

So very discouraging did these ominous opinions get to be that the
writer was, once or twice, tempted to throw his manuscript aside, and
turn to something new. A favorable opinion, however, coming from a very
unexpected quarter, put a new face on the matter, and raised new hopes.
Among the intimate friends of the writer was an Englishman, who
possessed most of the peculiar qualities of the educated of his country.
He was learned even, had a taste that was so just as always to command
respect, but was prejudiced, and particularly so in all that related to
this country and its literature. He could never be persuaded to admire
Bryant's Water-Fowl, and this mainly because if it were accepted as good
poetry, it must be placed at once amongst the finest fugitive pieces of
the language. Of the Thanatopsis he thought better, though inclined to
suspect it of being a plagiarism. To the tender mercies of this one-
sided critic, who had never affected to compliment the previous works of
the author, the sheets of a volume of the Pilot were committed, with
scarce an expectation of his liking them. The reverse proved to be the
case;--he expressed himself highly gratified, and predicted a success
for the book which it probably never attained.

Thus encouraged, one more experiment was made, a seaman being selected
for the critic. A kinsman, a namesake, and an old messmate of the
author, one now in command on a foreign station, was chosen, and a
considerable portion of the first volume was read to him. There is no
wish to conceal the satisfaction with which the effect on this listener
was observed. He treated the whole matter as fact, and his criticisms
were strictly professional, and perfectly just. But the interest he
betrayed could not be mistaken. It gave a perfect and most gratifying
assurance that the work would be more likely to find favor with nautical
men than with any other class of readers.

The Pilot could scarcely be a favorite with females. The story has
little interest for them, nor was it much heeded by the author of the
book, in the progress of his labors. His aim was to illustrate vessels
and the ocean, rather than to draw any pictures of sentiment and love.
In this last respect, the book has small claims on the reader's
attention, though it is hoped that the story has sufficient interest to
relieve the more strictly nautical features of the work.

It would be affectation to deny that the Pilot met with a most unlooked-
for success. The novelty of the design probably contributed a large
share of this result. Sea-tales came into vogue, as a consequence; and,
as every practical part of knowledge has its uses, something has been
gained by letting the landsman into the secrets of the seaman's manner
of life. Perhaps, in some small degree, an interest has been awakened in
behalf of a very numerous, and what has hitherto been a sort of
proscribed class of men, that may directly tend to a melioration of
their condition.

It is not easy to make the public comprehend all the necessities of a
service afloat. With several hundred rude beings confined within the
narrow limits of a vessel, men of all nations and of the lowest habits,
it would be to the last degree indiscreet to commence their reformation
by relaxing the bonds of discipline, under the mistaken impulses of a
false philanthropy. It has a lofty sound, to be sure, to talk about
American citizens being too good to be brought under the lash, upon the
high seas; but he must have a very mistaken notion who does not see that
tens of thousands of these pretending persons on shore, even, would be
greatly benefited by a little judicious flogging. It is the judgment in
administering, and not the mode of punishment, that requires to be
looked into; and, in this respect, there has certainly been a great
improvement of late years. It is seldom, indeed, that any institution,
practice, or system, is improved by the blind interference of those who
know nothing about it. Better would it be to trust to the experience of
those who have long governed turbulent men, than to the impulsive
experiments of those who rarely regard more than one side of a question,
and that the most showy and glittering; having, quite half of the time,
some selfish personal end to answer.

There is an uneasy desire among a vast many well-disposed persons to get
the fruits of the Christian Faith, without troubling themselves about
the Faith itself. This is done under the sanction of Peace Societies,
Temperance and Moral Reform Societies, in which the end is too often
mistaken for the means. When the Almighty sent His Son on earth, it was
to point out the way in which all this was to be brought about, by means
of the Church; but men have so frittered away that body of divine
organization, through their divisions and subdivisions, all arising from
human conceit, that it is no longer regarded as the agency it was so
obviously intended to be, and various contrivances are to be employed as
substitutes for that which proceeded directly from the Son of God!

Among the efforts of the day, however, there is one connected with the
moral improvement of the sailor that commands our profound respect. Cut
off from most of the charities of life for so large a portion of his
time, deprived altogether of association with the gentler and better
portions of the other sex, and living a man in a degree proscribed, amid
the many signs of advancement that distinguish the age, it was time that
he should be remembered and singled out, and become the subject of
combined and Christian philanthropy. There is much reason to believe
that the effort, now making in the right direction and under proper
auspices, will be successful; and that it will cause the lash to be laid
aside in the best and most rational manner,--by rendering its use
unnecessary.

COOPERSTOWN, _August_ 20, 1829.




THE PILOT




CHAPTER I

  "Sullen waves, incessant rolling,
  Rudely dash'd against her sides."
  _Song_


A single glance at the map will make the reader acquainted with the
position of the eastern coast of the Island of Great Britain, as
connected with the shores of the opposite continent. Together they form
the boundaries of the small sea that has for ages been known to the
world as the scene of maritime exploits, and as the great avenue through
which commerce and war have conducted the fleets of the northern nations
of Europe. Over this sea the islanders long asserted a jurisdiction,
exceeding that which reason concedes to any power on the highway of
nations, and which frequently led to conflicts that caused an
expenditure of blood and treasure, utterly disproportioned to the
advantages that can ever arise from the maintenance of a useless and
abstract right. It is across the waters of this disputed ocean that we
shall attempt to conduct our readers, selecting a period for our
incidents that has a peculiar interest for every American, not only
because it was the birthday of his nation, but because it was also the
era when reason and common sense began to take the place of custom and
feudal practices in the management of the affairs of nations.

Soon after the events of the revolution had involved the kingdoms of
France and Spain, and the republics of Holland, in our quarrel, a group
of laborers was collected in a field that lay exposed to the winds of
the ocean, on the north-eastern coast of England. These men were
lightening their toil, and cheering the gloom of a day in December, by
uttering their crude opinions on the political aspects of the times. The
fact that England was engaged in a war with some of her dependencies on
the other side of the Atlantic had long been known to them, after the
manner that faint rumors of distant and uninteresting events gain on the
ear; but now that nations, with whom she had been used to battle, were
armed against her in the quarrel, the din of war had disturbed the quiet
even of these secluded and illiterate rustics. The principal speakers,
on the occasion, were a Scotch drover, who was waiting the leisure of
the occupant of the fields, and an Irish laborer, who had found his way
across the Channel, and thus far over the island, in quest of
employment.

"The Nagurs wouldn't have been a job at all for ould England, letting
alone Ireland," said the latter, "if these French and Spanishers hadn't
been troubling themselves in the matter. I'm sure its but little reason
I have for thanking them, if a man is to kape as sober as a praist at
mass, for fear he should find himself a souldier, and he knowing nothing
about the same."

"Hoot! mon! ye ken but little of raising an airmy in Ireland, if ye mak'
a drum o' a whiskey keg," said the drover, winking to the listeners.
"Noo, in the north, they ca' a gathering of the folk, and follow the
pipes as graciously as ye wad journey kirkward o' a Sabbath morn. I've
seen a' the names o' a Heeland raj'ment on a sma' bit paper, that ye
might cover wi' a leddy's hand. They war' a' Camerons and M'Donalds,
though they paraded sax hundred men! But what ha' ye gotten here! That
chield has an ow'r liking to the land for a seafaring body; an' if the
bottom o' the sea be onything like the top o't, he's in gr'at danger o'
a shipwreck!"

This unexpected change in the discourse drew all eyes on the object
toward which the staff of the observant drover was pointed. To the utter
amazement of every individual present, a small vessel was seen moving
slowly round a point of land that formed one of the sides of the little
bay, to which the field the laborers were in composed the other. There
was something very peculiar in the externals of this unusual visitor,
which added in no small degree to the surprise created by her appearance
in that retired place. None but the smallest vessels, and those rarely,
or, at long intervals, a desperate smuggler, were ever known to venture
so close to the land, amid the sand-bars and sunken rocks with which
that immediate coast abounded. The adventurous mariners who now
attempted this dangerous navigation in so wanton, and, apparently, so
heedless a manner, were in a low black schooner, whose hull seemed
utterly disproportioned to the raking masts it upheld, which, in their
turn, supported a lighter set of spars, that tapered away until their
upper extremities appeared no larger than the lazy pennant, that in vain
endeavored to display its length in the light breeze.

The short day of that high northern latitude was already drawing to a
close, and the sun was throwing his parting rays obliquely across the
waters, touching the gloomy waves here and there with streaks of pale
light. The stormy winds of the German Ocean were apparently lulled to
rest; and, though the incessant rolling of the surge on the shore
heightened the gloomy character of the hour and the view, the light
ripple that ruffled the sleeping billows was produced by a gentle air,
that blew directly from the land. Notwithstanding this favorable
circumstance, there was something threatening in the aspect of the
ocean, which was speaking in hollow but deep murmurs, like a volcano on
the eve of an eruption, that greatly heightened the feelings of
amazement and dread with which the peasants beheld this extraordinary
interruption to the quiet of their little bay. With no other sails
spread to the action of the air than her heavy mainsail, and one of
those light jibs that projected far beyond her bows, the vessel glided
over the water with a grace and facility that seemed magical to the
beholders, who turned their wondering looks from the schooner to each
other in silent amazement. At length the drover spoke in a low solemn
voice:

"He's a bold chield that steers her! and if that bit craft has wood in
her bottom, like the brigantines that ply between Lon'on and the Frith
at Leith, he's in mair danger than a prudent mon could wish. Ay! he's by
the big rock that shows his head when the tide runs low, but it's no
mortal man who can steer long in the road he's journeying and not
speedily find land wi' water a-top o't."

The little schooner, however, still held her way among the rocks and
sand-pits, making such slight deviations in her course as proved her to
be under the direction of one who knew his danger, until she entered as
far into the bay as prudence could at all justify, when her canvas was
gathered into folds, seemingly without the agency of hands, and the
vessel, after rolling for a few minutes on the long billows that hove in
from the ocean, swung round in the currents of the tide, and was held by
her anchor.

The peasants now began to make their conjectures more freely concerning
the character and object of their visitor; some intimating that she was
engaged in contraband trade, and others that her views were hostile, and
her business war. A few dark hints were hazarded on the materiality of
her construction, for nothing of artificial formation, it was urged,
would be ventured by men in such a dangerous place, at a time when even
the most inexperienced landsman was enabled to foretell the certain
gale. The Scotchman, who, to all the sagacity of his countrymen, added
no small portion of their superstition, leaned greatly to the latter
conclusion, and had begun to express this sentiment warily with
reverence, when the child of Erin, who appeared not to possess any very
definite ideas on the subject interrupted him, by exclaiming:

"Faith! there's two of them! a big and a little! sure the bogles of the
saa likes good company the same as any other Christians!"

"Twa!" echoed the drover; "twa! ill luck bides o' some o' ye. Twa craft
a sailing without hand to guide them, in sic a place as this, whar'
eyesight is na guid enough to show the dangers, bodes evil to a' that
luik thereon. Hoot! she's na yearling the tither! Luik, mon! luik! she's
a gallant boat, and a gr'at:" he paused, raised his pack from the
ground, and first giving one searching look at the objects of his
suspicions, he nodded with great sagacity to the listeners, and
continued, as he moved slowly towards the interior of the country, "I
should na wonder if she carried King George's commission aboot her:
weel, weel, I wull journey upward to the town, and ha' a crack wi' the
good mon; for they craft have a suspeecious aspect, and the sma' bit
thing wu'ld nab a mon quite easy, and the big ane wu'ld hold us a' and
no feel we war' in her."

This sagacious warning caused a general movement in the party, for the
intelligence of a hot press was among the rumors of the times. The
husbandmen collected their implements of labor, and retired homewards;
though many a curious eye was bent on the movements of the vessels from
the distant hills, but very few of those not immediately interested in
the mysterious visitors ventured to approach the little rocky cliffs
that lined the bay.

The vessel that occasioned these cautious movements was a gallant ship,
whose huge hull, lofty masts, and square yards loomed in the evening's
haze, above the sea, like a distant mountain rising from the deep. She
carried but little sail, and though she warily avoided the near approach
to the land that the schooner had attempted, the similarity of their
movements was sufficiently apparent to warrant the conjecture that they
were employed on the same duty. The frigate, for the ship belonged to
this class of vessels, floated across the entrance of the little bay,
majestically in the tide, with barely enough motion through the water to
govern her movements, until she arrived opposite to the place where her
consort lay, when she hove up heavily into the wind, squared the
enormous yards on her mainmast, and attempted, in counteracting the
power of her sails by each other, to remain stationary; but the light
air that had at no time swelled her heavy canvas to the utmost began to
fail, and the long waves that rolled in from the ocean ceased to be
ruffled with the breeze from the land. The currents and the billows were
fast sweeping the frigate towards one of the points of the estuary,
where the black heads of the rocks could be seen running far into the
sea, and in their turn the mariners of the ship dropped an anchor to the
bottom, and drew her sails in festoons to the yards. As the vessel swung
round to the tide, a heavy ensign was raised to her peak, and a current
of air opening for a moment its folds, the white field and red cross,
that distinguish the flag of England, were displayed to view. So much
even the wary drover had loitered at a distance to behold; but when a
boat was launched from either vessel, he quickened his steps, observing
to his wondering and amused companions, that "they craft were
a'thegither mair bonny to luik on than to abide wi'."

A numerous crew manned the barge that was lowered from the frigate,
which, after receiving an officer, with an attendant youth, left the
ship, and moved with a measured stroke of its oars directly towards the
head of the bay. As it passed at a short distance from the schooner a
light whale-boat, pulled by four athletic men, shot from her side, and
rather dancing over than cutting through the waves, crossed her course
with a wonderful velocity. As the boats approached each other, the men,
in obedience to signals from their officers, suspended their efforts,
and for a few minutes they floated at rest, during which time there was
the following dialogue:

"Is the old man mad!" exclaimed the young officer in the whale-boat,
when his men had ceased rowing; "does he think that the bottom of the
Ariel is made of iron, and that a rock can't knock a hole in it! or does
he think she is manned with alligators, who can't be drowned!"

A languid smile played for a moment round the handsome features of the
young man, who was rather reclining than sitting in the stern-sheets of
the barge, as he replied:

"He knows your prudence too well, Captain Barnstable, to fear either the
wreck of your vessel or the drowning of her crew. How near the bottom
does your keel lie?"

"I am afraid to sound," returned Barnstable. "I have never the heart to
touch a lead-line when I see the rocks coming up to breathe like so many
porpoises."

"You are afloat!" exclaimed the other, with a vehemence that denoted an
abundance of latent fire.

"Afloat!" echoed his friend; "ay, the little Ariel would float in air!"
As he spoke, he rose in the boat, and lifting his leathern sea-cap from
his head, stroked back the thick clusters of black locks which shadowed
his sun-burnt countenance, while he viewed his little vessel with the
complacency of a seaman who was proud of her qualities. "But it's close
work, Mr. Griffith, when a man rides to a single anchor in a place like
this, and at such a nightfall. What are the orders?"

"I shall pull into the surf and let go a grapnel; you will take Mr.
Merry into your whale-boat, and try to drive her through the breakers on
the beach."

"Beach!" retorted Barnstable; "do you call a perpendicular rock of a
hundred feet in height a beach!"

"We shall not dispute about terms," said Griffith, smiling, "but you
must manage to get on the shore; we have seen the signal from the land,
and know that the pilot, whom we have so long expected, is ready to come
off."

Barnstable shook his head with a grave air, as he muttered to himself,
"This is droll navigation; first we run into an unfrequented bay that is
full of rocks, and sandpits, and shoals, and then we get off our pilot.
But how am I to know him?"

"Merry will give you the password, and tell you where to look for him. I
would land myself, but my orders forbid it. If you meet with
difficulties, show three oar-blades in a row, and I will pull in to your
assistance. Three oars on end and a pistol will bring the fire of my
muskets, and the signal repeated from the barge will draw a shot from
the ship."

"I thank you, I thank you," said Barnstable, carelessly; "I believe I
can fight my own battles against all the enemies we are likely to fall
in with on this coast. But the old man is surely mad, I would----"

"You would obey his orders if he were here, and you will now please to
obey mine," said Griffith, in a tone that the friendly expression of his
eye contradicted. "Pull in, and keep a lookout for a small man in a drab
pea-jacket; Merry will give you the word; if he answer it, bring him off
to the barge."

The young men now nodded familiarly and kindly to each other, and the
boy who was called Mr. Merry having changed his place from the barge to
the whale-boat, Barnstable threw himself into his seat, and making a
signal with his hand, his men again bent to their oars. The light vessel
shot away from her companion, and dashed in boldly towards the rocks;
after skirting the shore for some distance in quest of a favorable
place, she was suddenly turned, and dashing over the broken waves, was
run upon a spot where a landing could be effected in safety.

In the mean time the barge followed these movements, at some distance,
with a more measured progress, and when the whale-boat was observed to
be drawn up alongside of a rock, the promised grapnel was cast into the
water, and her crew deliberately proceeded to get their firearms in a
state for immediate service. Everything appeared to be done in obedience
to strict orders that must have been previously communicated; for the
young man, who has been introduced to the reader by the name of
Griffith, seldom spoke, and then only in the pithy expressions that are
apt to fall from those who are sure of obedience. When the boat had
brought up to her grapnel, he sunk back at his length on the cushioned
seats of the barge, and drawing his hat over his eyes in a listless
manner, he continued for many minutes apparently absorbed in thoughts
altogether foreign to his present situation. Occasionally he rose, and
would first bend his looks in quest of his companions on the shore, and
then, turning his expressive eyes toward the ocean, the abstracted and
vacant air, that so often usurped the place of animation and
intelligence in his countenance, would give place to the anxious and
intelligent look of a seaman gifted with an experience beyond his years.
His weather beaten and hardy crew, having made their dispositions for
offence, sat in profound silence, with their hands thrust into the
bosoms of their jackets, but with their eyes earnestly regarding every
cloud that was gathering in the threatening atmosphere, and exchanging
looks of deep care, whenever the boat rose higher than usual on one of
those long heavy groundswells, that were heaving in from the ocean with
increasing rapidity and magnitude.




CHAPTER II

  ----"A horseman's coat shall hide
  thy taper shape and comeliness of side:
  And with a bolder stride and looser air,
  Mingled with men, a man thou must appear."
  _Prior_.


When the whale-boat obtained the position we have described, the young
lieutenant, who, in consequence of commanding a schooner, was usually
addressed by the title of captain, stepped on the rocks, followed by the
youthful midshipman, who had quitted the barge to aid in the hazardous
duty of their expedition.

"This is, at best, but a Jacob's ladder we have to climb," said
Barnstable, casting his eyes upward at the difficult ascent, "and it's
by no means certain that we shall be well received, when we get up, even
though we should reach the top."

"We are under the guns of the frigate," returned the boy; "and you
remember, sir, three oar-blades and a pistol, repeated from the barge,
will draw her fire."

"Yes, on our own heads. Boy, never be so foolish as to trust a long
shot. It makes a great smoke and some noise, but it's a terrible
uncertain manner of throwing old iron about. In such a business as this,
I would sooner trust Tom Coffin and his harpoon to back me, than the
best broadside that ever rattled out of the three decks of a ninety-gun
ship. Come, gather your limbs together, and try if you can walk on terra
firma, Master Coffin."

The seaman who was addressed by this dire appellation arose slowly from
the place where he was stationed as cockswain of the boat, and seemed to
ascend high in air by the gradual evolution of numberless folds in his
body. When erect, he stood nearly six feet and as many inches in his
shoes, though, when elevated in his perpendicular attitude, there was a
forward inclination about his head and shoulders that appeared to be the
consequence of habitual confinement in limited lodgings. His whole frame
was destitute of the rounded outlines of a well-formed man, though his
enormous hands furnished a display of bones and sinews which gave
indication of gigantic strength. On his head he wore a little, low,
brown hat of wool, with an arched top, that threw an expression of
peculiar solemnity and hardness over his hard visage, the sharp
prominent features of which were completely encircled by a set of black
whiskers that began to be grizzled a little with age. One of his hands
grasped, with a sort of instinct, the staff of a bright harpoon, the
lower end of which he placed firmly on the rock, as, in obedience to the
order of his commander, he left the place where, considering his vast
dimensions, he had been established in an incredibly small space.

As soon as Captain Barnstable received this addition to his strength, he
gave a few precautionary orders to the men in the boat, and proceeded to
the difficult task of ascending the rocks. Notwithstanding the great
daring and personal agility of Barnstable, he would have been completely
baffled in this attempt, but for the assistance he occasionally received
from his cockswain, whose prodigious strength and great length of limbs
enabled him to make exertions which it would have been useless for most
men to attempt. When within a few feet of the summit, they availed
themselves of a projecting rock to pause for consultation and breath,
both of which seemed necessary for their further movements.

"This will be but a bad place for a retreat, if we should happen to fall
in with enemies," said Barnstable. "Where are we to look for this pilot,
Mr. Merry, or how are we to know him; and what certainty have you that
he will not betray us?"

"The question you are to put to him is written on this bit of paper,"
returned the boy, as he handed the other the word of recognition; "we
made the signal on the point of the rock at yon headland, but, as he
must have seen our boat, he will follow us to this place. As to his
betraying us, he seems to have the confidence of Captain Munson, who has
kept a bright lookout for him ever since we made the land."

"Ay," muttered the lieutenant, "and I shall have a bright lookout kept
on him now we are _on_ the land. I like not this business of
hugging the shore so closely, nor have I much faith in any traitor. What
think you of it, Master Coffin?"

The hardy old seaman, thus addressed, turned his grave visage on his
commander, and replied with a becoming gravity:

"Give me a plenty of sea-room, and good canvas, where there is no
occasion for pilots at all, sir. For my part, I was born on board a
chebacco-man, and never could see the use of more land than now and then
a small island to raise a few vegetables, and to dry your fish--I'm sure
the sight of it always makes me feel uncomfortable, unless we have the
wind dead off shore."

"Ah! Tom, you are a sensible fellow," said Barnstable, with an air half
comic, half serious. "But we must be moving; the sun is just touching
those clouds to seaward, and God keep us from riding out this night at
anchor in such a place as this."

Laying his hand on a projection of the rock above him, Barnstable swung
himself forward, and following this movement with a desperate leap or
two, he stood at once on the brow of the cliff. His cockswain very
deliberately raised the midshipman after his officer, and proceeding
with more caution but less exertion, he soon placed himself by his side.

When they reached the level land that lay above the cliffs and began to
inquire, with curious and wary eyes, into the surrounding scenery, the
adventurers discovered a cultivated country, divided in the usual
manner, by hedges and walls. Only one habitation for man, however, and
that a small dilapidated cottage, stood within a mile of them, most of
the dwellings being placed as far as convenience would permit from the
fogs and damps of the ocean.

"Here seems to be neither anything to apprehend, nor the object of our
search," said Barnstable, when he had taken the whole view in his
survey: "I fear we have landed to no purpose, Mr. Merry. What say you,
long Tom; see you what we want?"

"I see no pilot, sir," returned the cockswain; "but it's an ill wind
that blows luck to nobody; there is a mouthful of fresh meat stowed away
under that row of bushes, that would make a double ration to all hands
in the Ariel."

The midshipman laughed, as he pointed out to Barnstable the object of
the cockswain's solicitude, which proved to be a fat ox, quietly
ruminating under a hedge near them.

"There's many a hungry fellow aboard of us," said the boy, merrily, "who
would be glad to second long Tom's motion, if the time and business
would permit us to slay the animal."

"It is but a lubber's blow, Mr. Merry," returned the cockswain, without
a muscle of his hard face yielding, as he struck the end of his harpoon
violently against the earth, and then made a motion toward poising the
weapon; "let Captain Barnstable but say the word, and I'll drive the
iron through him to the quick; I've sent it to the seizing in many a
whale, that hadn't a jacket of such blubber as that fellow wears."

"Pshaw! you are not on a whaling-voyage, where everything that offers is
game," said Barnstable, turning himself pettishly away from the beast,
as if he distrusted his own forbearance; "but stand fast! I see some one
approaching behind the hedge. Look to your arms, Mr. Merry,--the first
thing we hear may be a shot."

"Not from that cruiser," cried the thoughtless lad; "he is a younker,
like myself, and would hardly dare run down upon such a formidable force
as we muster."

"You say true, boy," returned Barnstable, relinquishing the grasp he
held on his pistol. "He comes on with caution, as if afraid. He is
small, and is in drab, though I should hardly call it a pea-jacket--and
yet he may be our man. Stand you both here, while I go and hail him."

As Barnstable walked rapidly towards the hedge, that in part concealed
the stranger, the latter stopped suddenly, and seemed to be in doubt
whether to advance or to retreat. Before he had decided on either, the
active sailor was within a few feet of him.

"Pray, sir," said Barnstable, "what water have we in this bay?"

The slight form of the stranger started, with an extraordinary emotion,
at this question, and he shrunk aside involuntarily, as if to conceal
his features, before he answered, in a voice that was barely audible:

"I should think it would be the water of the German Ocean."

"Indeed! you must have passed no small part of your short life in the
study of geography, to be so well informed," returned the lieutenant;
"perhaps, sir, your cunning is also equal to telling me how long we
shall sojourn together, if I make you a prisoner, in order to enjoy the
benefit of your wit?"

To this alarming intimation, the youth who was addressed made no reply;
but as he averted his face, and concealed it with both his hands, the
offended seaman, believing that a salutary impression had been made upon
the fears of his auditor, was about to proceed with his interrogatories.
The singular agitation of the stranger's frame, however, caused the
lieutenant to continue silent a few moments longer, when, to his utter
amazement, he discovered that what he had mistaken for alarm was
produced by an endeavor, on the part of the youth, to suppress a violent
fit of laughter.

"Now, by all the whales in the sea," cried Barnstable, "but you are
merry out of season, young gentleman. It's quite bad enough to be
ordered to anchor in such a bay as this with a storm brewing before my
eyes, without landing to be laughed at by a stripling who has not
strength to carry a beard if he had one, when I ought to be getting an
offing for the safety of both body and soul. But I'll know more of you
and your jokes, if I take you into my own mess, and am giggled out of my
sleep for the rest of the cruise."

As the commander of the schooner concluded, he approached the stranger,
with an air of offering some violence, but the other shrank back from
his extended arm, and exclaimed, with a voice in which real terror had
gotten the better of mirth:

"Barnstable! dear Barnstable! would you harm me?"

The sailor recoiled several feet, at this unexpected appeal, and rubbing
his eyes, he threw the cap from his head, before he cried:

"What do I hear! and what do I see! There lies the Ariel--and yonder is
the frigate. Can this be Katherine Plowden!"

His doubts, if any doubts remained, were soon removed, for the stranger
sank on the bank at her side, in an attitude in which female bashfulness
was beautifully contrasted with her attire, and gave vent to her mirth
in an uncontrollable burst of merriment.

From that moment, all thoughts of his duty, and the pilot, or even of
the Ariel, appeared to be banished from the mind of the seaman, who
sprang to her side, and joined in her mirth, though he hardly knew why
or wherefore.

When the diverted girl had in some degree recovered her composure, she
turned to her companion, who had sat good-naturedly by her side, content
to be laughed at, and said:

"But this is not only silly, but cruel to others. I owe you an
explanation of my unexpected appearance, and perhaps, also, of my
extraordinary attire."

"I can anticipate everything," cried Barnstable; "you heard that we were
on the coast, and have flown to redeem the promises you made me in
America. But I ask no more; the chaplain of the frigate--"

"May preach as usual, and to as little purpose," interrupted the
disguised female; "but no nuptial benediction shall be pronounced over
me, until I have effected the object of this hazardous experiment. You
are not usually selfish, Barnstable; would you have me forgetful of the
happiness of others?"

"Of whom do you speak?"

"My poor, my devoted cousin. I heard that two vessels answering the
description of the frigate and the Ariel were seen hovering on the
coast, and I determined at once to have a communication with you. I have
followed your movements for a week, in this dress, but have been
unsuccessful till now. To-day I observed you to approach nearer to the
shore than usual, and happily, by being adventurous, I have been
successful."

"Ay, God knows we are near enough to the land! But does Captain Munson
know of your wish to get on board his ship?"

"Certainly not--none know of it but yourself. I thought that if Griffith
and you could learn our situation, you might be tempted to hazard a
little to redeem us from our thraldom. In this paper I have prepared
such an account as will, I trust, excite all your chivalry, and by which
you may govern your movements."

"Our movements!" interrupted Barnstable. "You will pilot us in person."

"Then there's two of them!" said a hoarse voice near them.

The alarmed female shrieked as she recovered her feet, but she still
adhered, with instinctive dependence, to the side of her lover.
Barnstable, who recognized the tones of his cockswain, bent an angry
brow on the sober visage that was peering at them above the hedge, and
demanded the meaning of the interruption.

"Seeing you were hull down, sir, and not knowing but the chase might
lead you ashore, Mr. Merry thought it best to have a lookout kept. I
told him that you were overhauling the mail-bags of the messenger for
the news, but as he was an officer, sir, and I nothing but a common
hand, I did as he ordered."

"Return, sir, where I commanded you to remain," said Barnstable, "and
desire Mr. Merry to wait my pleasure."

The cockswain gave the usual reply of an obedient seaman; but before he
left the hedge, he stretched out one of his brawny arms towards the
ocean, and said, in tones of solemnity suited to his apprehensions and
character:

"I showed you how to knot a reef-point, and pass a gasket, Captain
Barnstable, nor do I believe you could even take two half-hitches when
you first came aboard of the Spalmacitty. These be things that a man is
soon expart in, but it takes the time of his nat'ral life to larn to
know the weather. There be streaked wind-galls in the offing, that speak
as plainly to all that see them, and know God's language in the clouds,
as ever you spoke through a trumpet, to shorten sail; besides, sir,
don't you hear the sea moaning as if it knew the hour was at hand when
it was to wake up from its sleep!"

"Ay, Tom," returned his officer, walking to the edge of the cliffs, and
throwing a seaman's glance at the gloomy ocean, "'tis a threatening
night indeed; but this pilot must be had--and--"

"Is that the man?" interrupted the cockswain, pointing toward a man who
was standing not far from them, an attentive observer of their
proceedings, the same time that he was narrowly watched himself by the
young midshipman. "God send that he knows his trade well, for the bottom
of a ship will need eyes to find its road out of this wild anchorage."

"That must indeed be the man!" exclaimed Barnstable, at once recalled to
his duty. He then held a short dialogue with his female companion, whom
he left concealed by the hedge, and proceeded to address the stranger.
When near enough to be heard, the commander of the schooner demanded:

"What water have you in this bay?"

The stranger, who seemed to expect this question, answered without the
least hesitation:

"Enough to take all out in safety, who have entered with confidence."

"You are the man I seek," cried Barnstable; "are you ready to go off?"

"Both ready and willing," returned the pilot, "and there is need of
haste. I would give the best hundred guineas that ever were coined for
two hours more use of that sun which has left us, or for even the time
of this fading twilight."

"Think you our situation so bad?" said the lieutenant. "Follow this
gentleman to the boat then; I will join you by the time you can descend
the cliffs. I believe I can prevail on another hand to go off with us."

"Time is more precious now than any number of hands," said the pilot,
throwing a glance of impatience from under his lowering brows, "and the
consequences of delay must be visited on those who occasion it."

"And, sir, I will meet the consequences with those who have a right to
inquire into my conduct," said Barnstable, haughtily.

With this warning and retort they separated; the young officer retracing
his steps impatiently toward his mistress, muttering his indignation in
suppressed execrations, and the pilot, drawing the leathern belt of his
pea-jacket mechanically around his body, as he followed the midshipman
and cockswain to their boat, in moody silence.

Barnstable found the disguised female who had announced herself as
Katherine Plowden, awaiting his return, with intense anxiety depicted on
every feature of her intelligent countenance. As he felt all the
responsibility of his situation, notwithstanding his cool reply to the
pilot, the young man hastily drew an arm of the apparent boy, forgetful
of her disguise, through his own, and led her forward.

"Come, Katherine," he said, "the time urges to be prompt."

"What pressing necessity is there for immediate departure?" she
inquired, checking his movements by withdrawing herself from his side.

"You heard the ominous prognostic of my cockswain on the weather, and I
am forced to add my own testimony to his opinion. 'Tis a crazy night
that threatens us, though I cannot repent of coming into the bay, since
it has led to this interview."

"God forbid that we should either of us have cause to repent of it,"
said Katherine, the paleness of anxiety chasing away the rich bloom that
had mantled the animated face of the brunette. "But you have the paper--
follow its directions, and come to our rescue; you will find us willing
captives, if Griffith and yourself are our conquerors."

"What mean you, Katherine!" exclaimed her lover; "you at least are now
in safety--'twould be madness to tempt your fate again. My vessel can
and shall protect you, until your cousin is redeemed; and then,
remember, I have a claim on you for life."

"And how would you dispose of me in the interval?" said the young
maiden, retreating slowly from his advances.

"In the Ariel--by heaven, you shall be her commander; I will bear that
rank only in name."

"I thank you, thank you, Barnstable, but distrust my abilities to fill
such a station," she said, laughing, though the color that again crossed
her youthful features was like the glow of a summer's sunset, and even
her mirthful eyes seemed to reflect their tints. "Do not mistake me,
saucy one. If I have done more than my sex will warrant, remember it was
through a holy motive, and if I have more than a woman's enterprise, it
must be----"

"To lift you above the weakness of your sex," he cried, "and to enable
you to show your noble confidence in me."

"To fit me for, and to keep me worthy of being one day your wife." As
she uttered these words she turned and disappeared, with a rapidity that
eluded his attempts to detain her, behind an angle of the hedge, that
was near them. For a moment, Barnstable remained motionless, through
surprise, and when he sprang forward in pursuit, he was able only to
catch a glimpse of her light form, in the gloom of the evening, as she
again vanished in a little thicket at some distance.

Barnstable was about to pursue, when the air lighted with a sudden
flash, and the bellowing report of a cannon rolled along the cliffs, and
was echoed among the hills far inland.

"Ay, grumble away, old dotard!" the disappointed young sailor muttered
to himself, while he reluctantly obeyed the signal; "you are in as great
a hurry to get out of your danger as you were to run into it."

The quick reports of three muskets from the barge beneath where he stood
urged him to quicken his pace, and as he threw himself carelessly down
the rugged and dangerous passes of the cliffs, his experienced eye
beheld the well-known lights displayed from the frigate, which commanded
"the recall of all her boats."




CHAPTER III.

  In such a time as this it is not meet
  That every nice offence should bear its comment.
  _Shakespeare_


The cliffs threw their dark shadows wide on the waters, and the gloom
of the evening had so far advanced as to conceal the discontent that
brooded over the ordinarily open brow of Barnstable as he sprang from
the rocks into the boat, and took his seat by the side of the silent
pilot. "Shove off," cried the lieutenant, in tones that his men knew
must be obeyed. "A seaman's curse light on the folly that exposes planks
and lives to such navigation; and all to burn some old timberman, or
catch a Norway trader asleep! give way, men, give way!"

Notwithstanding the heavy and dangerous surf that was beginning to
tumble in upon the rocks in an alarming manner, the startled seamen
succeeded in urging their light boat over the waves, and in a few
seconds were without the point where danger was most to be apprehended.
Barnstable had seemingly disregarded the breakers as they passed, but
sat sternly eyeing the foam that rolled by them in successive surges,
until the boat rose regularly on the long seas, when he turned his looks
around the bay in quest of the barge.

"Ay, Griffith has tired of rocking in his pillowed cradle," he muttered,
"and will give us a pull to the frigate, when we ought to be getting the
schooner out of this hard-featured landscape. This is just such a place
as one of your sighing lovers would doat on; a little land, a little
water, and a good deal of rock. Damme, long Tom, but I am more than half
of your mind, that an island now and then is all the terra firma that a
seaman needs."

"It's reason and philosophy, sir," returned the sedate cockswain; "and
what land there is, should always be a soft mud, or a sandy ooze, in
order that an anchor might hold, and to make soundings sartin. I have
lost many a deep-sea, besides hand leads by the dozen, on rocky bottoms;
but give me the roadstead where a lead comes up light and an anchor
heavy. There's a boat pulling athwart our forefoot, Captain Barnstable;
shall I run her aboard or give her a berth, sir?"

"'Tis the barge!" cried the officer; "Ned has not deserted me, after
all!"

A loud hail from the approaching boat confirmed this opinion, and in a
few seconds the barge and whale-boat were again rolling by each other's
side. Griffith was no longer reclining on the cushions of his seats, but
spoke earnestly, and with a slight tone of reproach in his manner.

"Why have you wasted so many precious moments, when every minute
threatens us with new dangers? I was obeying the signal, but I heard
your oars, and pulled back to take out the pilot. Have you been
successful?"

"There he is; and if he finds his way out, through the shoals, he will
earn a right to his name. This bids fair to be a night when a man will
need a spy-glass to find the moon. But when you hear what I have seen on
those rascally cliffs, you will be more ready to excuse my delay, Mr.
Griffith."

"You have seen the true man, I trust, or we incur this hazard to an evil
purpose."

"Ay, I have seen him that is a true man, and him that is not," replied
Barnstable, bitterly; "you have the boy with you, Griffith--ask him what
his young eyes have seen."

"Shall I!" cried the young midshipman, laughing; "then I have seen a
little clipper, in disguise, out sail an old man-of-war's man in a hard
chase, and I have seen a straggling rover in long-togs as much like my
cousin----"

"Peace, gabbler!" exclaimed Barnstable in a voice of thunder; "would you
detain the boats with your silly nonsense at a time like this? Away into
the barge, sir, and if you find him willing to hear, tell Mr. Griffith
what your foolish conjectures amount to, at your leisure."

The boy stepped lightly from the whale-boat to the barge, whither the
pilot had already preceded him, and, as he sunk, with a mortified air,
by the side of Griffith, he said, in a low voice:

"And that won't be long, I know, if Mr. Griffith thinks and feels on the
coast of England as he thought and felt at home."

A silent pressure of his hand was the only reply that the young
lieutenant made, before he paid the parting compliments to Barnstable,
and directed his men to pull for their ship.

The boats were separating, and the plash of the oars was already heard,
when the voice of the pilot was for the first time raised in earnest.

"Hold!" he cried; "hold water, I bid ye!"

The men ceased their efforts at the commanding tones of his voice, and
turning toward the whale-boat, he continued:

"You will get your schooner under way immediately, Captain Barnstable,
and sweep into the offing with as little delay as possible. Keep the
ship well open from the northern headland, and as you pass us, come
within hail."

"This is a clean chart and plain sailing, Mr. Pilot," returned
Barnstable; "but who is to justify my moving without orders, to Captain
Munson? I have it in black and white, to run the Ariel into this
feather-bed sort of a place, and I must at least have it by signal or
word of mouth from my betters, before my cutwater curls another wave.
The road may be as hard to find going out as it was coming in--and then
I had daylight as well as your written directions to steer by."

"Would you lie there to perish on such a night?" said the pilot,
sternly. "Two hours hence, this heavy swell will break where your vessel
now rides so quietly."

"There we think exactly alike; but if I get drowned now, I am drowned
according to orders; whereas, if I knock a plank out of the schooner's
bottom, by following your directions, 'twill be a hole to let in mutiny,
as well as sea-water. How do I know but the old man wants another pilot
or two."

"That's philosophy," muttered the cockswain of the whale-boat, in a
voice that was audible: "but it's a hard strain on a man's conscience to
hold on in such an anchorage!"

"Then keep your anchor down, and follow it to the bottom," said the
pilot to himself; "it's worse to contend with a fool than a gale of
wind; but if----"

"No, no, sir--no fool neither," interrupted Griffith. "Barnstable does
not deserve that epithet, though he certainly carries the point of duty
to the extreme. Heave up at once, Mr. Barnstable, and get out of this
bay as fast as possible."

"Ah! you don't give the order with half the pleasure with which I shall
execute it; pull away, boys--the Ariel shall never lay her bones in such
a hard bed, if I can help it."

As the commander of the schooner uttered these words with a cheering
voice, his men spontaneously shouted, and the whale-boat darted away
from her companion, and was soon lost in the gloomy shadows cast from
the cliffs.

In the mean time, the oarsmen of the barge were not idle, but by
strenuous efforts they forced the heavy boat rapidly through the water,
and in a few minutes she ran alongside of the frigate. During this
period the pilot, in a voice which had lost all the startling fierceness
and authority it had manifested in his short dialogue with Barnstable,
requested Griffith to repeat to him, slowly, the names of the officers
that belonged to his ship. When the young lieutenant had complied with
this request, he observed to his companion:

"All good men and true, Mr. Pilot; and though this business in which you
are just now engaged may be hazardous to an Englishman, there are none
with us who will betray you. We need your services, and as we expect
good faith from you, so shall we offer it to you in exchange."

"And how know you that I need its exercise?" asked the pilot, in a
manner that denoted a cold indifference to the subject.

"Why, though you talk pretty good English, for a native," returned
Griffith, "yet you have a small bur-r-r in your mouth that would prick
the tongue of a man who was born on the other side of the Atlantic."

"It is but of little moment where a man is born, or how he speaks,"
returned the pilot, coldly, "so that he does his duty bravely and in
good faith."

It was perhaps fortunate for the harmony of this dialogue, that the
gloom, which had now increased to positive darkness, completely
concealed the look of scornful irony that crossed the handsome features
of the young sailor, as he replied: "True, true, so that he does his
duty, as you say, in good faith. But, as Barnstable observed, you must
know your road well to travel among these shoals on such a night as
this. Know you what water we draw?"

"'Tis a frigate's draught, and I shall endeavor to keep you in four
fathoms; less than that would be dangerous."

"She's a sweet boat!" said Griffith, "and minds her helm as a marine
watches the eye of his sergeant at a drill; but you must give her room
in stays, for she fore-reaches, as if she would put out the wind's eye."

The pilot attended, with a practised ear, to this description of the
qualities of the ship that he was about to attempt extricating from an
extremely dangerous situation. Not a syllable was lost on him; and when
Griffith had ended, he remarked, with the singular coldness that
pervaded his manner:

"That is both a good and a bad quality in a narrow channel. I fear it
will be the latter to-night, when we shall require to have the ship in
leading-strings."

"I suppose we must feel our way with the lead?" said Griffith.

"We shall need both eyes and leads," returned the pilot, recurring
insensibly to his soliloquizing tone of voice. "I have been both in and
out in darker nights than this, though never with a heavier draught than
a half-two."

"Then, by heaven, you are not fit to handle that ship among these rocks
and breakers!" exclaimed Griffith; "your men of a light draught never
know their water; 'tis the deep keel only that finds a channel;--pilot!
pilot! beware how you trifle with us ignorantly; for 'tis a dangerous
experiment to play at hazards with an enemy."

"Young man, you know not what you threaten, nor whom," said the pilot
sternly, though his quiet manner still remained undisturbed; "you forget
that you have a superior here, and that I have none."

"That shall be as you discharge your duty," said Griffith; "for if----"

"Peace!" interrupted the pilot; "we approach the ship, let us enter in
harmony."

He threw himself back on the cushions when he had said this; and
Griffith, though filled with the apprehensions of suffering, either by
great ignorance or treachery on the part of his companion, smothered his
feelings so far as to be silent, and they ascended the side of the
vessel in apparent cordiality.

The frigate was already riding on lengthened seas, that rolled in from
the ocean at each successive moment with increasing violence, though her
topsails still hung supinely from her yards; the air, which continued to
breathe occasionally from the land, being unable to shake the heavy
canvas of which they were composed.

The only sounds that were audible, when Griffith and the pilot had
ascended to the gangway of the frigate, were produced by the sullen
dashing of the sea against the massive bows of the ship, and the shrill
whistle of the boatswain's mate as he recalled the side-boys, who were
placed on either side of the gangway to do honor to the entrance of the
first lieutenant and his companion.

But though such a profound silence reigned among the hundreds who
inhabited the huge fabric, the light produced by a dozen battle-
lanterns, that were arranged in different parts of the decks, served not
only to exhibit faintly the persons of the crew, but the mingled feeling
of curiosity and care that dwelt on most of their countenances.

Large groups of men were collected in the gangways, around the mainmast,
and on the booms of the vessel, whose faces were distinctly visible,
while numerous figures, lying along the lower yards or bending out of
the tops, might be dimly traced in the background, all of whom expressed
by their attitudes the interest they took in the arrival of the boat.

Though such crowds were collected in other parts of the vessel, the
quarter-deck was occupied only by the officers, who were disposed
according to their several ranks, and were equally silent and attentive
as the remainder of the crew. In front stood a small collection of young
men, who, by their similarity of dress, were the equals and companions
of Griffith, though his juniors in rank. On the opposite side of the
vessel was a larger assemblage of youths, who claimed Mr. Merry as their
fellow. Around the capstan three or four figures were standing, one of
whom wore a coat of blue, with the scarlet facings of a soldier, and
another the black vestments of the ship's chaplain. Behind these, and
nearer the passage to the cabin from which he had just ascended, stood
the tall, erect form of the commander of the vessel.

After a brief salutation between Griffith and the junior officers, the
former advanced, followed slowly by the pilot, to the place where he was
expected by his veteran commander. The young man removed his hat
entirely, as he bowed with a little more than his usual ceremony, and
said:

"We have succeeded, sir, though not without more difficulty and delay
than were anticipated."

"But you have not brought off the pilot," said the captain, "and without
him, all our risk and trouble have been in vain."

"He is here," said Griffith, stepping aside, and extending his arm
towards the man that stood behind him, wrapped to the chin in his coarse
pea-jacket, and his face shadowed by the falling rims of a large hat,
that had seen much and hard service.

"This!" exclaimed the captain; "then there is a sad mistake--this is not
the man I would have, seen, nor can another supply his place."

"I know not whom you expected, Captain Munson," said the stranger, in a
low, quiet voice; "but if you have not forgotten the day when a very
different flag from that emblem of tyranny that now hangs over yon
taffrail was first spread to the wind, you may remember the hand that
raised it,"

"Bring here the light!" exclaimed the commander, hastily.

When the lantern was extended towards the pilot, and the glare fell
strong on his features, Captain Munson started, as he beheld the calm
blue eye that met his gaze, and the composed but pallid countenance of
the other. Involuntarily raising his hat, and baring his silver locks,
the veteran cried:

"It is he! though so changed----"

"That his enemies did not know him," interrupted the pilot, quickly;
then touching the other by the arm as he led him aside, he continued, in
a lower tone, "neither must his friends, until the proper hour shall
arrive."

Griffith had fallen back to answer the eager questions of his messmates,
and no part of this short dialogue was overheard by the officers, though
it was soon perceived that their commander had discovered his error, and
was satisfied that the proper man had been brought on board his vessel.
For many minutes the two continued to pace a part of the quarter-deck,
by themselves, engaged in deep and earnest discourse.

As Griffith had but little to communicate, the curiosity of his
listeners was soon appeased, and all eyes were directed toward that
mysterious guide, who was to conduct them from a situation already
surrounded by perils, which each moment not only magnified in
appearance, but increased in reality.




CHAPTER IV.

  ----"Behold the threaden sails,
  Borne with the invisible and creeping winds,
  Draw the huge bottoms through the furrowed sea,
  Breasting the lofty surge."
  _Shakespeare._


It has been already explained to the reader, that there were
threatening symptoms in the appearance of the weather to create serious
forebodings of evil in the breast of a seaman. When removed from the
shadows of the cliffs, the night was not so dark but objects could be
discerned at some little distance, and in the eastern horizon there was
a streak of fearful light impending over the gloomy waters, in which the
swelling outline formed by the rising waves was becoming each moment
more distinct, and, consequently, more alarming. Several dark clouds
overhung the vessel, whose towering masts apparently propped the black
vapor, while a few stars were seen twinkling, with a sickly flame, in
the streak of clear sky that skirted the ocean. Still, light currents of
air occasionally swept across the bay, bringing with them the fresh odor
from the shore, but their flitting irregularity too surely foretold them
to be the expiring breath of the land breeze. The roaring of the surf,
as it rolled on the margin of the bay, produced a dull, monotonous
sound, that was only Interrupted at times by a hollow bellowing, as a
larger wave than usual broke violently against some cavity in the rock.
Everything, in short, united to render the scene gloomy and portentous,
without creating instant terror, for the ship rose easily on the long
billows, without even straightening the heavy cable that held her to her
anchor.

The higher officers were collected around the capstan, engaged in
earnest discourse about their situation and prospects, while some of the
oldest and most favored seamen would extend their short walk to the
hallowed precincts of the quarter-deck, to catch, with greedy ears, the
opinions that fell from their superiors. Numberless were the uneasy
glances that were thrown from both officers and men at their commander
and the pilot, who still continued their secret communion in a distant
part of the vessel. Once, an ungovernable curiosity, or the heedlessness
of his years, led one of the youthful midshipmen near them; but a stern
rebuke from his captain sent the boy, abashed and cowering, to hide his
mortification among his fellows. This reprimand was received by the
elder officers as an intimation that the consultation which they beheld
was to be strictly inviolate; and, though it by no means suppressed the
repeated expressions of their impatience, it effectually prevented an
interruption to the communications, which all, however, thought were
unreasonably protracted for the occasion.

"This is no time to be talking over bearings and distances," observed
the officer next in rank to Griffith; "but we should call the hands up,
and try to kedge her off while the sea will suffer a boat to live."

"'Twould be a tedious and bootless job to attempt warping a ship for
miles against a head-beating sea," returned the first lieutenant; "but
the land-breeze yet flutters aloft, and if our light sails would draw,
with the aid of this ebb tide we might be able to shove her from the
shore."

"Hail the tops, Griffith," said the other, "and ask if they feel the air
above; 'twill be a hint at least to set the old man and that lubberly
pilot in motion."

Griffith laughed as he complied with the request, and when he received
the customary reply to his call, he demanded in a loud voice:

"Which way have you the wind, aloft?"

"We feel a light catspaw, now and then, from the land, sir," returned
the sturdy captain of the top; "but our topsail hangs in the clewlines,
sir, without winking."

Captain Munson and his companion suspended their discourse while this
question and answer were exchanged, and then resumed their dialogue as
earnestly as if it had received no interruption.

"If it did wink, the hint would be lost on our betters," said the
officer of the marines, whose ignorance of seamanship added greatly to
his perception of the danger, but who, from pure idleness, made more
jokes than any other man in the ship. "That pilot would not receive a
delicate intimation through his ears, Mr. Griffith; suppose you try him
by the nose."

"Faith, there was a flash of gunpowder between us in the barge,"
returned the first lieutenant, "and he does not seem a man to stomach
such hints as you advise. Although he looks so meek and quiet, I doubt
whether he has paid much attention to the book of Job."

"Why should he?" exclaimed the chaplain, whose apprehensions at least
equaled those of the marine, and with a much more disheartening effect;
"I am sure it would have been a great waste of time: there are so many
charts of the coast, and books on the navigation of these seas, for him
to study, that I sincerely hope he has been much better employed."

A loud laugh was created at this speech among the listeners, and it
apparently produced the effect that was so long anxiously desired, by
putting an end to the mysterious conference between their captain and
the pilot. As the former came forward towards his expecting crew, he
said, is the composed, steady manner that formed the principal trait in
his character:

"Get the anchor, Mr. Griffith, and make sail on the ship; the hour has
arrived when we must be moving."

The cheerful "Ay! ay! sir!" of the young lieutenant was hardly uttered,
before the cries of half a dozen midshipmen were heard summoning the
boatswain and his mates to their duty.

There was a general movement in the living masses that clustered around
the mainmast, on the booms, and in the gangways, though their habits of
discipline held the crew a moment longer in suspense. The silence was
first broken by the sound of the boatswain's whistle, followed by the
hoarse cry of "All hands, up anchor, ahoy!"--the former rising on the
night air, from its first low mellow notes to a piercing shrillness that
gradually died away on the waters; and the latter bellowing through
every cranny of the ship, like the hollow murmurs of distant thunder.

The change produced by the customary summons was magical. Human beings
sprang out from between the guns, rushed up the hatches, threw
themselves with careless activity from the booms, and gathered from
every quarter so rapidly, that in an instant the deck of the frigate was
alive with men. The profound silence, that had hitherto been only
interrupted by the low dialogue of the officers, was now changed for the
stern orders of the lieutenants, mingled with the shriller cries of the
midshipmen, and the hoarse bawling of the boatswain's crew, rising above
the tumult of preparation and general bustle.

The captain and the pilot alone remained passive, in this scene of
general exertion; for apprehension had even stimulated that class of
officers which is called "idlers" to unusual activity, though frequently
reminded by their more experienced messmates that, instead of aiding,
they retarded the duty of the vessel. The bustle, however, gradually
ceased, and in a few minutes the same silence pervaded the ship as
before.

"We are brought-to, sir," said Griffith, who stood overlooking the
scene, holding in one hand a short speaking, trumpet, and grasping with
the other one of the shrouds of the ship, to steady himself in the
position he had taken on a gun.

"Heave round, sir," was the calm reply.

"Heave round!" repeated Griffith, aloud.

"Heave round!" echoed a dozen eager voices at once, and the lively
strains of a fife struck up a brisk air, to enliven the labor. The
capstan was instantly set in motion, and the measured tread of the
seamen was heard, as they stamped the deck in the circle of their march.
For a few minutes no other sounds were heard, if we except the voice of
an officer, occasionally cheering the sailors, when it was announced
that they "were short;" or, in other words, that the ship was nearly
over her anchor.

"Heave and pull," cried Griffith; when the quivering notes of the
whistle were again succeeded by a general stillness in the vessel.

"What is to be done now, sir?" continued the lieutenant; "shall we trip
the anchor? There seems not a breath of air; and as the tide runs slack,
I doubt whether the sea do not heave the ship ashore."

There was so much obvious truth in this conjecture, that all eyes turned
from the light and animation afforded by the decks of the frigate, to
look abroad on the waters, in a vain desire to pierce the darkness, as
if to read the fate of their apparently devoted ship from the aspect of
nature.

"I leave all to the pilot," said the captain, after he had stood a short
time by the side of Griffith, anxiously studying the heavens and the
ocean. "What say you, Mr. Gray?"

The man who was thus first addressed by name was leaning over the
bulwarks, with his eyes bent in the same direction as the others; but as
he answered he turned his face towards the speaker, and the light from
the deck fell full upon his quiet features, which exhibited a calmness
bordering on the supernatural, considering his station and
responsibility.

"There is much to fear from this heavy ground-swell," he said, in the
same unmoved tones as before; "but there is certain destruction to us,
if the gale that is brewing in the east finds us waiting its fury in
this wild anchorage. All the hemp that ever was spun into cordage would
not hold a ship an hour, chafing on these rocks, with a northeaster
pouring its fury on her. If the powers of man can compass it, gentlemen,
we must get an offing, and that speedily."

"You say no more, sir, than the youngest boy in the ship can see for
himself," said Griffith--"ha! here comes the schooner!"

The dashing of the long sweeps in the water was now plainly audible, and
the little Ariel was seen through the gloom, moving heavily under their
feeble impulse. As she passed slowly under the stern of the frigate, the
cheerful voice of Barnstable was first heard, opening the communications
between them.

"Here's a night for spectacles, Captain Munson!" he cried; "but I
thought I heard your fife, sir. I trust in God, you do not mean to ride
it out here till morning?"

"I like the berth as little as yourself, Mr. Barnstable," returned the
veteran seaman, in his calm manner, in which anxiety was, however,
beginning to grow evident. "We are short; but are afraid to let go our
hold of the bottom, lest the sea cast us ashore. How make you out the
wind?"

"Wind!" echoed the other; "there is not enough to blow a lady's curl
aside. If you wait, sir, till the land-breeze fills your sails, you will
wait another moon. I believe I've got my eggshell out of that nest of
gray-caps; but how it has been done in the dark, a better man than
myself must explain."

"Take your directions from the pilot, Mr. Barnstable," returned his
commanding officer, "and follow them strictly and to the letter."

A deathlike silence, in both vessels, succeeded this order; for all
seemed to listen eagerly to catch the words that fell from the man on
whom, even the boys now felt, depended their only hopes for safety. A
short time was suffered to elapse, before his voice was heard, in the
same low but distinct tones as before:

"Your sweeps will soon be of no service to you," he said, "against the
sea that begins to heave in; but your light sails will help them to get
you out. So long as you can head east-and-by-north, you are doing well,
and you can stand on till you open the light from that northern
headland, when you can heave to and fire a gun; but if, as I dread, you
are struck aback before you open the light, you may trust to your lead
on the larboard tack; but beware, with your head to the southward, for
no lead will serve you there."

"I can walk over the same ground on one tack as on the other," said
Barnstable, "and make both legs of a length."

"It will not do," returned the pilot. "If you fall off a point to
starboard from east-and-by-north, in going large, you will find both
rocks and points of shoals to bring you up; and beware, as I tell you,
of the starboard tack."

"And how shall I find my way? you will let me trust to neither time,
lead, nor log."

"You must trust to a quick eye and a ready hand. The breakers only will
show you the dangers, when you are not able to make out the bearings of
the land. Tack in season, sir, and don't spare the lead when you head to
port."

"Ay, ay," returned Barnstable, in a low muttering voice. "This is a sort
of blind navigation with a vengeance, and all for no purpose that I can
see--see! damme, eyesight is of about as much use now as a man's nose
would be in reading the Bible."

"Softly, softly, Mr. Barnstable," interrupted his commander--for such
was the anxious stillness in both vessels that even the rattling of the
schooner's rigging was heard, as she rolled in the trough of the sea--
"the duty on which Congress has sent us must be performed, at the hazard
of our lives."

"I don't mind my life, Captain Munson," said Barnstable, "but there is a
great want of conscience in trusting a vessel in such a place as this.
However, it is a time to do, and not to talk. But if there be such
danger to an easy draught of water, what will become of the frigate? had
I not better play jackal, and try and feel the way for you?"

"I thank you," said the pilot; "the offer is generous, but would avail
us nothing. I have the advantage of knowing the ground well, and must
trust to my memory and God's good favor. Make sail, make sail, sir, and
if you succeed, we will venture to break ground."

The order was promptly obeyed, and in a very short time the Ariel was
covered with canvas. Though no air was perceptible on the decks of the
frigate, the little schooner was so light that she succeeded in stemming
her way over the rising waves, aided a little by the tide; and in a few
minutes her low hull was just discernible in the streak of light along
the horizon, with the dark outline of her sails rising above the sea,
until their fanciful summits were lost in the shadows of the clouds.

Griffith had listened to the foregoing dialogue, like the rest of the
junior officers, in profound silence; but when the Ariel began to grow
indistinct to the eye, he jumped lightly from the gun to the deck, and
cried:

"She slips off, like a vessel from the stocks! Shall I trip the anchor,
sir, and follow?"

"We have no choice," replied his captain. "You hear the question, Mr.
Gray? shall we let go the bottom?"

"It must be done, Captain Munson; we may want more drift than the rest
of this tide to get us to a place of safety," said the pilot "I would
give five years from a life that I know will be short, if the ship lay
one mile further seaward."

This remark was unheard by all, except the commander of the frigate, who
again walked aside with the pilot, where they resumed their mysterious
communications. The words of assent were no sooner uttered, however,
than Griffith gave forth from his trumpet the command to "heave away!"
Again the strains of the fife were followed by the tread of the men at
the capstan. At the same time that the anchor was heaving up, the sails
were loosened from the yards, and opened to invite the breeze. In
effecting this duty, orders were thundered through the trumpet of the
first lieutenant, and executed with the rapidity of thought. Men were to
be seen, like spots in the dim light from the heavens, lying on every
yard or hanging as in air, while strange cries were heard issuing from
every part of the rigging and each spar of the vessel. "Ready the
foreroyal," cried a shrill voice, as if from the clouds; "ready the
foreyard," uttered the hoarser tones of a seaman beneath him; "all ready
aft, sir," cried a third, from another quarter; and in a few moments the
order was given to "let fall."

The little light which fell from the sky was now excluded by the falling
canvas, and a deeper gloom was cast athwart the decks of the ship, that
served to render the brilliancy of the lanterns even vivid, while it
gave to objects outboard a more appalling and dreary appearance than
before.

Every individual, excepting the commander and his associate, was now
earnestly engaged in getting the ship under way. The sounds of "we're
away" were repeated by a burst from fifty voices, and the rapid
evolutions of the capstan announced that nothing but the weight of the
anchor was to be lifted. The hauling of cordage, the rattling of blocks,
blended with the shrill calls of the boatswain and his mates, succeeded;
and though to a landsman all would have appeared confusion and hurry,
long practice and strict discipline enabled the crew to exhibit their
ship under a cloud of canvas, from her deck to the trucks, in less time
than we have consumed in relating it.

For a few minutes, the officers were not disappointed by the result; for
though the heavy sails flapped lazily against the masts, the light duck
on the loftier spars swelled outwardly, and the ship began sensibly to
yield to their influence.

"She travels! she travels!" exclaimed Griffith joyously; "ah! the hussy!
she has as much antipathy to the land as any fish that swims: it blows a
little gale aloft yet!"

"We feel its dying breath," said the pilot, in low, soothing tones, but
in a manner so sudden as to startle Griffith, at whose elbow they were
unexpectedly uttered. "Let us forget, young man, everything but the
number of lives that depend, this night, on your exertions and my
knowledge."

"If you be but half as able to exhibit the one as I am willing to make
the other, we shall do well," returned the lieutenant, in the same tone.
"Remember, whatever may be your feelings, that _we_ are on an
enemy's coast, and love it not enough to wish to lay our bones there."

With this brief explanation they separated, the vessel requiring the
constant and close attention of the officer to her movements.

The exultation produced in the crew by the progress of their ship
through the water was of short duration; for the breeze that had seemed
to await their motions, after forcing the vessel for a quarter of a
mile, fluttered for a few minutes amid their light canvas, and then left
them entirely. The quartermaster, whose duty it was to superintend the
helm, soon announced that he was losing the command of the vessel, as
she was no longer obedient to her rudder. This ungrateful intelligence
was promptly communicated to his commander by Griffith, who suggested
the propriety of again dropping an anchor.

"I refer you to Mr. Gray," returned the captain; "he is the pilot, sir,
and with him rests the safety of the vessel."

"Pilots sometimes lose ships as well as save them," said Griffith: "know
you the man well, Captain Munson, who holds all our lives in his
keeping, and so coolly as if he cared but little for the venture?"

"Mr. Griffith, I do know him; he is, in my opinion, both competent and
faithful. Thus much I tell you, to relieve your anxiety; more you must
not ask;--but is there not a shift of wind?"

"God forbid!" exclaimed his lieutenant; "if that northeaster catches us
within the shoals, our case will be desperate indeed!"

The heavy rolling of the vessel caused an occasional expansion, and as
sudden a reaction, in their sails, which left the oldest seaman in the
ship in doubt which way the currents of air were passing, or whether
there existed any that were not created by the flapping of their own
canvas. The head of the ship, however, began to fall off from the sea,
and notwithstanding the darkness, it soon became apparent that she was
driving in, bodily, towards the shore.

During these few minutes of gloomy doubt, Griffith, by one of those
sudden revulsions of the mind that connect the opposite extremes of
feeling, lost his animated anxiety, and elapsed into the listless apathy
that so often came over him, even in the most critical moments of trial
and danger. He was standing with one elbow resting on his capstan,
shading his eyes from the light of the battle-lantern that stood near
him with one hand, when he felt a gentle pressure of the other, that
recalled his recollection. Looking affectionately, though still
recklessly, at the boy who stood at his side, he said:

"Dull music, Mr. Merry."

"So dull, sir, that I can't dance to it," returned the midshipman. "Nor
do I believe there is a man in the ship who would not rather hear 'The
girl I left behind me,' than those execrable sounds."

"What sounds, boy? The ship is as quiet as the Quaker meeting in the
Jerseys, before your good old grandfather used to break the charm of
silence with his sonorous voice."

"Ah! laugh at my peaceable blood, if thou wilt, Mr. Griffith," said the
arch youngster, "but remember, there is a mixture of it in all sorts of
veins. I wish I could hear one of the old gentleman's chants now, sir; I
could always sleep to them, like a gull in the surf. But he that sleeps
to-night, with that lullaby, will make a nap of it."

"Sounds! I hear no sounds, boy, but the flapping aloft; even that pilot,
who struts the quarter-deck like an admiral, has nothing to say."

"Is not that a sound to open a seaman's ear?"

"It is in truth a heavy roll of the surf, lad, but the night air carries
it heavily to our ears. Know you not the sounds of the surf yet,
younker?"

"I know it too well, Mr. Griffith, and do not wish to know it better.
How fast are we tumbling in towards that surf, sir?"

"I think we hold our own," said Griffith, rousing again; "though we had
better anchor. Luff, fellow, luff--you are broadside to the sea!"

The man at the wheel repeated his former intelligence, adding a
suggestion, that he thought the ship "was gathering stern way."

"Haul up your courses, Mr. Griffith," said Captain Munson, "and let us
feel the wind."

The rattling of the blocks was soon heard, and the enormous sheets of
canvas that hung from the lower yards were instantly suspended "in the
brails." When this change was effected, all on board stood silent and
breathless, as if expecting to learn their fate by the result. Several
contradictory opinions were, at length, hazarded among the officers,
when Griffith seized the candle from the lantern, and springing on one
of the guns, held it on high, exposed to the action of the air. The
little flame waved, with uncertain glimmering, for a moment, and then
burned steadily, in a line with the masts. Griffith was about to lower
his extended arm, when, feeling a slight sensation of coolness on his
hand, he paused, and the light turned slowly toward the land, flared,
flickered, and finally deserted the wick.

"Lose not a moment, Mr. Griffith," cried the pilot aloud; "clew up and
furl everything but your three topsails, and let them be double-reefed.
Now is the time to fulfill your promise."

The young man paused one moment, in astonishment, as the clear, distinct
tones of the stranger struck his ears so unexpectedly; but turning his
eyes to seaward, he sprang on the deck, and proceeded to obey the order,
as if life and death depended on his dispatch.




CHAPTER V.

  "She rights! she rights, boys! ware off shore!"
  _Song._


The extraordinary activity of Griffith, which communicated itself with
promptitude to the crew, was produced by a sudden alteration in the
weather. In place of the well-defined streak along the horizon, that has
been already described, an immense body of misty light appeared to be
moving in, with rapidity, from the ocean, while a distinct but distant
roaring announced the sure approach of the tempest that had so long
troubled the waters. Even Griffith, while thundering his orders through
the trumpet, and urging the men, by his cries, to expedition, would
pause, for instants, to cast anxious glances in the direction of the
coming storm; and the faces of the sailors who lay on the yards were
turned, instinctively, towards the same quarter of the heavens, while
they knotted the reef-points, or passed the gaskets that were to confine
the unruly canvas to the prescribed limits.

The pilot alone, in that confused and busy throng, where voice rose
above voice, and cry echoed cry, in quick succession, appeared as if he
held no interest in the important stake. With his eye steadily fixed on
the approaching mist, and his arms folded together in composure, he
stood calmly waiting the result.

The ship had fallen off, with her broadside to the sea, and was become
unmanageable, and the sails were already brought into the folds
necessary to her security, when the quick and heavy fluttering of canvas
was thrown across the water, with all the gloomy and chilling sensations
that such sounds produce, where darkness and danger unite to appall the
seaman.

"The schooner has it!" cried Griffith: "Barnstable has held on, like
himself, to the last moment.--God send that the squall leave him cloth
enough to keep him from the shore!"

"His sails are easily handled," the commander observed, "and she must be
over the principal danger. We are falling off before it, Mr. Gray; shall
we try a cast of the lead?"

The pilot turned from his contemplative posture, and moved slowly across
the deck before he returned any reply to this question--like a man who
not only felt that everything depended on himself, but that he was equal
to the emergency.

"'Tis unnecessary," he at length said; "'twould be certain destruction
to be taken aback; and it is difficult to say, within several points,
how the wind may strike us."

"'Tis difficult no longer," cried Griffith; "for here it comes, and in
right earnest!"

The rushing sounds of the wind were now, indeed, heard at hand; and the
words were hardly past the lips of the young lieutenant, before the
vessel bowed down heavily to one side, and then, as she began to move
through the water, rose again majestically to her upright position, as
if saluting, like a courteous champion, the powerful antagonist with
which she was about to contend. Not another minute elapsed, before the
ship was throwing the waters aside, with a lively progress, and,
obedient to her helm, was brought as near to the desired course as the
direction of the wind would allow. The hurry and bustle on the yards
gradually subsided, and the men slowly descended to the deck, all
straining their eyes to pierce the gloom in which they were enveloped,
and some shaking their heads, in melancholy doubt, afraid to express the
apprehensions they really entertained. All on board anxiously waited for
the fury of the gale; for there were none so ignorant or inexperienced
in that gallant frigate, as not to know that as yet they only felt the
infant effects of the wind. Each moment, however, it increased in power,
though so gradual was the alteration, that the relieved mariners began
to believe that all their gloomy forebodings were not to be realized.
During this short interval of uncertainty, no other sounds were heard
than the whistling of the breeze, as it passed quickly through the mass
of rigging that belonged to the vessel, and the dashing of the spray
that began to fly from her bows, like the foam of a cataract.

"It blows fresh," cried Griffith, who was the first to speak in that
moment of doubt and anxiety; "but it is no more than a capful of wind
after all. Give us elbow-room, and the right canvas, Mr. Pilot, and I'll
handle the ship like a gentleman's yacht, in this breeze."

"Will she stay, think ye, under this sail?" said the low voice of the
stranger.

"She will do all that man, in reason, can ask of wood and iron,"
returned the lieutenant; "but the vessel don't float the ocean that will
tack under double-reefed topsails alone, against a heavy sea. Help her
with her courses, pilot, and you shall see her come round like a
dancing-master."

"Let us feel the strength of the gale first," returned the man who was
called Mr. Gray, moving from the side of Griffith to the weather gangway
of the vessel, where he stood in silence, looking ahead of the ship,
with an air of singular coolness and abstraction.

All the lanterns had been extinguished on the deck of the frigate, when
her anchor was secured, and as the first mist of the gale had passed
over, it was succeeded by a faint light that was a good deal aided by
the glittering foam of the waters, which now broke in white curls around
the vessel in every direction. The land could be faintly discerned,
rising like a heavy bank of black fog above the margin of the waters,
and was only distinguishable from the heavens by its deeper gloom and
obscurity. The last rope was coiled, and deposited in its proper place,
by the seamen, and for several minutes the stillness of death pervaded
the crowded decks. It was evident to every one, that their ship was
dashing at a prodigious rate through the waves; and as she was
approaching, with such velocity, the quarter of the bay where the shoals
and dangers were known to be situated, nothing but the habits of the
most exact discipline could suppress the uneasiness of the officers and
men within their own bosoms. At length the voice of Captain Munson was
heard, calling to the pilot:

"Shall I send a hand into the chains, Mr. Gray," he said, "and try our
water?"

Although this question was asked aloud, and the interest it excited drew
many of the officers and men around him, in eager impatience for his
answer, it was unheeded by the man to whom it was addressed. His head
rested on his hand, as he leaned over the hammock-cloths of the vessel,
and his whole air was that of one whose thoughts wandered from the
pressing necessity of their situation. Griffith was among those who had
approached the pilot; and after waiting a moment, from respect, to hear
the answer to his commander's question, he presumed on his own rank, and
leaving the circle that stood at a little distance, stepped to the side
of the mysterious guardian of their lives.

"Captain Munson desires to know whether you wish a cast of the lead?"
said the young officer, with a little impatience of manner. No immediate
answer was made to this repetition of the question, and Griffith laid
his hand unceremoniously on the shoulder of the other, with an intent to
rouse him before he made another application for a reply, but the
convulsive start of the pilot held him silent in amazement.

"Fall back there," said the lieutenant, sternly; to the men, who were
closing around them in compact circle; "away with you to your stations,
and see all clear for stays." The dense mass of heads dissolved, at this
order, like the water of one of the waves commingling with the ocean,
and the lieutenant and his companions were left by themselves.

"This is not a time for musing, Mr. Gray," continued Griffith; "remember
our compact, and look to your charge--is it not time to put the vessel
in stays? of what are you dreaming?"

The pilot laid his hand on the extended arm of the lieutenant, and
grasped it with a convulsive pressure, as he answered:

"'Tis a dream of reality. You are young, Mr. Griffith, nor am I past the
noon of life; but should you live fifty years longer, you never can see
and experience what I have encountered in my little period of three-and-
thirty years!"

A good deal astonished at this burst of feeling, so singular at such a
moment, the young sailor was at a loss for a reply; but as his duty was
uppermost in his thoughts, he still dwelt on the theme that most
interested him.

"I hope much of your experience has been on this coast, for the ship
travels lively," he said, "and the daylight showed us so much to dread,
that we do not feel over-valiant in the dark. How much longer shall we
stand on, upon this tack?"

The pilot turned slowly from the side of the vessel, and walked towards
the commander of the frigate, as he replied, in a tone that seemed
deeply agitated by his melancholy reflections:

"You have your wish, then; much, very much of my early life was passed
on this dreaded coast. What to you is all darkness and gloom, to me is
as light as if a noon-day sun shone upon it. But tack your ship, sir,
tack your ship; I would see how she works before we reach the point
where she _must_ behave well, or we perish."

Griffith gazed after him in wonder, while the pilot slowly paced the
quarter-deck, and then, rousing from his trance, gave forth the cheering
order that called each man to his station, to perform the desired
evolution. The confident assurances which the young officer had given to
the pilot respecting the qualities of his vessel and his own ability to
manage her, were fully realized by the result. The helm was no sooner
put a-lee, than the huge ship bore up gallantly against the wind, and,
dashing directly through the waves, threw the foam high into the air, as
she looked boldly into the very eye of the wind; and then, yielding
gracefully to its power, she fell off on the other tack, with her head
pointed from those dangerous shoals that she had so recently approached
with such terrifying velocity. The heavy yards swung round, as if they
had been vanes to indicate the currents of the air; and in a few moments
the frigate again moved, with stately progress, through the water,
leaving the rocks and shoals behind her on one side of the bay, but
advancing towards those that offered equal danger on the other.

During this time the sea was becoming more agitated, and the violence of
the wind was gradually increasing. The latter no longer whistled amid
the cordage of the vessel, but it seemed to howl, surlily, as it passed
the complicated machinery that the frigate obtruded on its path. An
endless succession of white surges rose above the heavy billows, and the
very air was glittering with the light that was disengaged from the
ocean. The ship yielded, each moment, more and more before the storm,
and in less than half an hour from the time that she had lifted her
anchor, she was driven along with tremendous fury by the full power of a
gale of wind. Still the hardy and experienced mariners who directed her
movements held her to the course that was necessary to their
preservation, and still Griffith gave forth, when directed by their
unknown pilot, those orders that turned her in the narrow channel where
alone safety was to be found.

So far, the performance of his duty appeared easy to the stranger, and
he gave the required directions in those still, calm tones, that formed
so remarkable a contrast to the responsibility of his situation. But
when the land was becoming dim, in distance as well as darkness, and the
agitated sea alone was to be discovered as it swept by them in foam, he
broke in upon the monotonous roaring of the tempest with the sounds of
his voice, seeming to shake off his apathy, and rouse himself to the
occasion.

"Now is the time to watch her closely, Mr. Griffith," he cried; "here we
get the true tide and the real danger. Place the best quartermaster of
your ship in those chains, and let an officer stand by him, and see that
he gives us the right water."

"I will take that office on myself," said the captain; "pass a light
into the weather main-chains."

"Stand by your braces!" exclaimed the pilot, with startling quickness.
"Heave away that lead!"

These preparations taught the crew to expect the crisis, and every
officer and man stood in fearful silence, at his assigned station,
awaiting the issue of the trial. Even the quartermaster at the cun gave
out his orders to the men at the wheel, in deeper and hoarser tones than
usual, as if anxious not to disturb the quiet and order of the vessel.

While this deep expectation pervaded the frigate, the piercing cry of
the leadsman, as he called "By the mark seven," rose above the tempest,
crossed over the decks, and appeared to pass away to leeward, borne on
the blast like the warnings of some water-spirit.

"'Tis well," returned the pilot, calmly; "try it again."

The short pause was succeeded by another cry, "And a half-five!"

"She shoals! she shoals!" exclaimed Griffith: "keep her a good full."

"Ay! you must hold the vessel in command, now," said the pilot, with
those cool tones that are most appalling in critical moments because
they seem to denote most preparation and care.

The third call, "By the deep four," was followed by a prompt direction
from the stranger to tack.

Griffith seemed to emulate the coolness of the pilot, in issuing the
necessary orders to execute this manoeuvre.

The vessel rose slowly from the inclined position into which she had
been forced by the tempest, and the sails were shaking violently, as if
to release themselves from their confinement, while the ship stemmed the
billows, when the well-known voice of the sailing-master was heard
shouting from the forecastle:

"Breakers! breakers, dead ahead!"

This appalling sound seemed yet to be lingering about the ship, when a
second voice cried:

"Breakers on our lee bow!"

"We are in a bite of the shoals, Mr. Gray," cried the commander. "She
loses her way; perhaps an anchor might hold her."

"Clear away that best bower!" shouted Griffith through his trumpet.

"Hold on!" cried the pilot, in a voice that reached the very hearts of
all who heard him; "hold on everything."

The young man turned fiercely to the daring stranger who thus defied the
discipline of his vessel, and at once demanded:

"Who is it that dares to countermand my orders? Is it not enough that
you run the ship into danger, but you must interfere to keep her there?
If another word----"

"Peace, Mr. Griffith," interrupted the captain, bending from the
rigging, his gray locks blowing about in the wind and adding a look of
wildness to the haggard care that he exhibited by the light of his
lantern; "yield the trumpet to Mr. Gray; he alone can save us."

Griffith threw his speaking-trumpet on the deck, and as he walked
proudly away, muttered in bitterness of feeling:

"Then all is lost, indeed! and among the rest the foolish hopes with
which I visited this coast."

There was, however, no time for reply; the ship had been rapidly running
into the wind, and as the efforts of the crew were paralyzed by the
contradictory orders they had heard, she gradually lost her way, and in
a few seconds all her sails were taken aback.

Before the crew understood their situation the pilot had applied the
trumpet to his mouth, and in a voice that rose above the tempest, he
thundered forth his orders. Each command was given distinctly, and with
a precision that showed him to be master of his profession. The helm was
kept fast, the head-yards swung up heavily against the wind, and the
vessel was soon whirling round on her heel, with a retrograde movement.

Griffith was too much of a seaman not to perceive that the pilot had
seized, with a perception almost intuitive, the only method that
promised to extricate the vessel from her situation. He was young,
impetuous, and proud--but he was also generous. Forgetting his
resentment and his mortification, he rushed forward among the men, and,
by his presence and example, added certainty to the experiment. The ship
fell off slowly before the gale, and bowed her yards nearly to the
water, as she felt the blast pouring its fury on her broadside, while
the surly waves beat violently against her stern, as if in reproach at
departing from her usual manner of moving.

The voice of the pilot, however, was still heard, steady and calm, and
yet so clear and high as to reach every ear; and the obedient seamen
whirled the yards at his bidding in despite of the tempest, as if they
handled the toys of their childhood. When the ship had fallen off dead
before the wind, her head-sails were shaken, her after-yards trimmed,
and her helm shifted, before she had time to run upon the danger that
had threatened, as well to leeward as to windward. The beautiful fabric,
obedient to her government, threw her bows up gracefully towards the
wind again; and, as her sails were trimmed, moved out from among the
dangerous shoals, in which she had been embayed, as steadily and swiftly
as she had approached them.

A moment of breathless astonishment succeeded the accomplishment of this
nice manoeuvre, but there was no time for the usual expressions of
surprise. The stranger still held the trumpet, and continued to lift his
voice amid the howlings of the blast, whenever prudence or skill
required any change in the management of the ship. For an hour longer
there was a fearful struggle for their preservation, the channel
becoming at each step more complicated, and the shoals thickening around
the mariners on every side. The lead was cast rapidly, and the quick eye
of the pilot seemed to pierce the darkness with a keenness of vision
that exceeded human power. It was apparent to all in the vessel that
they were under the guidance of one who understood the navigation
thoroughly, and their exertions kept pace with their reviving
confidence. Again and again the frigate appeared to be rushing blindly
on shoals where the sea was covered with foam, and where destruction
would have been as sudden as it was certain, when the clear voice of the
stranger was heard warning them of the danger, and inciting them to
their duty. The vessel was implicitly yielded to his government; and
during those anxious moments when she was dashing the waters aside,
throwing the spray over her enormous yards, each ear would listen
eagerly for those sounds that had obtained a command over the crew that
can only be acquired, under such circumstances, by great steadiness and
consummate skill. The ship was recovering from the inaction of changing
her course, in one of those critical tacks that she had made so often,
when the pilot, for the first time, addressed the commander of the
frigate, who still continued to superintend the all-important duty of
the leadsman.

"Now is the pinch," he said, "and if the ship behaves well, we are safe
--but if otherwise, all we have yet done will be useless."

The veteran seaman whom he addressed left the chains at this portentous
notice, and calling to his first lieutenant, required of the stranger an
explanation of his warning.

"See you yon light on the southern headland?" returned the pilot; "you
may know it from the star near it?--by its sinking, at times, in the
ocean. Now observe the hummock, a little north of it, looking like a
shadow in the horizon--'tis a hill far inland. If we keep that light
open from the hill, we shall do well--but if not, we surely go to
pieces."

"Let us tack again," exclaimed the lieutenant.

The pilot shook his head, as he replied:

"There is no more tacking or box-hauling to be done tonight. We have
barely room to pass out of the shoals on this course; and if we can
weather the 'Devil's Grip,' we clear their outermost point--but if not,
as I said before, there is but an alternative."

"If we had beaten out the way we entered," exclaimed Griffith, "we
should have done well."

"Say, also, if the tide would have let us do so," returned the pilot,
calmly. "Gentlemen, we must be prompt; we have but a mile to go, and the
ship appears to fly. That topsail is not enough to keep her up to the
wind; we want both jib and mainsail."

"'Tis a perilous thing to loosen canvas in such a tempest!" observed the
doubtful captain.

"It must be done," returned the collected stranger; "we perish without
it--see the light already touches the edge of the hummock; the sea casts
us to leeward."

"It shall be done," cried Griffith, seizing the trumpet from the hand of
the pilot.

The orders of the lieutenant were executed almost as soon as issued;
and, everything being ready, the enormous folds of the mainsail were
trusted loose to the blast. There was an instant when the result was
doubtful; the tremendous threshing of the heavy sail seemed to bid
defiance to all restraint, shaking the ship to her centre; but art and
strength prevailed, and gradually the canvas was distended, and bellying
as it filled, was drawn down to its usual place by the power of a
hundred men. The vessel yielded to this immense addition of force, and
bowed before it like a reed bending to a breeze. But the success of the
measure was announced by a joyful cry from the stranger, that seemed to
burst from his inmost soul.

"She feels it! she springs her luff! observe," he said, "the light opens
from the hummock already: if she will only bear her canvas we shall go
clear."

A report, like that of a cannon, interrupted his exclamation, and
something resembling a white cloud was seen drifting before the wind
from the head of the ship, till it was driven into the gloom far to
leeward.

"'Tis the jib, blown from the bolt-ropes," said the commander of the
frigate. "This is no time to spread light duck--but the mainsail may
stand it yet."

"The sail would laugh at a tornado," returned the lieutenant; "but the
mast springs like a piece of steel."

"Silence all!" cried the pilot. "Now, gentlemen, we shall soon know our
fate. Let her luff--luff you can!"

This warning effectually closed all discourse, and the hardy mariners,
knowing that they had already done all in the power of man to insure
their safety, stood in breathless anxiety, awaiting the result. At a
short distance ahead of them the whole ocean was white with foam, and
the waves, instead of rolling on in regular succession, appeared to be
tossing about in mad gambols. A single streak of dark billows, not half
a cable's length in width, could be discerned running into this chaos of
water; but it was soon lost to the eye amid the confusion of the
disturbed element. Along this narrow path the vessel moved more heavily
than before, being brought so near the wind as to keep her sails
touching. The pilot silently proceeded to the wheel, and, with his own
hands, he undertook the steerage of the ship. No noise proceeded from
the frigate to interrupt the horrid tumult of the ocean; and she entered
the channel among the breakers, with the silence of a desperate
calmness. Twenty times, as the foam rolled away to leeward, the crew
were on the eve of uttering their joy, as they supposed the vessel past
the danger; but breaker after breaker would still heave up before them,
following each other into the general mass, to check their exultation.
Occasionally, the fluttering of the sails would be heard; and when the
looks of the startled seamen were turned to the wheel, they beheld the
stranger grasping its spokes, with his quick eye glancing from the water
to the canvas. At length the ship reached a point where she appeared to
be rushing directly into the jaws of destruction, when suddenly her
course was changed, and her head receded rapidly from the wind. At the
same instant the voice of the pilot was heard shouting:

"Square away the yards!--in mainsail!"

A general burst from the crew echoed, "Square away the yards!" and,
quick as thought, the frigate was seen gliding along the channel before
the wind. The eye had hardly time to dwell on the foam, which seemed
like clouds driving in the heavens, and directly the gallant vessel
issued from her perils, and rose and fell on the heavy waves of the sea.

The seamen were yet drawing long breaths, and gazing about them like men
recovered from a trance, when Griffith approached the man who had so
successfully conducted them through their perils. The lieutenant grasped
the hand of the other, as he said:

"You have this night proved yourself a faithful pilot, and such a seaman
as the world cannot equal."

The pressure of the hand was warmly returned by the unknown mariner, who
replied:

"I am no stranger to the seas, and I may yet find my grave in them. But
you, too, have deceived me; you have acted nobly, young man, and
Congress----"

"What of Congress?" asked Griffith, observing him to pause.

"Why, Congress is fortunate if it has many such ships as this," said the
stranger, coldly, walking away toward the commander.

Griffith gazed after him a moment in surprise; but, as his duty required
his attention, other thoughts soon engaged his mind.

The vessel was pronounced to be in safety. The gale was heavy and
increasing, but there was a clear sea before them; and as she slowly
stretched out into the bosom of the ocean, preparations were made for
her security during its continuance. Before midnight, everything was in
order. A gun from the Ariel soon announced the safety of the schooner
also, which had gone out by another and an easier channel, that the
frigate had not dared to attempt; when the commander directed the usual
watch to be set, and the remainder of the crew to seek their necessary
repose.

The captain withdrew with the mysterious pilot to his own cabin.
Griffith gave his last order; and renewing his charge to the officer
instructed with the care of the vessel, he wished him a pleasant watch,
and sought the refreshment of his own cot. For an hour the young
lieutenant lay musing on the events of the day. The remark of Barnstable
would occur to him, in connection with the singular comment of the boy;
and then his thoughts would recur to the pilot, who, taken from the
hostile shores of Britain, and with her accent on his tongue, had served
them so faithfully and so well. He remembered the anxiety of Captain
Munson to procure this stranger, at the very hazard from which they had
just been relieved, and puzzled himself with conjecturing why a pilot
was to be sought at such a risk. His more private feelings would then
resume their sway, and the recollection of America, his mistress, and
his home, mingled with the confused images of the drowsy youth. The
dashing of the billows against the side of the ship, the creaking of
guns and bulkheads, with the roaring of the tempest, however, became
gradually less and less distinct, until nature yielded to necessity, and
the young man forgot even the romantic images of his love, in the deep
sleep of a seaman.




CHAPTER VI.

    ----"The letter! ay! the letter!
    'Tis there a woman loves to speak her wishes;
    It spares the blushes of the love-sick maiden.
    And every word's a smile, each line a tongue."
    _Duo._


The slumbers of Griffith continued till late on the following morning,
when he was awakened by the report of a cannon, issuing from the deck
above him. He threw himself, listlessly, from his cot, and perceiving
the officer of marines near him, as his servant opened the door of his
stateroom, he inquired, with some little interest in his manner, if "the
ship was in chase of anything, that a gun was fired?"

"'Tis no more than a hint to the Ariel," the soldier replied, "that
there is bunting abroad for them to read. It seems as if all hands were
asleep on board her, for we have shown her signal, these ten minutes,
and she takes us for a collier, I believe, by the respect she pays it."

"Say, rather, that she takes us for an enemy, and is wary," returned
Griffith. "Brown Dick has played the English so many tricks himself,
that he is tender of his faith."

"Why, they have shown him a yellow flag over a blue one, with a cornet,
and that spells Ariel, in every signal-book we have; surely he can't
suspect the English of knowing how to read Yankee."

"I have known Yankees read more difficult English," said Griffith,
smiling; "but, in truth, I suppose that Barnstable has been, like
myself, keeping a dead reckoning of his time, and his men have profited
by the occasion. She is lying to, I trust."

"Ay! like a cork in a mill-pond, and I dare say you are right. Give
Barnstable plenty of sea-room, a heavy wind, and but little sail, and he
will send his men below, put that fellow he calls long Tom at the
tiller, and follow himself, and sleep as quietly as I ever could at
church."

"Ah! yours is a somniferous orthodoxy, Captain Manual," said the young
sailor, laughing, while he slipped his arms into the sleeves of a
morning round-about, covered with the gilded trappings of his
profession; "sleep appears to come most naturally to all you idlers. But
give me a passage, and I will go up, and call the schooner down to us in
the turning of an hour-glass."

The indolent soldier raised himself from the leaning posture he had
taken against the door of the stateroom, and Griffith proceeded through
the dark wardroom, up the narrow stairs that led him to the principal
battery of the ship, and thence, by another and broader flight of steps
to the open deck.

The gale still blew strong, but steadily; the blue water of the ocean
was rising in mimic mountains, that were crowned with white foam, which
the wind, at times, lifted from its kindred element, to propel in mist,
through the air, from summit to summit. But the ship rode on these
agitated billows with an easy and regular movement that denoted the
skill with which her mechanical powers were directed.

The day was bright and clear, and the lazy sun, who seemed unwilling to
meet the toil of ascending to the meridian, was crossing the heavens
with a southern inclination, that hardly allowed him to temper the moist
air of the ocean with his genial heat. At the distance of a mile,
directly in the wind's eye, the Ariel was seen obeying the signal which
had caused the dialogue we have related. Her low black hull was barely
discernible, at moments, when she rose to the crest of a larger wave
than common; but the spot of canvas that she exposed to the wind was to
be seen, seeming to touch the water on either hand, as the little vessel
rolled amid the seas. At times she was entirely hid from view, when the
faint lines of her raking masts would again be discovered, issuing, as
it were, from the ocean, and continuing to ascend, until the hull itself
would appear, thrusting its bows into the air, surrounded by foam, and
apparently ready to take its flight into another element.

After dwelling a moment on the beautiful sight we have attempted to
describe, Griffith cast his eyes upward to examine, with the keenness of
a seaman, the disposition of things aloft, and then turned his attention
to those who were on the deck of the frigate.

His commander stood, in his composed manner, patiently awaiting the
execution of his order by the Ariel, and at his side was placed the
stranger who had so recently acted such a conspicuous part in the
management of the ship. Griffith availed himself of daylight and his
situation to examine the appearance of this singular being more closely
than the darkness and confusion of the preceding night had allowed. He
was a trifle below the middle size in stature, but his form was muscular
and athletic, exhibiting the finest proportions of manly beauty. His
face appeared rather characterized by melancholy and thought, than by
that determined decision which he had so powerfully displayed in the
moments of their most extreme danger; but Griffith well knew that it
could also exhibit looks of the fiercest impatience. At present, it
appeared, to the curious youth, when compared to the glimpses he had
caught by the lights of their lanterns, like the ocean at rest,
contrasted with the waters around him. The eyes of the pilot rested on
the deck, or, when they did wander, it was with uneasy and rapid
glances. The large pea-jacket, that concealed most of his other attire,
was as roughly made, and of materials as coarse, as that worn by the
meanest seaman in the vessel; and yet it did not escape the inquisitive
gaze of the young lieutenant, that it was worn with an air of neatness
and care that was altogether unusual in men of his profession. The
examination of Griffith ended here, for the near approach of the Ariel
attracted the attention of all on the deck of the frigate to the
conversation that was about to pass between their respective commanders.

As the little schooner rolled along under their stern, Captain Munson
directed his subordinate to leave his vessel and repair on board the
ship. As soon as the order was received, the Ariel rounded to, and
drawing ahead into the smooth water occasioned by the huge fabric that
protected her from the gale, the whale-boat was again launched from her
decks, and manned by the same crew that had landed on those shores which
were now faintly discerned far to leeward, looking like blue clouds on
the skirts of the ocean.

When Barnstable had entered his boat, a few strokes of the oars sent it,
dancing over the waves, to the side of the ship. The little vessel was
then veered off to a distance, where it rode in safety under the care of
a boat-keeper, and the officer and his men ascended the side of the
lofty frigate.

The usual ceremonials of reception were rigidly observed by Griffith and
his juniors, when Barnstable touched the deck; and though every hand was
ready to be extended toward the reckless seaman, none presumed to exceed
the salutations of official decorum, until a short and private dialogue
had taken place between him and their captain.

In the mean time, the crew of the whale-boat passed forward, and mingled
with the seamen of the frigate, with the exception of the cockswain, who
established himself in one of the gangways, where he stood in the utmost
composure, fixing his eyes aloft, and shaking his head in evident
dissatisfaction, as he studied the complicated mass of rigging above
him. This spectacle soon attracted to his side some half-dozen youths,
with Mr. Merry at their head, who endeavored to entertain their guest in
a manner that should most conduce to the indulgence of their own waggish
propensities.

The conversation between Barnstable and his superior soon ended; when
the former, beckoning to Griffith, passed the wondering group who had
collected around the capstan, awaiting his leisure to greet him more
cordially, and led the way to the wardroom, with the freedom of one who
felt himself no stranger. As this unsocial manner formed no part of the
natural temper or ordinary deportment of the man, the remainder of the
officers suffered their first lieutenant to follow him alone, believing
that duty required that their interview should be private. Barnstable
was determined that it should be so, at all events; for he seized the
lamp from the mess-table, and entered the stateroom of his friend,
closing the door behind them and turning the key. When they were both
within its narrow limits--pointing to the only chair the little
apartment contained, with a sort of instinctive deference to his
companion's rank--the commander of the schooner threw himself carelessly
on a sea-chest; and, placing the lamp on the table, he opened the
discourse as follows:

"What a night we had of it! Twenty times I thought I could see the sea
breaking over you; and I had given you over as drowned men, or, what is
worse, as men driven ashore, to be led to the prison-ships of these
islanders, when I saw your lights in answer to my gun. Had you hoisted
the conscience of a murderer, you wouldn't have relieved him more than
you did me, by showing that bit of tallow and cotton, tipped with flint
and steel. But, Griffith, I have a tale to tell of a different kind----"

"Of how you slept when you found yourself in deep water, and how your
crew strove to outdo their commander, and how all succeeded so well that
there was a gray-head on board here, that began to shake with
displeasure," interrupted Griffith; "truly, Dick, you will get into
lubberly habits on board that bubble in which you float about, where all
hands go to sleep as regularly as the inhabitants of a poultry-yard go
to roost."

"Not so bad, not half so bad, Ned," returned the other, laughing; "I
keep as sharp a discipline as if we wore a flag. To be sure, forty men
can't make as much parade as three or four hundred; but as for making or
taking in sail, I am your better any day."

"Ay, because a pocket-handkerchief is sooner opened and shut than a
table-cloth. But I hold it to be un-seamanlike to leave any vessel
without human eyes, and those open, to watch whether she goes east or
west, north or south."

"And who is guilty of such a dead man's watch?"

"Why, they say aboard here, that when it blows hard, you seat the man
you call long Tom by the side of the tiller, tell him to keep her head
to sea, and then pipe all hands to their night-caps, where you all
remain, comfortably stowed in your hammocks, until you are awakened by
the snoring of your helmsman."

"'Tis a damned scandalous insinuation," cried Barnstable, with an
indignation that he in vain attempted to conceal. "Who gives currency to
such a libel, Mr. Griffith?"

"I had it of the marine," said his friend, losing the archness that had
instigated him to worry his companion, in the vacant air of one who was
careless of everything; "but I don't believe half of it myself--I have
no doubt you all had your eyes open last night, whatever you might have
been about this morning."

"Ah! this morning! there was an oversight, indeed! But I was studying a
new signal-book, Griffith, that has a thousand times more interest for
me than all the bunting you can show, from the head to the heel of your
masts."

"What! have you found out the Englishman's private talk?"

"No, no," said the other, stretching forth his hand, and grasping the
arm of his friend. "I met last night one on those cliffs, who has proved
herself what I always believed her to be, and loved her for, a girl of
quick thought and bold spirit."

"Of whom do you speak?"

"Of Katherine----"

Griffith started from his chair involuntarily at the sound of this name,
and the blood passed quickly through the shades of his countenance,
leaving it now pale as death, and then burning as if oppressed by a
torrent from his heart. Struggling to overcome an emotion, which he
appeared ashamed to betray even to the friend he most loved, the young
man soon recovered himself so far as to resume his seat, when he asked,
gloomily:

"Was she alone?"

"She was; but she left with me this paper and this invaluable book,
which is worth a library of all other works."

The eye of Griffith rested vacantly on the treasure that the other
valued so highly, but his hand seized eagerly the open letter which was
laid on the table for his perusal. The reader will at once understand
that it was in the handwriting of a female, and that it was the
communication Barnstable had received from his betrothed on the cliffs.
Its contents were as follows:

"Believing that Providence may conduct me where we shall meet, or whence
I may be able to transmit to you this account, I have prepared a short
statement of the situation of Cecila Howard and myself; not, however, to
urge you and Griffith to any rash or foolish hazards, but that you may
both sit down, and, after due consultation, determine what is proper for
our relief.

"By this time, you must understand the character of Colonel Howard too
well to expect he will ever consent to give his niece to a rebel. He has
already sacrificed to his loyalty, as he calls it (but I whisper to
Cecilia, 'tis his treason), not only his native country, but no small
part of his fortune also. In the frankness of my disposition (you know
my frankness, Barnstable, but too well!), I confessed to him, after the
defeat of the mad attempt Griffith made to carry off Cecilia, in
Carolina, that I had been foolish enough to enter into some weak promise
to the brother officer who had accompanied the young sailor in his
traitorous visits to the plantation. Heigho! I sometimes think it would
have been better for us all, if your ship had never been chased into the
river, or, after she was there, if Griffith had made no attempt to renew
his acquaintance with my cousin. The colonel received the intelligence
as such a guardian would hear that his ward was about to throw away
thirty thousand dollars and herself on a traitor to his king and
country. I defended you stoutly: said that you had no king, as the tie
was dissolved; that America was your country, and that your profession
was honorable; but it would not all do. He called you rebel; that I was
used to. He said you were a traitor; that, in his vocabulary, amounts to
the same thing. He even hinted that you were a coward; and that I knew
to be false, and did not hesitate to tell him so. He used fifty
opprobrious terms that I cannot remember; but among others were the
beautiful epithets of 'disorganizer,' 'leveller, 'democrat,' and
'jacobin' (I hope he did not mean a monk!). In short, he acted Colonel
Howard in a rage. But as his dominion does not, like that of his
favorite kings, continue from generation to generation, and one short
year will release me from his power, and leave me mistress of my own
actions--that is, if your fine promises are to be believed--I bore it
all very well, being resolved to suffer anything but martyrdom, rather
than abandon Cecilia. She, dear girl, has much more to distress her than
I can have; she is not only the ward of Colonel Howard, but his niece
and his sole heir. I am persuaded this last circumstance makes no
difference in either her conduct or her feelings; but he appears to
think it gives him a right to tyrannize over her on all occasions. After
all, Colonel Howard is a gentleman when you do not put him in a passion,
and, I believe, a thoroughly honest man; and Cecilia even loves him. But
a man who is driven from his country, in his sixtieth year, with the
loss of near half his fortune, is not apt to canonize those who compel
the change.

"It seems that when the Howards lived on this island, a hundred years
ago, they dwelt in the county of Northumberland. Hither, then, he
brought us, when political events, and his dread of becoming the uncle
to a rebel, induced him to abandon America, as he says, forever. We have
been here now three months, and for two-thirds of that time we lived in
tolerable comfort; but latterly, the papers have announced the arrival
of the ship and your schooner in France; and from that moment as strict
a watch has been kept over us as if we had meditated a renewal of the
Carolina flight. The colonel, on his arrival here, hired an old
building, that is, part house, part abbey, part castle, and all prison;
because it is said to have once belonged to an ancestor of his. In this
delightful dwelling there are many cages that will secure more uneasy
birds than we are. About a fortnight ago an alarm was given in a
neighboring village which is situated on the shore, that two American
vessels, answering your description, had been seen hovering along the
coast; and, as people in this quarter dream of nothing but that terrible
fellow, Paul Jones, it was said that he was on board one of them. But I
believe that Colonel Howard suspects who you really are. He was very
minute in his inquiries, I hear; and since then has established a sort
of garrison in the house, under the pretence of defending it against
marauders, like those who are said to have laid my Lady Selkirk under
contribution.

"Now, understand me, Barnstable; on no account would I have you risk
yourself on shore; neither must there be blood spilt, if you love me;
but that you may know what sort of a place we are confined in, and by
whom surrounded, I will describe both our prison and the garrison. The
whole building is of stone, and not to be attempted with slight means.
It has windings and turnings, both internally and externally, that would
require more skill than I possess to make intelligible; but the rooms we
inhabit are in the upper or third floor of a wing, that you may call a
tower, if you are in a romantic mood, but which, in truth, is nothing
but a wing. Would to God I could fly with it! If any accident should
bring you in sight of the dwelling, you will know our rooms by the three
smoky vanes that whiffle about its pointed roof, and also, by the
windows in that story being occasionally open. Opposite to our windows,
at the distance of half a mile, is a retired unfrequented ruin,
concealed, in a great measure, from observation by a wood, and affording
none of the best accommodations, it is true, but shelter in some of its
vaults or apartments. I have prepared, according to the explanations you
once gave me on this subject, a set of small signals, of differently
colored silks, and a little dictionary of all the phrases that I could
imagine as useful to refer to, properly numbered to correspond with the
key and the flags, all of which I shall send you with this letter. You
must prepare your own flags, and of course I retain mine, as well as a
copy of the key and book. If opportunity should ever offer, we can have,
at least, a pleasant discourse together; you from the top of the old
tower in the ruins, and I from the east window of my dressing-room! But
now for the garrison. In addition to the commandant, Colonel Howard, who
retains all the fierceness of his former military profession, there is,
as his second in authority, that bane of Cecilia's happiness, Kit
Dillon, with his long Savannah face, scornful eyes of black, and skin of
the same color. This gentleman, you know, is a distant relative of the
Howards, and wishes to be more nearly allied. He is poor, it is true,
but then, as the colonel daily remarks, he is a good and loyal subject,
and no rebel. When I asked why he was not in arms in these stirring
times, contending for the prince he loves so much, the colonel answers
that it is not his profession, that he has been educated for the law,
and was destined to fill one of the highest judicial stations in the
colonies, and that he hoped he should yet live to see him sentence
certain nameless gentlemen to condign punishment. This was consoling, to
be sure; but I bore it. However, he left Carolina with us, and here he
is, and here he is likely to continue, unless you can catch him, and
anticipate his judgment on himself. The colonel has long desired to see
this gentleman the husband of Cecilia, and since the news of your being
on the coast, the siege has nearly amounted to a storm. The consequences
are, that my cousin at first kept her room, and then the colonel kept
her there, and even now she is precluded from leaving the wing we
inhabit. In addition to these two principal jailers, we have four men-
servants, two black and two white; and an officer and twenty soldiers
from the neighboring town are billeted on us, by particular desire,
until the coast is declared free from pirates! yes, that is the musical
name they give you--and when their own people land, and plunder, and
rob, and murder the men and insult the women, they are called heroes!
It's a fine thing to be able to invent names and make dictionaries--and
it must be your fault, if mine has been framed for no purpose. I
declare, when I recollect all the insulting and cruel things I hear in
this country of my own and her people, it makes me lose my temper and
forget my sex; but do not let my ill humor urge you to anything rash;
remember your life, remember their prisons, remember your reputation,
but do not, do not forget your

"KATHERINE PLOWDEN.

"P.S. I had almost forgotten to tell you, that in the signal-book you
will find a more particular description of our prison, where it stands,
and a drawing of the grounds, etc."

When Griffith concluded this epistle, he returned it to the man to whom
it was addressed, and fell back in his chair, in an attitude that
denoted deep reflection.

"I knew she was here, or I should have accepted the command offered to
me by our commissioners in Paris," he at length uttered; "and I thought
that some lucky chance might throw her in my way; but this is bringing
us close, indeed! This intelligence must be acted on, and that promptly.
Poor girl, what does she not suffer in such a situation!"

"What a beautiful hand she writes!" exclaimed Barnstable; "'tis as
clear, and as pretty, and as small, as her own delicate fingers. Griff,
what a log-book she would keep!"

"Cecilia Howard touch the coarse leaves of a log-book!" cried the other
in amazement; but perceiving Barnstable to be poring over the contents
of his mistress' letter, he smiled at their mutual folly, and continued
silent. After a short time spent in cool reflection, Griffith inquired
of his friend the nature and circumstances of his interview with
Katherine Plowden. Barnstable related it, briefly, as it occurred, in
the manner already known to the reader.

"Then," said Griffith, "Merry is the only one, besides ourselves, who
knows of this meeting, and he will be too chary of the reputation of his
kinswoman to mention it."

"Her reputation needs no shield, Mr. Griffith," cried her lover; "'tis
as spotless as the canvas above your head, and----"

"Peace, dear Richard; I entreat your pardon; my words may have conveyed
more than I intended; but it is important that our measures should be
secret, as well as prudently concerted."

"We must get them both off," returned Barnstable, forgetting his
displeasure the moment it was exhibited, "and that, too, before the old
man takes it into his wise head to leave the coast. Did you ever get a
sight of his instructions, or does he keep silent?"

"As the grave. This is the first time we have left port, that he has not
conversed freely with me on the nature of the cruise; but not a syllable
has been exchanged between us on the subject, since we sailed from
Brest."

"Ah! that is your Jersey bashfulness," said Barnstable; "wait till I
come alongside him, with my eastern curiosity, and I pledge myself to
get it out of him in an hour."

"'Twill be diamond cut diamond, I doubt," said Griffith, laughing; "you
will find him as acute at evasion, as you can possibly be at a cross-
examination."

"At any rate, he gives me a chance to-day; you know, I suppose, that he
sent for me to attend a consultation of his officers on important
matters."

"I did not," returned Griffith, fixing his eyes intently on the speaker;
"what has he to offer?"

"Nay, that you must ask your pilot; for while talking to me, the old man
would turn and look at the stranger, every minute, as if watching for
signals how to steer."

"There is a mystery about that man, and our connection with him, that I
cannot fathom," said Griffith. "But I hear the voice of Manual calling
for me; we are wanted in the cabin. Remember, you do not leave the ship
without seeing me again."

"No, no, my dear fellow; from the public we must retire to another
private consultation."

The young men arose, and Griffith, throwing off the roundabout in which
he had appeared on deck, drew on a coat of more formal appearance, and
taking a sword carelessly in his hand, they proceeded together along the
passage already described, to the gun-deck, where they entered, with the
proper ceremonials, into the principal cabin of the frigate.




CHAPTER VII

  "Sempronius, speak."
  _Cato._


The arrangements for the consultation were brief and simple. The
veteran commander of the frigate received his officers with punctilious
respect; and pointing to the chairs that were placed around the table,
which was a fixture in the centre of his cabin, he silently seated
himself, and his example was followed by all without further ceremony.
In taking their stations, however, a quiet but rigid observance was paid
to the rights of seniority and rank. On the right of the captain was
placed Griffith, as next in authority; and opposite to him was seated
the commander of the schooner. The officer of marines, who was included
in the number, held the next situation in point of precedence, the same
order being observed to the bottom of the table, which was occupied by a
hard-featured, square-built, athletic man, who held the office of
sailing-master. When order was restored, after the short interruption of
taking their places, the officer who had required the advice of his
inferiors opened the business on which he demanded their opinions.

"My instructions direct me, gentlemen," he said, "after making the coast
of England, to run the land down----"

The hand of Griffith was elevated respectfully for silence, and the
veteran paused, with a look that inquired the reason of his
interruption.

"We are not alone," said the lieutenant, glancing his eye toward the
part of the cabin where the pilot stood, leaning on one of the guns, in
an attitude of easy indulgence.

The stranger moved not at this direct hint; neither did his eye change
from its close survey of a chart that lay near him on the deck. The
captain dropped his voice to tones of cautious respect, as he replied:

"'Tis only Mr. Gray. His services will be necessary on the occasion, and
therefore nothing need be concealed from him."

Glances of surprise were exchanged among the young men; but Griffith
bowing his silent acquiescence in the decision of his superior, the
latter proceeded:

"I was ordered to watch for certain signals from the headlands that we
made, and was furnished with the best of charts, and such directions as
enabled us to stand into the bay we entered last night. We have now
obtained a pilot, and one who has proved himself a skilful man; such a
one, gentlemen, as no officer need hesitate to rely on, in any
emergency, either on account of his integrity or his knowledge."

The veteran paused, and turned his looks on the countenances of the
listeners, as if to collect their sentiments on this important point.
Receiving no other reply than the one conveyed by the silent
inclinations of the heads of his hearers, the commander resumed his
explanations, referring to an open paper in his hand:

"It is known to you all, gentlemen, that the unfortunate question of
retaliation has been much agitated between the two governments, our own
and that of the enemy. For this reason, and for certain political
purposes, it has become an object of solicitude with our commissioners
in Paris to obtain a few individuals of character from the enemy, who
may be held as a check on their proceedings, while at the same time it
brings the evils of war, from our own shores, home to those who have
caused it. An opportunity now offers to put this plan in execution, and
I have collected you, in order to consult on the means."

A profound silence succeeded this unexpected communication of the object
of their cruise. After a short pause, their captain added, addressing
himself to the sailing-master:

"What course would you advise me to pursue, Mr. Boltrope?"

The weather beaten seaman who was thus called on to break through the
difficulties of a knotty point with his opinion, laid one of his short,
bony hands on the table, and began to twirl an inkstand with great
industry, while with the other he conveyed a pen to his mouth, which was
apparently masticated with all the relish that he could possibly have
felt had it been a leaf from the famous Virginian weed. But perceiving
that he was expected to answer, after looking first to his right hand
and then to his left, he spoke as follows, in a hoarse, thick voice, in
which the fogs of the ocean seemed to have united with sea-damps and
colds to destroy everything like melody:

"If this matter is ordered, it is to be done, I suppose," he said; "for
the old rule runs, 'obey orders, if you break owners'; though the maxim
which says, 'one hand for the owner, and t'other for yourself,' is quite
as good, and has saved many a hearty fellow from a fall that would have
balanced the purser's books. Not that I mean a purser's books are not as
good as any other man's; but that when a man is dead, his account must
be closed, or there will be a false muster. Well, if the thing is to be
done, the next question is, how is it to be done? There is many a man
that knows there is too much canvas on a ship, who can't tell how to
shorten sail. Well, then, if the thing is really to be done, we must
either land a gang to seize them, or we must show false lights and sham
colors, to lead them off to the ship. As for landing, Captain Munson, I
can only speak for one man, and that is myself; which is to say, that if
you run the ship with her jib-boom into the king of England's parlor-
windows, why, I'm consenting, nor do I care how much of his crockery is
cracked in so doing; but as to putting the print of my foot on one of
his sandy beaches, if I do, that is always speaking for only one man,
and saving your presence, may I hope to be d--d."

The young men smiled as the tough old seaman uttered his sentiments so
frankly, rising with his subject, to that which with him was the climax
of all discussion; but his commander, who was but a more improved
scholar from the same rough school, appeared to understand his arguments
entirely, and without altering a muscle of his rigid countenance, he
required the opinion of the junior lieutenant.

The young man spoke firmly, but modestly, though the amount of what he
said was not much more distinct than that uttered by the master, and was
very much to the same purpose, with the exception that he appeared to
entertain no personal reluctance to trusting himself on dry ground.

The opinions of the others grew gradually more explicit and clear, as
they ascended in the scale of rank, until it came to the turn of the
captain of marines to speak. There was a trifling exhibition of
professional pride about the soldier, in delivering his sentiments on a
subject that embraced a good deal more of his peculiar sort of duty than
ordinarily occurred in the usual operations of the frigate.

"It appears to me, sir, that the success of this expedition depends
altogether upon the manner in which it is conducted." After this lucid
opening, the soldier hesitated a moment, as if to collect his ideas for
a charge that should look down all opposition, and proceeded. "The
landing, of course, will be effected on a fair beach, under cover of the
frigate's guns, and could it be possibly done, the schooner should be
anchored in such a manner as to throw in a flanking fire on the point of
debarkation. The arrangements for the order of march must a good deal
depend on the distance to go over; though I should think, sir, an
advanced party of seamen, to act as pioneers for the column of marines,
should be pushed a short distance in front, while the baggage and
baggage-guard might rest upon the frigate, until the enemy was driven
into the interior, when it could advance without danger. There should be
flank-guards, under the orders of two of the oldest midshipmen; and a
light corps might be formed of the topmen to co-operate with the
marines. Of course, sir, Mr. Griffith will lead, in person, the musket-
men and boarders, armed with their long pikes, whom I presume he will
hold in reserve, as I trust my military claims and experience entitle me
to the command of the main body."

"Well done, field-marshal!" cried Barnstable, with a glee that seldom
regarded time or place; "you should never let salt-water mould your
buttons; but in Washington's camp, ay! and in Washington's tent, you
should swing your hammock in future. Why, sir, do you think we are about
to invade England?"

"I know that every military movement should be executed with precision,
Captain Barnstable," returned the marine. "I am too much accustomed to
hear the sneers of the sea-officers, to regard what I know proceeds from
ignorance. If Captain Munson is disposed to employ me and my command in
this expedition, I trust he will discover that marines are good for
something more than to mount guard and pay salutes." Then, turning
haughtily from his antagonist, he continued to address himself to their
common superior, as if disdaining further intercourse with one who, from
the nature of the case, must be unable to comprehend the force of what
he said. "It will be prudent, Captain Munson, to send out a party to
reconnoitre, before we march; and as it may be necessary to defend
ourselves in case of a repulse, I would beg leave to recommend that a
corps be provided with entrenching tools, to accompany the expedition.
They would be extremely useful, sir, in assisting to throw up field-
works; though, I doubt not, tools might be found in abundance in this
country, and laborers impressed for the service, on an emergency."

This was too much for the risibility of Barnstable, who broke forth in a
fit of scornful laughter, which no one saw proper to interrupt; though
Griffith, on turning his head to conceal the smile that was gathering on
his own face, perceived the fierce glance which the pilot threw at the
merry seaman, and wondered at its significance and impatience. When
Captain Munson thought that the mirth of the lieutenant was concluded,
he mildly desired his reasons for amusing himself so exceedingly with
the plans of the marine.

"'Tis a chart for a campaign!" cried Barnstable, "and should be sent off
express to Congress, before the Frenchmen are brought into the field!"

"Have you any better plan to propose, Mr. Barnstable?" inquired the
patient commander.

"Better! ay, one that will take no time, and cause no trouble, to
execute it," cried the other; "'tis a seaman's job, sir, and must be
done with a seaman's means."

"Pardon me, Captain Barnstable," interrupted the marine, whose jocular
vein was entirely absorbed in his military pride; "if there be service
to be done on shore, I claim it as my right to be employed."

"Claim what you will, soldier; but how will you carry on the war with a
parcel of fellows who don't know one end of a boat from the other?"
returned the reckless sailor. "Do you think that a barge or a cutter is
to be beached in the same manner you ground firelock, by word of
command? No, no, Captain Manual--I honor your courage, for I have seen
it tried, but d--e if----"

"You forget, we wait for your project, Mr. Barnstable," said the
veteran.

"I crave your patience, sir; but no project is necessary. Point out the
bearings and distance of the place where the men you want are to be
found, and I will take the heel of the gale, and run into the land,
always speaking for good water and no rocks. Mr. Pilot, you will
accompany me, for you carry as true a map of the bottom of these seas in
your head as ever was made of dry ground. I will look out for good
anchorage; or if the wind should blow off shore, let the schooner stand
off and on, till we should be ready to take the broad sea again. I
would land, out of my whaleboat, with long Tom and a boat's crew, and
finding out the place you will describe, we shall go up, and take the
men you want, and bring them aboard. It's all plain sailing; though, as
it is a well-peopled country, it may be necessary to do our shore work
in the dark."

"Mr. Griffith, we only wait for your sentiments," proceeded the captain,
"when, by comparing opinions, we may decide on the most prudent course."

The first lieutenant had been much absorbed in thought during the
discussion of the subject, and might have been, on that account, better
prepared to give his opinion with effect. Pointing to the man who yet
stood behind him, leaning on a gun, he commenced by asking:

"Is it your intention that man shall accompany the party?"

"It is."

"And from him you expect the necessary information, sir, to guide our
movements?"

"You are altogether right."

"If, sir, he has but a moiety of the skill on the land that he possesses
on the water, I will answer for his success," returned the lieutenant,
bowing slightly to the stranger, who received the compliment by a cold
inclination of his head. "I must desire the indulgence of both Mr.
Barnstable and Captain Manual," he continued, "and claim the command as
of right belonging to my rank."

"It belongs naturally to the schooner," exclaimed the impatient
Barnstable.

"There may be enough for us all to do," said Griffith, elevating a
finger to the other, in a manner and with an impressive look that was
instantly comprehended. "I neither agree wholly with the one nor the
other of these gentlemen. 'Tis said that, since our appearance on the
coast, the dwellings of many of the gentry are guarded by small
detachments of soldiers from the neighboring towns."

"Who says it?" asked the pilot, advancing among them with a suddenness
that caused a general silence.

"I say it, sir," returned the lieutenant, when the momentary surprise
had passed away.

"Can you vouch for it?"

"I can."

"Name a house, or an individual, that is thus protected?"

Griffith gazed at the man who thus forgot himself in the midst of a
consultation like the present, and yielding to his native pride,
hesitated to reply. But mindful of the declarations of his captain and
the recent services of the pilot, he at length said, with a little
embarrassment of manner:

"I know it to be the fact, in the dwelling of a Colonel Howard, who
resides but a few leagues to the north of us."

The stranger started at the name, and then raising his eye keenly to the
face of the young man, appeared to study his thoughts in his varying
countenance. But the action, and the pause that followed, were of short
continuance. His lip slightly curled, whether in scorn or with a
concealed smile, would have been difficult to say, so closely did it
resemble both, and as he dropped quietly back to his place at the gun,
he said:

"'Tis more than probable you are right, sir; and if I might presume to
advise Captain Munson, it would be to lay great weight on your opinion."

Griffith turned, to see if he could comprehend more meaning in the
manner of the stranger than his words expressed, but his face was again
shaded by his hand, and his eyes were once more fixed on the chart with
the same vacant abstraction as before.

"I have said, sir, that I agree wholly neither with Mr. Barnstable nor
Captain Manual," continued the lieutenant, after a short pause. "The
command of this party is mine, as the senior officer, and I must beg
leave to claim it. I certainly do not think the preparation that Captain
Manual advises necessary; neither would I undertake the duty with as
little caution as Mr. Barnstable proposes. If there are soldiers to be
encountered, we should have soldiers to oppose them; but as it must be
sudden boat-work, and regular evolutions must give place to a seaman's
bustle, a sea-officer should command. Is my request granted, Captain
Munson?"

The veteran replied, without hesitation:

"It is, sir; it was my intention to offer you the service, and I rejoice
to see you accept it so cheerfully."

Griffith with difficulty concealed the satisfaction with which he
listened to his commander, and a radiant smile illumined his pale
features, when he observed:

"With me then, sir, let the responsibility rest. I request that Captain
Manual, with twenty men, may be put under my orders, if that gentleman
does not dislike the duty." The marine bowed, and cast a glance of
triumph at Barnstable. "I will take my own cutter, with her tried crew,
go on board the schooner, and when the wind lulls, we will run in to the
land, and then be governed by circumstances."

The commander of the schooner threw back the triumphant look of the
marine, and exclaimed, in his joyous manner:

'"Tis a good plan, and done like a seaman, Mr. Griffith. Ay, ay, let the
schooner be employed; and if it be necessary, you shall see her anchored
in one of their duck-ponds, with her broadside to bear on the parlor-
windows of the best house in the island! But twenty marines! they will
cause a jam in my little craft."

"Not a man less than twenty would be prudent," returned Griffith. "More
service may offer than that we seek."

Barnstable well understood his allusion, but still he replied:

"Make it all seamen, and I will give you room for thirty. But these
soldiers never know how to stow away their arms and legs, unless at a
drill. One will take the room of two sailors; they swing their hammocks
athwart-ships, heads to leeward, and then turn out wrong end uppermost
at the call. Why, damn it, sir, the chalk and rottenstone of twenty
soldiers will choke my hatches!"

"Give me the launch, Captain Munson!" exclaimed the indignant marine,
"and we will follow Mr. Griffith in an open boat, rather than put
Captain Barnstable to so much inconvenience."

"No, no, Manual," cried the other, extending his muscular arm across the
table, with an open palm, to the soldier; "you would all become so many
Jonahs in uniform, and I doubt whether the fish could digest your
cartridge-boxes and bayonet-belts. You shall go with me, and learn, with
your own eyes, whether we keep the cat's watch aboard the Ariel that you
joke about."

The laugh was general, at the expense of the soldier, if we except the
pilot and the commander of the frigate. The former was a silent, and
apparently an abstracted, but in reality a deeply interested listener to
the discourse; and there were moments when he bent his looks on the
speakers, as if he sought more in their characters than was exhibited by
the gay trifling of the moment. Captain Munson seldom allowed a muscle
of his wrinkled features to disturb their repose; and if he had not the
real dignity to repress the untimely mirth of his officers, he had too
much good nature to wish to disturb their harmless enjoyments. He
expressed himself satisfied with the proposed arrangements, and beckoned
to his steward to place before them the usual beverage, with which all
their consultations concluded.

The sailing-master appeared to think that the same order was to be
observed in their potations as in council, and helping himself to an
allowance which retained its hue even in its diluted state, he first
raised it to the light, and then observed:

"This ship's water is nearly the color of rum itself; if it only had its
flavor, what a set of hearty dogs we should be! Mr. Griffith, I find you
are willing to haul your land-tacks aboard. Well, it's natural for youth
to love the earth; but there is one man, and he is sailing-master of
this ship, who saw land enough last night, to last him a twelvemonth.
But if you will go, here's a good land-fall, and a better offing to you.
Captain Munson, my respects to you. I say, sir, if we should keep the
ship more to the south'ard, it's my opinion, and that's but one man's,
we should fall in with some of the enemy's homeward bound West-Indiamen,
and find wherewithal to keep the life in us when we see fit to go ashore
ourselves."

As the tough old sailor made frequent application of the glass to his
mouth with one hand, and kept a firm hold of the decanter with the
other, during this speech, his companions were compelled to listen to
his eloquence, or depart with their thirst unassuaged. Barnstable,
however, quite coolly dispossessed the tar of the bottle, and mixing for
himself a more equal potation, observed, in the act:

"That is the most remarkable glass of grog you have, Boltrope, that I
ever sailed with; it draws as little water as the Ariel, and is as hard
to find the bottom. If your spirit-room enjoys the same sort of engine
to replenish it, as you pump out your rum, Congress will sail this
frigate cheaply."

The other officers helped themselves with still greater moderation,
Griffith barely moistening his lips, and the pilot rejecting the offered
glass altogether. Captain Munson continued standing, and his officers,
perceiving that their presence was no longer necessary, bowed, and took
their leave. As Griffith was retiring last, he felt a hand laid lightly
on his shoulder, and turning, perceived that he was detained by the
pilot.

"Mr. Griffith," he said, when they were quite alone with the commander
of the frigate, "the occurrences of the last night should teach us
confidence in each other; without it, we go on a dangerous and fruitless
errand."

"Is the hazard equal?" returned the youth. "I am known to all to be the
man I seem--am in the service of my country--belong to a family, and
enjoy a name, that is a pledge for my loyalty to the cause of America--
and yet I trust myself on hostile ground, in the midst of enemies, with
a weak arm, and under circumstances where treachery would prove my ruin.
Who and what is the man who thus enjoys your confidence, Captain Munson?
I ask the question less for myself than for the gallant men who will
fearlessly follow wherever I lead."

A shade of dark displeasure crossed the features of the stranger, at one
part of this speech, and at its close he sank into deep thought. The
commander, however, replied:

"There is a show of reason in your question, Mr. Griffith--and yet you
are not the man to be told that implicit obedience is what I have a
right to expect. I have not your pretensions, sir, by birth or
education, and yet Congress have not seen proper to overlook my years
and services. I command this frigate----"

"Say no more," interrupted the pilot "There is reason in his doubts, and
they shall be appeased. I like the proud and fearless eye of the young
man, and while he dreads a gibbet from my hands, I will show him how to
repose a noble confidence. Read this, sir, and tell me if you distrust
me now?"

While the stranger spoke, he thrust his hand into the bosom of his
dress, and drew forth a parchment, decorated with ribands, and bearing a
massive seal, which he opened, and laid on the table before the youth.
As he pointed with his finger impressively to different parts of the
writing, his eye kindled with a look of unusual fire, and there was a
faint tinge discernible on his pallid features when he spoke.

"See!" he said, "royalty itself does not hesitate to bear witness in my
favor, and that is not a name to occasion dread to an American."

Griffith gazed with wonder at the fair signature of the unfortunate
Louis, which graced the bottom of the parchment; but when his eye obeyed
the signal of the stranger, and rested on the body of the instrument, he
started back from the table, and fixing his animated eyes on the pilot,
he cried, while a glow of fiery courage flitted across his countenance:

"Lead on! I'll follow you to death!"

A smile of gratified exultation struggled around the lips of the
stranger, who took the arm of the young man and led him into a
stateroom, leaving the commander of the frigate standing, in his unmoved
and quiet manner, a spectator of, but hardly an actor in, the scene.




CHAPTER VIII.

  "Fierce bounding, forward sprang the ship
  Like a greyhound starting from the slip,
  To seize his flying prey."
  _Lord of the Isles_.


Although the subject of the consultation remained a secret with those
whose opinions were required, yet enough of the result leaked out among
the subordinate officers, to throw the whole crew into a state of eager
excitement. The rumor spread itself along the decks of the frigate, with
the rapidity of an alarm, that an expedition was to attempt the shore on
some hidden service, dictated by the Congress itself; and conjectures
were made respecting its force and destination, with all that interest
which might be imagined would exist among the men whose lives or
liberties were to abide the issue. A gallant and reckless daring,
mingled with the desire of novelty, however, was the prevailing
sentiment among the crew, who would have received with cheers the
intelligence that their vessel was commanded to force the passage of the
united British fleet. A few of the older and more prudent of the sailors
were exceptions to this thoughtless hardihood, and one or two, among
whom the cockswain of the whale-boat was the most conspicuous, ventured
to speak doubtingly of all sorts of land service, as being of a nature
never to be attempted by seamen.

Captain Manual had his men paraded in the weather-gangway, and after a
short address, calculated to inflame their military ardor and
patriotism, acquainted them that he required twenty volunteers, which
was in truth half their number, for a dangerous service. After a short
pause, the company stepped forward, like one man, and announced
themselves as ready to follow him to the end of the world. The marine
cast a look over his shoulder, at this gratifying declaration, in quest
of Barnstable; but observing that the sailor was occupied with some
papers on a distant part of the quarter-deck, he proceeded to make a
most impartial division among the candidates for glory; taking care at
the same time to cull his company in such a manner as to give himself
the flower of his men, and, consequently, to leave the ship the refuse.

While this arrangement was taking place, and the crew of the frigate was
in this state of excitement, Griffith ascended to the deck, his
countenance flushed with unusual enthusiasm, and his eyes beaming with a
look of animation and gayety that had long been strangers to the face of
the young man. He was giving forth the few necessary orders to the
seamen he was to take with him from the ship, when Barnstable again
motioned him to follow, and led the way once more to the stateroom.

"Let the wind blow its pipe out," said the commander of the Ariel, when
they were seated; "there will be no landing on the eastern coast of
England till the sea goes down. But this Kate was made for a sailor's
wife! See, Griffith, what a set of signals she has formed, out of her
own cunning head."

"I hope your opinion may prove true, and that you may be the happy
sailor who is to wed her," returned the other. "The girl has indeed
discovered surprising art in this business! Where could she have learnt
the method and system so well?"

"Where! why, where she learnt better things; how to prize a whole-
hearted seaman, for instance. Do you think that my tongue was jammed in
my mouth, all the time we used to sit by the side of the river in
Carolina, and that we found nothing to talk about!"

"Did you amuse your mistress with treatises on the art of navigation,
and the science of signals?" said Griffith, smiling.

"I answered her questions, Mr. Griffith, as any civil man would to a
woman he loved. The girl has as much curiosity as one of my own
townswomen who has weathered cape forty without a husband, and her
tongue goes like a dog-vane in a calm, first one way and then another.
But here is her dictionary. Now own, Griff, in spite of your college
learning and sentimentals, that a woman of ingenuity and cleverness is a
very good sort of a helpmate."

"I never doubted the merits of Miss Plowden," said the other, with a
droll gravity that often mingled with his deeper feelings, the result of
a sailor's habits, blended with native character. "But this indeed
surpasses all my expectations! Why, she has, in truth, made a most
judicious selection of phrases. 'No. 168. **** indelible;' '169. ****
end only with life;' '170. **** I fear yours misleads me;' '171. ----'"

"Pshaw!" exclaimed Barnstable, snatching the book from before the
laughing eyes of Griffith; "what folly, to throw away our time now on
such nonsense! What think you of this expedition to the land?"

"That it may be the means of rescuing the ladies, though it fail in
making the prisoners we anticipate."

"But this pilot! you remember that he holds us by our necks, and can run
us all up to the yard-arm of some English ship, whenever he chooses to
open his throat at their threats or bribes."

"It would have been better that he should have cast the ship ashore,
when he had her entangled in the shoals; it would have been our last
thought to suspect him of treachery then," returned Griffith, "I follow
him with confidence, and must believe that we are safer with him than we
should be without him."

"Let him lead to the dwelling of his fox-hunting ministers of state,"
cried Barnstable, thrusting his book of signals into his bosom: "but
here is a chart that will show us the way to the port we wish to find.
Let my foot once more touch terra firma, and you may write craven
against my name, if that laughing vixen slips her cable before my eyes,
and shoots into the wind's eye again like a flying-fish chased by a
dolphin. Mr. Griffith, we must have the chaplain with us to the shore."

"The madness of love is driving you into the errors of the soldier.
Would you lie by to hear sermons, with a flying party like ours?"

"Nay, nay, we must lay to for nothing that is not unavoidable; but there
are so many tacks in such a chase, when one has time to breathe, that we
might as well spend our leisure in getting that fellow to splice us
together. He has a handy way with a prayer book, and could do the job as
well as a bishop; and I should like to be able to say, that this is the
last time these two saucy names, which are written at the bottom of this
letter, should ever be seen sailing in the company of each other."

"It will not do," said his friend, shaking his head, and endeavoring to
force a smile which his feelings suppressed; "it will not do, Richard;
we must yield our own inclinations to the service of our country; nor is
this pilot a man who will consent to be led from his purpose."

"Then let him follow his purpose alone," cried Barnstable. "There is no
human power, always saving my superior officer, that shall keep me from
throwing abroad these tiny signals, and having a private talk with my
dark-eyed Kate. But for a paltry pilot! he may luff and bear away as he
pleases, while I shall steer as true as a magnet for that old ruin,
where I can bring my eyes to bear on that romantic wing and three smoky
vanes. Not that I'll forget my duty? no, I'll help you catch the
Englishman; but when that is done, hey! for Katherine Plowden and my
true love!"

"Hush, madcap! the wardroom holds long ears, and our bulkheads grow thin
by wear. I must keep you and myself to our duty. This is no children's
game that we play; it seems the commissioners at Paris have thought
proper to employ a frigate in the sport."

Barnstable's gayety was a little repressed by the grave manner of his
companion; but after reflecting a moment, he started on his feet, and
made the usual movements for departure.

"Whither?" asked Griffith, gently detaining his impatient friend.

"To old Moderate; I have a proposal to make that may remove every
difficulty."

"Name it to me, then; I am in his council, and may save you the trouble
and mortification of a refusal."

"How many of those gentry does he wish to line his cabin with?"

"The pilot has named no less than six, all men of rank and consideration
with the enemy. Two of them are peers, two more belong to the commons'
house of parliament, one is a general, and the sixth, like ourselves, is
a sailor, and holds the rank of captain. They muster at a hunting-seat
near the coast, and, believe me, the scheme is not without its
plausibility."

"Well, then, there are two apiece for us. You follow the pilot, if you
will; but let me sheer off for this dwelling of Colonel Howard, with my
cockswain and boat's crew. I will surprise his house, release the
ladies, and on my way back, lay my hands on two of the first lords I
fall in with. I suppose, for our business, one is as good as another."

Griffith could not repress a faint laugh, while he replied:

"Though they are said to be each other's peers, there is, I believe,
some difference even in the quality of lords. England might thank us for
ridding her of some among them. Neither are they to be found like
beggars, under every hedge. No, no, the men we seek must have something
better than their nobility to recommend them to our favor. But let us
examine more closely into this plan and map of Miss Plowden; something
may occur that shall yet bring the place within our circuit, like a
contingent duty of the cruise."

Barnstable reluctantly relinquished his own wild plan to the more sober
judgment of his friend, and they passed an hour together, inquiring into
the practicability, and consulting on the means, of making their public
duty subserve the purpose of their private feelings.

The gale continued to blow heavily during the whole of that morning; but
toward noon the usual indications of better weather became apparent.
During these few hours of inaction in the frigate, the marines, who were
drafted for service on the land, moved through the vessel with a busy
and stirring air, as if they were about to participate in the glory and
danger of the campaign their officer had planned, while the few seamen
who were to accompany the expedition steadily paced the deck, with their
hands thrust into the bosoms of their neat blue jackets, or occasionally
stretched toward the horizon, as their fingers traced, for their less
experienced shipmates, the signs of an abatement in the gale among the
driving clouds. The last lagger among the soldiers had appeared, with
his knapsack on his back, in the lee gangway, where his comrades were
collected, armed and accoutered for the strife, when Captain Munson
ascended to the quarter-deck, accompanied by the stranger and his first
lieutenant. A word was spoken by the latter in a low voice to a
midshipman, who skipped gayly along the deck, and presently the shrill
call of the boatswain was beard, preceding the hoarse cry of:

"Away there, you Tigers, away!"

A smart roll of the drum followed, and the marines paraded, while the
six seamen who belonged to the cutter that owned so fierce a name made
their preparations for lowering their little bark from the quarter of
the frigate into the troubled sea. Everything was conducted in the most
exact order, and with a coolness and skill that bade defiance to the
turbulence of the angry elements. The marines were safely transported
from the ship to the schooner, under the favoring shelter of the former,
though the boat appeared, at times, to be seeking the cavities of the
ocean, and again to be riding in the clouds, as she passed from one
vessel to the other.

At length it was announced that the cutter was ready to receive the
officers of the party. The pilot walked aside and held private
discourse, for a few moments, with the commander, who listened to his
sentences with marked and singular attention. When their conference was
ended, the veteran bared his gray head to the blasts, and offered his
hand to the other, with a seaman's frankness, mingled with the deference
of an inferior. The compliment was courteously returned by the stranger,
who turned quickly on his heel, and directed the attention of those who
awaited his movements, by a significant gesture, to the gangway.

"Come, gentlemen, let us go," said Griffith, starting from a reverie,
and bowing his hasty compliments to his brethren in arms.

When it appeared that his superiors were ready to enter the boat, the
boy, who, by nautical courtesy, was styled Mr. Merry, and who had been
ordered to be in readiness, sprang over the side of the frigate, and
glided into the cutter, with the activity of a squirrel. But the captain
of marines paused, and cast a meaning glance at the pilot, whose place
it was to precede him. The stranger, as he lingered on the deck, was
examining the aspect of the heavens, and seemed unconscious of the
expectations of the soldier, who gave vent to his impatience, after a
moment's detention, by saying:

"We wait for you, Mr. Gray."

Aroused by the sound of his name, the pilot glanced his quick eye on the
speaker, but instead of advancing, he gently bent his body, as he again
signed toward the gangway with his hand. To the astonishment not only of
the soldier, but of all who witnessed this breach of naval etiquette,
Griffith bowed low, and entered the boat with the same promptitude as if
he were preceding an admiral. Whether the stranger became conscious of
his want of courtesy, or was too indifferent to surrounding objects to
note occurrences, he immediately followed himself, leaving to the marine
the post of honor. The latter, who was distinguished for his skill in
all matters of naval or military etiquette, thought proper to apologize,
at a fitting time, to the first lieutenant for suffering his senior
officer to precede him into a boat, but never failed to show a becoming
exultation, when he recounted the circumstance, by dwelling on the
manner in which he had brought down the pride of the haughty pilot.

Barnstable had been several hours on board his little vessel, which was
every way prepared for their reception; and as soon as the heavy cutter
of the frigate was hoisted on her deck, he announced that the schooner
was ready to sail. It has been already intimated that the Ariel belonged
to the smallest class of sea-vessels; and as the symmetry of her
construction reduced even that size in appearance, she was peculiarly
well adapted to the sort of service in which she was about to be
employed. Notwithstanding her lightness rendered her nearly as buoyant
as a cork, and at times she actually seemed to ride on the foam, her low
decks were perpetually washed by the heavy seas that dashed against her
frail sides, and she tossed and rolled in the hollows of the waves, In a
manner that compelled even the practised seamen who trod her decks to
move with guarded steps. Still she was trimmed and cleared with an air
of nautical neatness and attention that afforded the utmost possible
room for her dimensions; and, though in miniature, she wore the
trappings of war as proudly as if the metal she bore was of a more fatal
and dangerous character. The murderous gun, which, since the period of
which we are writing, has been universally adopted in all vessels of
inferior size, was then in the infancy of its invention, and was known
to the American mariner only by reputation, under the appalling name of
a "smasher." Of a vast calibre, though short and easily managed, its
advantages were even in that early day beginning to be appreciated, and
the largest ships were thought to be unusually well provided with the
means of offence, when they carried two or three cannon of this
formidable invention among their armament. At a later day, this weapon
has been improved and altered, until its use has become general in
vessels of a certain size, taking its appellation from the Carron, on
the banks of which river it was first moulded. In place of these
carronades, six light brass cannon were firmly lashed to the bulwarks of
the Ariel, their brazen throats blackened by the sea-water, which so
often broke harmlessly over these engines of destruction. In the centre
of the vessel, between her two masts, a gun of the same metal, but of
nearly twice the length of the other, was mounted on a carriage of a new
and singular construction, which admitted of its being turned in any
direction, so as to be of service in most of the emergencies that occur
in naval warfare.

The eye of the pilot examined this armament closely and then turned to
the well-ordered decks, the neat and compact rigging, and the hardy
faces of the fine young crew, with manifest satisfaction. Contrary to
what had been his practice during the short time he had been with them,
he uttered his gratification freely and aloud.

"You have a tight boat, Mr. Barnstable," he said, "and a gallant-looking
crew. You promise good service, sir, in time of need, and that hour may
not be far distant."

"The sooner the better," returned the reckless sailor; "I have not had
an opportunity of scaling my guns since we quitted Brest, though we
passed several of the enemy's cutters coming up channel, with whom our
bulldogs longed for a conversation. Mr. Griffith will tell you, pilot,
that my little sixes can speak, on occasion, with a voice nearly as loud
as the frigate's eighteens."

"But not to as much purpose," observed Griffith; "'vox et praeterea
nihil,' as we said at school."

"I know nothing of your Greek and Latin, Mr. Griffith," retorted the
commander of the Ariel; "but if you mean that those seven brass
playthings won't throw a round-shot as far as any gun of their size and
height above the water, or won't scatter grape and canister with any
blunderbuss in your ship, you may possibly find an opportunity that will
convince you to the contrary, before we part company."

"They promise well," said the pilot, who was evidently, ignorant of the
good understanding that existed between the two officers, and wished to
conciliate all under his directions; "and I doubt not they will argue
the leading points of a combat with good discretion. I see that you have
christened them--I suppose for their respective merits. They are indeed
expressive names!"

"'Tis the freak of an idle moment," said Barnstable, laughing, as he
glanced his eye to the cannon, above which were painted the several
quaint names of "boxer," "plumper," "grinder," "scatterer,"
"exterminator" and nail-driver."

"Why have you thrown the midship gun without the pale of your baptism?"
asked the pilot; "or do you know it by the usual title of the 'old
woman'?"

"No, no, I have no such petticoat terms on board me," cried the other;
"but move more to starboard, and you will see its style painted on the
cheeks of the carriage; it's a name that need not cause them to blush
either."

"'Tis a singular epithet, though not without some meaning!"

"It has more than you, perhaps, dream of, sir. That worthy seaman whom
you see leaning against the foremast, and who would serve, on occasion,
for a spare spar himself, is the captain of that gun, and more than once
has decided some warm disputes with John Bull, by the manner in which he
has wielded it. No marine can trail his musket more easily than my
cockswain can train his nine-pounder on an object; and thus from their
connection, and some resemblance there is between them in length, it has
got the name which you perceive it carries--that of 'long Tom.'"

The pilot smiled as he listened, but turning away from the speaker, the
deep reflection that crossed his brow but too plainly showed that he
trifled only from momentary indulgence; and Griffith intimated to
Barnstable, that as the gale was sensibly abating they would pursue the
object of their destination.

Thus recalled to his duty, the commander of the schooner forgot the
delightful theme of expatiating on the merits of his vessel, and issued
the necessary orders to direct their movements. The little schooner
slowly obeyed the impulse of her helm, and fell off before the wind,
when the folds of her square-sail, though limited by a prudent reef,
were opened to the blasts, and she shot away from her consort, like a
meteor dancing across the waves. The black mass of the frigate's hull
soon sunk in distance; and long before the sun had fallen below the
hills of England, her tall masts were barely distinguishable by the
small cloud of sail that held the vessel to her station. As the ship
disappeared, the land seemed to issue out of the bosom of the deep; and
so rapid was their progress, that the dwellings of the gentry, the
humbler cottages, and even the dim lines of the hedges, became gradually
more distinct to the eyes of the bold mariners, until they were beset
with the gloom of evening, when the whole scene faded from their view in
the darkness of the hour, leaving only the faint outline of the land
visible in the tract before them, and the sullen billows of the ocean
raging with appalling violence in their rear.

Still the little Ariel held on her way, skimming the ocean like a water-
fowl seeking its place of nightly rest, and shooting in towards the land
as fearlessly as if the dangers of the preceding night were already
forgotten. No shoals or rocks appeared to arrest her course, and we must
leave her gliding into the dark streak that was thrown from the high and
rocky cliffs, that lined a basin of bold entrance, where the mariners
often sought and found a refuge from the dangers of the German Ocean.




CHAPTER IX.

  "Sirrah! how dare you leave your barley-broth
  To come in armor thus, against your king?"
  _Drama_.


The large irregular building inhabited by Colonel Howard well deserved
the name it had received from the pen of Katherine Plowden.
Notwithstanding the confusion in its orders, owing to the different ages
in which its several parts had been erected, the interior was not
wanting in that appearance of comfort which forms the great
characteristic of English domestic life. Its dark and intricate mazes of
halls, galleries, and apartments were all well provided with good and
substantial furniture; and whatever might have been the purposes of
their original construction, they were now peacefully appropriated to
the service of a quiet and well-ordered family.

There were divers portentous traditions of cruel separations and
blighted loves, which always linger, like cobwebs, around the walls of
old houses, to be heard here also, and which, doubtless, in abler hands,
might easily have been wrought up into scenes of high interest and
delectable pathos. But our humbler efforts must be limited by an attempt
to describe man as God has made him, vulgar and unseemly as he may
appear to sublimated faculties, to the possessors of which enviable
qualifications we desire to say, at once, that we are determined to
eschew all things supernaturally refined, as we would the devil. To all
those, then, who are tired of the company of their species we would
bluntly insinuate, that the sooner they throw aside our pages, and seize
upon those of some more highly gifted bard, the sooner will they be in
the way of quitting earth, if not of attaining heaven. Our business is
solely to treat of man, and this fair scene on which he acts, and that
not in his subtleties, and metaphysical contradictions, but in his
palpable nature, that all may understand our meaning as well as
ourselves--whereby we may manifestly reject the prodigious advantage of
being thought a genius, by perhaps foolishly refusing the mighty aid of
incomprehensibility to establish such a character.

Leaving the gloomy shadows of the cliffs, under which the little Ariel
had been seen to steer, and the sullen roaring of the surf along the
margin of the ocean, we shall endeavor to transport the reader to the
dining parlor of St. Ruth's Abbey, taking the evening of the same day as
the time for introducing another collection of those personages, whose
acts and characters it has become our duty to describe.

The room was not of very large dimensions, and every part was glittering
with the collected light of half a dozen Candles, aided by the fierce
rays that glanced from the grate, which held a most cheerful fire of
sea-coal. The mouldings of the dark oak wainscoting threw back upon the
massive table of mahogany streaks of strong light, which played among
the rich fluids that were sparkling on the board in mimic haloes. The
outline of this picture of comfort was formed by damask curtains of a
deep red, and enormous oak chairs with leathern backs and cushioned
seats, as if the apartment were hermetically sealed against the world
and its chilling cares.

Around the table, which still stood in the centre of the floor, were
seated three gentlemen, in the easy enjoyment of their daily repast. The
cloth had been drawn, and the bottle was slowly passing among them, as
if those who partook of its bounty well knew that neither the time nor
the opportunity would be wanting for their deliberate indulgence in its
pleasures.

At one end of the table an elderly man was seated, who performed
whatever little acts of courtesy the duties of a host would appear to
render necessary, in a company where all seemed to be equally at their
ease and at home. This gentleman was in the decline of life, though his
erect carriage, quick movements, and steady hand, equally denoted that
it was an old age free from the usual infirmities. In his dress, he
belonged to that class whose members always follow the fashions of the
age anterior to the one in which they live, whether from disinclination
to sudden changes of any kind, or from the recollections of a period
which, with them, has been hallowed by scenes and feelings that the
chilling evening of life can neither revive nor equal. Age might
possibly have thrown its blighting frosts on his thin locks, but art had
labored to conceal the ravages with the nicest care. An accurate outline
of powder covered not only the parts where the hair actually remained,
but wherever nature had prescribed that hair should grow. His
countenance was strongly marked in features, if not in expression,
exhibiting, on the whole, a look of noble integrity and high honor,
which was a good deal aided in its effect by the lofty receding
forehead, that rose like a monument above the whole, to record the
character of the aged veteran. A few streaks of branching red mingled
with a swarthiness of complexion, that was rendered more conspicuous by
the outline of unsullied white, which nearly surrounded his prominent
features.

Opposite to the host, who it will at once be understood was Colonel
Howard, was the thin yellow visage of Mr. Christopher Dillon, that bane
to the happiness of her cousin, already mentioned by Miss Plowden.

Between these two gentlemen was a middle-aged hard-featured man, attired
in the livery of King George, whose countenance emulated the scarlet of
his coat, and whose principal employment, at the moment, appeared to
consist in doing honor to the cheer of his entertainer.

Occasionally, a servant entered or left the room in silence, giving
admission, however, through the opened door, to the rushing sounds of
the gale, as the wind murmured amid the angles and high chimneys of the
edifice.

A man, in the dress of a rustic, was standing near the chair of Colonel
Howard, between whom and the master of the mansion a dialogue had been
maintained which closed as follows. The colonel was the first to speak,
after the curtain is drawn from between the eyes of the reader and the
scene:

"Said you, farmer, that the Scotchman beheld the vessels with his own
eyes?"

The answer was a simple negative.

"Well, well," continued the colonel, "you can withdraw."

The man made a rude attempt at a bow, which being returned by the old
soldier with formal grace, he left the room. The host turning to his
companions, resumed the subject.

"If those rash boys have really persuaded the silly dotard who commands
the frigate, to trust himself within the shoals on the eve of such a
gale as this, their case must have been hopeless indeed! Thus may
rebellion and disaffection ever meet with the just indignation of
Providence! It would not surprise me, gentleman, to hear that my native
land had been engulfed by earthquakes, or swallowed by the ocean, so
awful and inexcusable has been the weight of her transgressions! And yet
it was a proud and daring boy who held the second station in that ship!
I knew his father well, and a gallant gentleman he was, who, like my own
brother, the parent of Cecilia, preferred to serve his master on the
ocean rather than on the land. His son inherited the bravery of his high
spirit, without its loyalty. One would not wish to have such a youth
drowned, either."

This speech, which partook much of the nature of a soliloquy, especially
toward its close, called for no immediate reply; but the soldier, having
held his glass to the candle, to admire the rosy hue of its contents,
and then sipped of the fluid so often that nothing but a clear light
remained to gaze at, quietly replaced the empty vessel on the table,
and, as he extended an arm toward the blushing bottle, he spoke, in the
careless tones of one whose thoughts were dwelling on another theme:

"Ay, true enough, sir; good men are scarce, and, as you say, one cannot
but mourn his fate, though his death be glorious; quite a loss to his
majesty's service, I dare say, it will prove."

"A loss to the service of his majesty!" echoed the host--"his death
glorious! no, Captain Borroughcliffe, the death of no rebel can be
glorious; and how he can be a loss to his majesty's service, I myself am
quite at a loss to understand."

The soldier, whose ideas were in that happy state of confusion that
renders it difficult to command the one most needed, but who still, from
long discipline, had them under a wonderful control for the disorder of
his brain, answered, with great promptitude:

"I mean the loss of his example, sir. It would have been so appalling to
others to have seen the young man executed instead of shot in battle."

"He is drowned, sir."

"Ah! that is the next thing to being hanged; that circumstance had
escaped me."

"It is by no means certain, sir, that the ship and schooner that the
drover saw are the vessels you take them to have been," said Mr. Dillon,
in a harsh, drawling tone of voice. "I should doubt their daring to
venture so openly on the coast, and in the direct track of our vessels
of war."

"These people are our countrymen, Christopher, though they are rebels,"
exclaimed the colonel. "They are a hardy and brave nation. When I had
the honor of serving his majesty, some twenty years since, it was my
fortune to face the enemies of my king in a few small affairs, Captain
Borroughcliffe; such as the siege of Quebec, and the battle before its
gates, a trifling occasion at Ticonderoga, and that unfortunate
catastrophe of General Braddock--with a few others. I must say, sir, in
favor of the colonists that they played a manful game on the latter day;
and this gentleman who now heads the rebels sustained a gallant name
among us for his conduct in that disastrous business. He was a discreet,
well-behaved young man, and quite a gentleman. I have never denied that
Mr. Washington was very much of a gentleman."

"Yes!" said the soldier, yawning, "he was educated among his majesty's
troops, and he could hardly be other wise. But I am quite melancholy
about this unfortunate drowning, Colonel Howard. Here will be an end of
my vocation, I suppose; and I am far from denying that your hospitality
has made these quarters most agreeable to me."

"Then, sir, the obligation is only mutual," returned the host, with a
polite inclination of his head: "but gentlemen who, like ourselves, have
been made free of the camp, need not bandy idle compliments about such
trifles. If it were my kinsman Dillon, now, whose thoughts ran more on
Coke upon Littleton than on the gayeties of a mess-table and a soldier's
life, he might think such formalities as necessary as his hard words are
to a deed. Come, Borroughcliffe, my dear fellow, I believe we have given
an honest glass to each of the royal family (God bless them all!), let
us swallow a bumper to the memory of the immortal Wolfe."

"An honest proposal, my gallant host, and such a one as a soldier will
never decline," returned the captain, who roused himself with the
occasion. "God bless them all! say I, in echo; and if this gracious
queen of ours ends as famously as she has begun, 'twill be such a family
of princes as no other army of Europe can brag of around a mess-table."

"Ay, ay, there is some consolation in that thought, in the midst of this
dire rebellion of my countrymen. But I'll vex myself no more with the
unpleasant recollections; the arms of my sovereign will soon purge that
wicked land of the foul stain."

"Of that there can be no doubt," said Borroughcliffe, whose thoughts
still continued a little obscured by the sparkling Madeira that had long
lain ripening under a Carolinian sun; "these Yankees fly before his
majesty's regulars, like so many dirty clowns in a London mob before a
charge of the horse-guards."

"Pardon me, Captain Borroughcliffe," said his host, elevating his person
to more than its usually erect attitude; "they may be misguided,
deluded, and betrayed, but the comparison is unjust. Give them arms and
give them discipline, and he who gets an inch of their land from them,
plentiful as it is, will find a bloody day on which to take possession."

"The veriest coward in Christendom would fight in country where wine
brews itself into such a cordial as this," returned the cool soldier. "I
am a living proof that you mistook my meaning; for had not those loose-
flapped gentlemen they call Vermontese and Hampshire-granters (God grant
them his blessing for the deed) finished two-thirds of my company, I
should not have been at this day under your roof, a recruiting instead
of a marching officer; neither should I have been bound up in a
covenant, like the law of Moses, could Burgoyne have made head against
their long-legged marchings and countermarchings. Sir, I drink their
healths, with all my heart; and with such a bottle of golden sunshine
before me, rather than displease so good a friend, I will go through
Gates' whole army, regiment by regiment, company by company, or, if you
insist on the same, even man by man, in a bumper."

"On no account would I tax your politeness so far," returned the
colonel, abundantly mollified by this ample concession; "I stand too
much your debtor, Captain Borroughcliffe, for so freely volunteering to
defend my house against the attacks of my piratical, rebellious, and
misguided countrymen, to think of requiring such a concession."

"Harder duty might be performed, and no favors asked, my respectable
host," returned the soldier. "Country quarters are apt to be dull, and
the liquor is commonly execrable; but in such a dwelling as this, a man
can rock himself in the very cradle of contentment. And yet there is one
subject of complaint, that I should disgrace my regiment did I not speak
of--for it is incumbent on me, both as a man and a soldier, to be no
longer silent."

"Name it, sir, freely, and its cause shall be as freely redressed," said
the host in some amazement.

"Here we three sit, from morning to night," continued the soldier;
"bachelors all, well provisioned and better liquored, I grant you, but
like so many well-fed anchorites, while two of the loveliest damsels in
the island pine in solitude within a hundred feet of us, without tasting
the homage of our sighs. This, I will maintain, is a reproach both to
your character, Colonel Howard, as an old soldier and to mine as a young
one. As to our old friend, Coke on top of Littleton here, I leave him to
the quiddities of the law to plead his own cause."

The brow of the host contracted for a moment, and the sallow cheek of
Dillon, who had sat during the dialogue in a sullen silence, appeared to
grow even livid; but gradually the open brow of the veteran resumed its
frank expression, and the lips of the other relaxed into a Jesuitical
sort of a smile, that was totally disregarded by the captain, who amused
himself with sipping his wine while he waited for an answer, as if he
analyzed each drop that crossed his palate.

After an embarrassing pause of a moment, Colonel Howard broke the
silence:

"There is reason in Borroughcliffe's hint, for such I take it to be----"

"I meant it for a plain, matter-of-fact complaint," interrupted the
soldier.

"And you have cause for it," continued the colonel. "It is unreasonable,
Christopher, that the ladies should allow their dread of these piratical
countrymen of ours to exclude us from their society, though prudence may
require that they remain secluded in their apartments. We owe the
respect to Captain Borroughcliffe, that at least we admit him to the
sight of the coffee-urn in an evening."

"That is precisely my meaning," said the captain: "as for dining with
them, why, I am well provided for here; but there is no one knows how to
set hot water a hissing in so professional a manner as a woman. So
forward, my dear and honored colonel, and lay your injunctions on them,
that they command your humble servant and Mr. Coke unto Littleton to
advance and give the countersign of gallantry."

Dillon contracted his disagreeable features into something that was
intended for a satirical smile, before he spoke as follows:

"Both the veteran Colonel Howard and the gallant Captain Borroughcliffe
may find it easier to overcome the enemies of his majesty in the field
than to shake a woman's caprice. Not a day has passed these three weeks,
that I have not sent my inquiries to the door of Miss Howard as became
her father's kinsman, with a wish to appease her apprehensions of the
pirates; but little has she deigned me In reply, more than such thanks
as her sex and breeding could not well dispense with."

"Well, you have been, as fortunate as myself, and why you should be more
so, I see no reason," cried the soldier, throwing a glance of cool
contempt at the other: "fear whitens the cheek, and ladies best love to
be seen when the roses flourish rather than the lilies."

"A woman is never so interesting, Captain Borroughcliffe, said the
gallant host," as when she appears to lean on man for support; and he
who does not feel himself honored by the trust is a disgrace to his
species."

"Bravo! my honored sir, a worthy sentiment, and spoken like a true
soldier; but I have heard much of the loveliness of the ladies of the
abbey since I have been in my present quarters, and I feel a strong
desire to witness beauty encircled by such loyalty as could induce them
to flee their native country, rather than to devote their charms to the
rude keeping of the rebels."

The colonel looked grave, and for a moment fierce, but the expression of
his displeasure soon passed away in a smile of forced gayety, and, as he
cheerfully rose from his seat, he cried:

"You shall be admitted this very night, and this instant, Captain
Borroughcliffe, We owe it, sir, to your services here, as well as in the
field, and those forward girls shall be humored no longer. Nay, it is
nearly two weeks since I have seen my ward myself; nor have I laid my
eyes on my niece but twice in all that time, Christopher, I leave the
captain under your good care while I go seek admission into the
cloisters, we call that part of, the building the cloisters, because it
holds our nuns, sir! You will pardon my early absence from the table,
Captain Borroughcliffe."

"I beg it may not be mentioned; you leave an excellent representative
behind you, sir," cried the soldier, taking in the lank figure of Mr.
Dillon in a sweeping glance, that terminated with a settled gaze on his
decanter. "Make my devoirs to the recluses, and say all that your own
excellent wit shall suggest as an apology for my impatience, Mr. Dillon,
I meet you in a bumper to their healths and in their honor."

The challenge was coldly accepted; and while these gentlemen still held
their glasses to their lips, Colonel Howard left the apartment, bowing
low, and uttering a thousand excuses to his guest, as he proceeded, and
even offering a very unnecessary apology of the same effect to his
habitual inmate, Mr. Dillon.

"Is fear so very powerful within these old walls," said the soldier,
when the door closed behind their host, "that your ladies deem it
necessary to conceal themselves before even an enemy is known to have
landed?"

Dillon coldly replied:

"The name of Paul Jones is terrific to all on this coast, I believe; nor
are the ladies of St. Ruth singular in their apprehensions."

"Ah! the pirate has bought himself a desperate name since the affair of
Flamborough Head. But let him look to't, if he trusts himself in another
Whitehaven expedition, while there is a detachment of the ----th in the
neighborhood, though the men should be nothing better than recruits."

"Our last accounts leave him safe in the court of Louis," returned his
companion; "but there are men as desperate as himself, who sail the
ocean under the rebel flag, and from one or two of them we have had much
reason to apprehend the vengeance of disappointed men. It is they that
we hope we lost in this gale."

"Hum! I hope they were dastards, or your hopes are a little unchristian,
and----"

He would have proceeded, but the door opened, and his orderly entered,
and announced that a sentinel had detained three men, who were passing
along the highway, near the abbey, and who, by their dress, appeared to
be seamen.

"Well, let them pass," cried the captain; "what, have we nothing to do
better than to stop passengers, like footpads on the king's highway!
Give them of your canteens, and let the rascals pass. Your orders were
to give the alarm if any hostile party landed on the coast, not to
detain peaceable subjects on their lawful business."

"I beg your honor's pardon," returned the sergeant; "but these men
seemed lurking about the grounds for no good, and as they kept carefully
aloof from the place where our sentinel was posted, until to-night,
Downing thought it looked suspiciously and detained them."

"Downing is a fool, and it may go hard with him for his officiousness.
What have you done with the men?"

"I took them to the guardroom in the east wings your honor."

"Then feed them; and hark ye, sirrah! liquor them well, that we hear no
complaints, and let them go."

"Yes, sir, yes, your honor shall be obeyed; but there is a straight,
soldierly-looking fellow among them, that I think might be persuaded to
enlist, if he were detained till morning. I doubt, sir, by his walk, but
he has served already."

"Ha! what say you!" cried the captain, pricking up his ears like a hound
who hears a well-known cry; "served, think ye, already?"

"There are signs about him, your honor, to that effect An old soldier is
seldom deceived in such a thing; and considering his disguise, for it
can be no other, and the place where we took him, there is no danger of
a have-us corpses until he is tied to us by the laws of the kingdom."

"Peace, you knave!" said Borroughcliffe, rising, and making a devious
route toward the door; "you speak in the presence of my lord chief
justice that is to be, and should not talk lightly of the laws. But
still you say reason: give me your arm, sergeant, and lead the way to
the east wing; my eyesight is good for nothing in such a dark night. A
soldier should always visit his guard before the tattoo beats."

After emulating the courtesy of their host, Captain Borroughcliffe
retired on this patriotic errand, leaning on his subordinate in a style
of most familiar condescension. Dillon continued at the table,
endeavoring to express the rancorous feelings of his breast by a
satirical smile of contempt, that was necessarily lost on all but
himself, as a large mirror threw back the image of his morose and
unpleasant features.

But we must precede the veteran colonel in his visits to the
"cloisters."




CHAPTER X.

  ----"And kindness like their own
  Inspired those eyes, affectionate and glad,
  That seem'd to love whate'er they looked upon;
  Whether with Hebe's mirth her features shone,
  Or if a shade more pleasing them o'ercast--
  Yet so becomingly th' expression past,
  That each succeeding look was lovelier than the last."
  _Gertrude of Wyoming_.


The western wing of St. Ruth house or abbey, as the building was
indiscriminately called, retained but few vestiges of the uses to which
it had been originally devoted. The upper apartments were small and
numerous, extending on either side of a long, low, and dark gallery, and
might have been the dormitories of the sisterhood who were said to have
once inhabited that portion of the edifice; but the ground-floor had
been modernized, as it was then called, about a century before, and
retained just enough of its ancient character to blend the venerable
with what was thought comfortable in the commencement of the reign of
the third George. As this wing had been appropriated to the mistress of
the mansion, ever since the building had changed its spiritual character
for one of a more carnal nature, Colonel Howard continued the
arrangement, when he became the temporary possessor of St. Ruth, until,
in the course of events, the apartments which had been appropriated for
the accommodation and convenience of his niece were eventually converted
into her prison. But as the severity of the old veteran was as often
marked by an exhibition of his virtues as of his foibles, the
confinement and his displeasure constituted the sole subjects of
complaint that were given to the young lady. That our readers may be
better qualified to judge of the nature of their imprisonment, we shall
transport them, without further circumlocution, into the presence of the
two females, whom they must be already prepared to receive.

The withdrawing-room of St. Ruth's was an apartment which, tradition
said, had formerly been the refectory of the little bevy of fair sinners
who sought a refuge within its walls from the temptations of the world.
Their number was not large, nor their entertainments very splendid, or
this limited space could not have contained them. The room, however, was
of fair dimensions, and an air of peculiar comfort, mingled with
chastened luxury, was thrown around it, by the voluminous folds of the
blue damask curtains that nearly concealed the sides where the deep
windows were placed, and by the dark leathern hangings, richly stamped
with cunning devices in gold, that ornamented the two others. Massive
couches in carved mahogany, with chairs of a similar material and
fashion, all covered by the same rich fabric that composed the curtains,
together with a Turkey carpet, over the shaggy surface of which all the
colors of the rainbow were scattered in bright confusion, united to
relieve the gloomy splendor of the enormous mantel, deep heavy cornices,
and the complicated carvings of the massive woodwork which cumbered the
walls. A brisk fire of wood was burning on the hearth, in compliment to
the willful prejudice of Miss Plowden, who had maintained, in her most
vivacious manner, that sea-coal was "only tolerable for blacksmiths and
Englishmen." In addition to the cheerful blaze from the hearth, two
waxen lights, in candlesticks of massive silver, were lending their aid
to enliven the apartment. One of these was casting its rays brightly
along the confused colors of the carpet on which it stood, flickering
before the active movements of the form that played around it with light
and animated inflections. The posture of this young lady was infantile
in grace, and, with one ignorant of her motives, her employment would
have been obnoxious to the same construction. Divers small square pieces
of silk, strongly contrasted to each other in color, lay on every side
of her, and were changed, as she kneeled on the floor, by her nimble
hands, into as many different combinations as if she was humoring the
fancies of her sex, or consulting the shades of her own dark but rich
complexion in the shop of a mercer. The close satin dress of this young
female served to display her small figure in its true proportions, while
her dancing eyes of jet black shamed the dyes of the Italian
manufacturer by their superior radiance. A few ribbons of pink, disposed
about her person with an air partly studied, and yet carelessly
coquettish, seemed rather to reflect than lend the rich bloom that
mantled around her laughing countenance, leaving to the eye no cause to
regret that she was not fairer.

Another female figure, clad in virgin white, was reclining on the end of
a distant couch. The seclusion in which they lived might have rendered
this female a little careless of her appearance, or, what was more
probable, the comb had been found unequal to its burden; for her
tresses, which rivaled the hue and gloss of the raven, had burst from
their confinement, and, dropping over her shoulders, fell along her
dress in rich profusion, finally resting on the damask of the couch, in
dark folds, like glittering silk. A small hand, which seemed to blush at
its own naked beauties, supported her head, embedded in the volumes of
her hair, like the fairest alabaster set in the deepest ebony. Beneath
the dark profusion of her curls, which, notwithstanding the sweeping
train that fell about her person, covered the summit of her head, lay a
low spotless forehead of dazzling whiteness, that was relieved by two
arches so slightly and truly drawn that they appeared to have been
produced by the nicest touches of art. The fallen lids and long silken
lashes concealed the eyes that rested on the floor, as if their mistress
mused in melancholy. The remainder of the features of this maiden were
of a kind that is most difficult to describe, being neither regular nor
perfect in their several parts, yet harmonizing and composing a whole
that formed an exquisite picture of female delicacy and loveliness.
There might or there might not have been a tinge of slight red in her
cheeks, but it varied with each emotion of her bosom, even as she mused
in quiet, now seeming to steal insidiously over her glowing temples, and
then leaving on her face an almost startling paleness. Her stature, as
she reclined, seemed above the medium height of womanhood, and her
figure was rather delicate than full, though the little foot that rested
on the damask cushion before her displayed a rounded outline that any of
her sex might envy.

"Oh! I'm as expert as if I were signal officer to the lord high admiral
of this realm!" exclaimed the laughing female on the floor, clapping her
hands together in girlish exultation. "I do long, Cecilia, for an
opportunity to exhibit my skill."

While her cousin was speaking, Miss Howard raised her head, with a faint
smile, and as she turned her eyes toward the other, a spectator might
have been disappointed, but could not have been displeased, by the
unexpected change the action produced in the expression of her
countenance.

Instead of the piercing black eyes that the deep color of her tresses
would lead him to expect, he would have beheld two large, mild, blue
orbs, that seemed to float in a liquid so pure as to be nearly invisible
and which were more remarkable for their tenderness and persuasion, than
for the vivid flashes that darted from the quick glances of her
companion.

"The success of your mad excursion to the seaside, my cousin, has
bewildered your brain," returned Cecilia; "but I know not how to conquer
your disease, unless we prescribe salt water for the remedy, as in some
other cases of madness."

"Ah! I am afraid your nostrum would be useless," cried Katherine; "it
has failed to wash out the disorder from the sedate Mr. Richard
Barnstable, who has had the regimen administered to him through many a
hard gale, but who continues as fair a candidate for Bedlam as ever.
Would you think it, Cicely, the crazy one urged me, in the ten minutes'
conversation we held together on the cliffs, to accept of his schooner
as a shower-bath!"

"I can think that your hardihood might encourage him to expect much, but
surely he could not have been serious in such a proposal!"

"Oh! to do the wretch justice, he did say something of a chaplain to
consecrate the measure, but there was boundless impudence in the
thought. I have not, nor shall I forget it, or forgive him for it, these
six-and-twenty years. What a fine time he must have had of it, in his
little Ariel, among the monstrous waves we saw tumbling in upon the
shore to-day, coz! I hope they will wash his impudence out of him! I do
think the man cannot have had a dry thread about him, from sun to sun. I
must believe it as a punishment for his boldness, and, be certain, I
shall tell him of it. I will form half a dozen signals, this instant, to
joke at his moist condition, in very revenge."

Pleased with her own thoughts, and buoyant with the secret hope that Her
adventurous undertaking would be finally crowned with complete success,
the gay girl shook her black locks, in infinite mirth, and tossed the
mimic flags gaily around her person, as she was busied in forming new
combinations, in order to amuse herself with her lover's disastrous
situation. But the features of her cousin clouded with the thoughts that
were excited by her remarks, and she replied, in a tone that bore some
little of the accents of reproach:

"Katherine! Katherine! can you jest when there is so much to apprehend?
Forget you what Alice Dunscombe told us of the gale, this morning? and
that she spoke of two vessels, a ship and a schooner, that had been seen
venturing with fearful temerity within the shoals, only six miles from
the abbey, and that unless God in his gracious providence had been kind
to them, there was but little doubt that their fate would be a sad one?
Can you, that know so well who and what these daring mariners are, be
merry about the self-same winds that caused their danger?"

The thoughtless, laughing girl was recalled to her recollection by this
remonstrance, and every trace of mirth vanished from her countenance,
leaving a momentary death-like paleness crossing her face, as she
clasped her hands before her, and fastened her keen eyes vacantly on the
splendid pieces of silk that now lay unheeded around her. At this
critical moment the door of the room slowly opened, and Colonel Howard
entered the apartment with an air that displayed a droll mixture of
stern indignation, with a chivalric and habitual respect to the sex.

"I solicit your pardon, young ladies, for the interruption," he said; "I
trust, however, that an old man's presence can never be entirely
unexpected In the drawing-room of his wards."

As he bowed, the colonel seated himself on the end of the couch,
opposite to the place where his niece had been reclining, for Miss
Howard had risen at his entrance, and continued standing until her uncle
had comfortably disposed of himself. Throwing a glance which was not
entirely free from self-commendation around the comfortable apartment,
the veteran proceeded, in the same tone as before:

"You are not without the means of making any guest welcome, nor do I see
the necessity of such constant seclusion from the eyes of the world as
you thus rigidly practise."

Cecilia looked timidly at her uncle, with surprise, before she returned
an answer to his remark.

"We certainly owe much to your kind attention, dear sir," she at length
uttered; "but is our retirement altogether voluntary?"

"How can it be otherwise! are you not mistress of this mansion, madam?
In selecting the residence where your and, permit me to add, my
ancestors so long dwelt in credit and honor, I have surely been less
governed by any natural pride that I might have entertained on such a
subject, than by a desire to consult your comfort and happiness.
Everything appears to my aged eyes as if we ought not to be ashamed to
receive our friends within these walls. The cloisters of St. Ruth, Miss
Howard, are not entirely bare, neither are their tenants wholly unworthy
to be seen."

"Open, then, the portals of the abbey, sir, and your niece will endeavor
to do proper credit to the hospitality of its master."

"That was spoken like Harry Howard's daughter, frankly and generously!"
cried the old soldier, insensibly edging himself nearer to his niece.
"If my brother had devoted himself to the camp, instead of the sea,
Cecilia, he would have made one of the bravest and ablest generals in
his majesty's service--poor Harry! he might have been living at this
very day, and at this moment leading the victorious troops of his
sovereign through the revolted colonies in triumph. But he is gone,
Cecilia, and has left you behind him, as his dear representative, to
perpetuate our family and to possess what little has been left to us
from the ravages of the times."

"Surely, dear sir," said Cecilia, taking his hand, which, had
unconsciously approached her person, and pressing it to her lips, "we
have no cause to complain of our lot in respect to fortune, though it
may cause us bitter regret that so few of us are left to enjoy it."

"No, no, no," said Katherine, in a low, hurried voice; "Alice Dunscombe
is and must be wrong; Providence would never abandon brave men to so
cruel a fate!"

"Alice Dunscombe is here to atone for her error, if she has fallen into
one," said a quiet, subdued voice, in which the accents of a provincial
dialect, however, were slightly perceptible, and which, in its low
tones, wanted that silvery clearness that gave so much feminine
sweetness to the words of Miss Howard, and which even rang melodiously
in the ordinarily vivacious strains of her cousin.

The surprise created by these sudden interruptions caused a total
suspension of the discourse. Katherine Plowden, who had continued
kneeling in the attitude before described, arose, and as she looked
about her in momentary confusion, the blood again mantled her face with
the fresh and joyous springs of life. The other speaker advanced
steadily into the middle of the room; and after returning, with studied
civility, the low bow of Colonel Howard, seated herself in silence on
the opposite couch. The manner of her entrance, her reception, and her
attire, sufficiently denoted that the presence of this female was
neither unusual nor unwelcome. She was dressed with marked simplicity,
though with a studied neatness, that more than compensated for the
absence of ornaments. Her age might not have much exceeded thirty, but
there was an adoption of customs in her attire that indicated she was
not unwilling to be thought older. Her fair flaxen hair was closely
confined by a dark bandeau, such as was worn in a nation farther north
by virgins only, over which a few curls strayed, in a manner that showed
the will of their mistress alone restrained their luxuriance. Her light
complexion had lost much of its brilliancy, but enough still remained to
assert its original beauty and clearness. To this description might be
added, fine, mellow, blue eyes; beautifully white, though large teeth; a
regular set of features, and a person that was clad in a dark lead-
colored silk, which fitted her full, but gracefully moulded form with
the closest exactness.

Colonel Howard paused a moment after this lady was seated, and then
turning himself to Katherine with an air that became stiff and
constrained by attempting to seem extremely easy, he said:

"You no sooner summon Miss Alice, but she appears, Miss Plowden--ready
and (I am bold to say, Miss Alice) able to defend herself against all
charges that her worst enemies can allege against her."

"I have no charges to make against Miss Dunscombe," said Katherine,
pettishly, "nor do I wish to have dissensions created between me and my
friends, even by Colonel Howard."

"Colonel Howard will studiously avoid such offences in future," said the
veteran, bowing; and turning stiffly to the others, he continued: "I was
just conversing with my niece as you entered, Miss Alice, on the subject
of her immuring herself like one of the veriest nuns who ever inhabited
these cloisters. I tell her, madam, that neither her years, nor my
fortune, nor, indeed, her own, for the child of Harry Howard was not
left penniless, require that we should live as if the doors of the world
were closed against us, or there was no other entrance to St. Ruth's but
through those antiquated windows. Miss Plowden, I feel it to be my duty
to inquire why those pieces of silk are provided in such an unusual
abundance, and in so extraordinary a shape?"

"To make a gala dress for the ball you are about to give, sir," said
Katherine, with a saucy smile that was only checked by the reproachful
glance of her cousin. "You have taste In a lady's attire, Colonel
Howard; will not this bright yellow form a charming relief to my brown
face, while this white and black relieve one another, and this pink
contrasts so sweetly with black eyes? Will not the whole form a turban
fit for an empress to wear?"

As the arch maiden prattled on in this unmeaning manner, her rapid
fingers entwined the flags in a confused maze, which she threw over her
head in a form not unlike the ornament for which she intimated it was
intended. The veteran was by far too polite to dispute a lady's taste,
and he renewed the dialogue, with his slightly awakened suspicion
completely quieted by her dexterity and artifice. But although it was
not difficult to deceive Colonel Howard in matters of female dress, the
case was very different with Alice Dunscombe, This lady gazed with a
steady eye and reproving countenance on the fantastical turban, until
Katherine threw herself by her side, and endeavored to lead her
attention to other subjects, by her playful motions and whispered
questions.

"I was observing, Miss Alice," continued the colonel, "that although the
times had certainly inflicted some loss on my estate, yet we were not so
much reduced as to be unable to receive our friends in a manner that
would not disgrace the descendants of the ancient possessors of St.
Ruth. Cecilia, here, my brother Harry's daughter, is a young lady that
any uncle might be proud to exhibit, and I would have her, madam, show
your English dames that we rear no unworthy specimens of the parent
stock on the other side of the Atlantic."

"You have only to declare your pleasure, my good uncle," said Miss
Howard, "and it shall be executed."

"Tell us how we can oblige you, sir," continued Katherine, "and if it be
in any manner that will relieve the tedium of this dull residence, I
promise you at least one cheerful assistant to your scheme."

"You speak fair," cried the colonel, "and like two discreet and worthy
girls! Well, then, our first step shall be to send a message to Dillon
and the captain, and invite them to attend your coffee. I see the hour
approaches."

Cecilia made no reply, but looked distressed, and dropped her mild eyes
to the carpet; Miss Plowden took it upon herself to answer:

"Nay, sir, that would be for them to proceed in the matter; as your
proposal was that the first step should be ours, suppose we all adjourn
to your part of the house, and do the honors of the tea-table in your
drawing-room, instead of our own. I understand, sir, that you have had
an apartment fitted up for that purpose in some style; a woman's taste
might aid your designs, however."

"Miss Plowden, I believe I intimated to you some time since," said the
displeased colonel, "that so long as certain suspicious vessels were
known to hover on this coast, I should desire that you and Miss Howard
would confine yourselves to this wing."

"Do not say that we confine ourselves," said Katherine, "but let it be
spoken in plain English, that you confine us here."

"Am I a jailer, madam, that you apply such epithets to my conduct? Miss
Alice must form strange conclusions of our manners, if she receive her
impressions from your very singular remarks. I----"

"All measures adopted from a dread of the ship and the schooner that ran
within the Devil's Grip, yester-eve, may be dispensed with now,"
interrupted Miss Dunscombe, in a melancholy, reflecting tone. "There are
few living who know the dangerous paths that can conduct even the
smallest craft in safety from the land, with daylight and fair winds;
but when darkness and adverse gales oppose them, the chance for safety
lies wholly in God's kindness."

"There is truly much reason to believe they are lost," returned the
veteran, in a voice in which no exultation was apparent.

"They are not lost!" exclaimed Katherine, with startling energy, leaving
her seat, and walking across the room to join Cecilia, with an air that
seemed to elevate her little figure to the height of her cousin. "They
are skilful and they are brave, and what gallant sailors can do will
they do, and successfully; besides, in what behalf would a just
Providence sooner exercise its merciful power, than to protect the
daring children of an oppressed country, while contending against
tyranny and countless wrongs?"

The conciliating disposition of the colonel deserted him, as he
listened. His own black eyes sparkled with a vividness unusual for his
years, and his courtesy barely permitted the lady to conclude, ere he
broke forth:

"What sin, madam, what damning crime, would sooner call down the just
wrath of heaven on the transgressors, than the act of foul rebellion? It
was this crime, madam, that deluged England in blood in the reign of the
first Charles; it is this crime that has dyed more fields red than all
the rest of man's offences united; it has been visited on our race as a
condign punishment, from the days of the deservedly devoted Absalom,
down to the present time; in short, it lost heaven forever to some of
the most glorious of its angels, and there is much reason to believe
that it is the one unpardonable sin named in the holy gospels."

"I know that you have authority for believing it to be the heavy
enormity that you mention, Colonel Howard," said Miss Dunscombe,
anticipating the spirited reply of Katherine, and willing to avert it;
she hesitated an instant, and then drawing a heavy shivering sigh, she
continued, in a voice that grew softer as she spoke: "'tis indeed a
crime of magnitude, and one that throws the common blackslidings of our
lives, speaking by comparison, into the sunshine of his favor. Many
there are who sever the dearest ties of this life, by madly rushing into
its sinful vortex; for I fain think the heart grows hard with the sight
of human calamity, and becomes callous to the miseries its owner
inflicts; especially where we act the wrongs on our own kith and kin,
regardless who or how many that are dear to us suffer by our evil deeds.
It is, besides, Colonel Howard, a dangerous temptation, to one little
practiced in the great world, to find himself suddenly elevated into the
seat of power; and if it does not lead to the commission of great
crimes, it surely prepares the way to it, by hardening the heart."

"I hear you patiently, Miss Alice," said Katherine, dancing her little
foot, in affected coolness; "for you neither know of whom nor to whom
you speak. But Colonel Howard has not that apology. Peace, Cecilia, for
I must speak! Believe them not, dear girl; there is not a wet hair on
their heads. For you, Colonel Howard, who must recollect that the
sister's son of the mothers of both your niece and myself is on board
that frigate, there is an appearance of cruelty in using such language."

"I pity the boy! from my soul I pity him!" exclaimed the veteran, "he is
a child, and has followed the current that is sweeping our unhappy
colonies down the tide of destruction. There are others in that vessel
who have no excuse of ignorance to offer. There is a son of my old
acquaintance, and the bosom friend of my brother Harry, Cecilia's
father, dashing Hugh Griffith, as we called him. The urchins left home
together and were rated on board one of his majesty's vessels on the
same day. Poor Harry lived to carry a broad pennant in the service, and
Hugh died in command of a frigate. This boy, too! He was a nurtured on
board his father's vessel, and learned, from his majesty's discipline,
how to turn his arms against his king. There is something shockingly
unnatural in that circumstance. Miss Alice, 'tis the child inflicting a
blow on the parent. 'Tis such men as these, with Washington at their
heads, who maintain the bold front this rebellion wears."

"There are men, who have never won the servile livery of Britain, sir,
whose names are as fondly cherished in America as any that she boasts
of," said Katherine, proudly; "ay, sir, and those who would gladly
oppose the bravest officers in the British fleet."

"I contend not against your misguided reason," said Colonel Howard,
rising with cool respect. "A young lady who ventures to compare rebels
with gallant gentlemen engaged in their duty to their prince, cannot
escape the imputation of possessing a misguided reason. No man--I speak
not of women, who cannot be supposed so well versed in human nature--but
no man who has reached the time of life that entitles him to be called
by that name, can consort with these disorganizers, who would destroy
everything that is sacred--these levellers, who would pull down the
great, to exalt the little--these jacobins, who--who----"

"Nay, sir, if you are at a loss for opprobrious epithets," said
Katherine, with provoking coolness, "call on Mr. Christopher Dillon for
assistance; he waits your pleasure at the door."

Colonel Howard turned in amazement, forgetting his angry declamations at
this unexpected intelligence, and beheld, in reality, the sombre visage
of his kinsman, who stood holding the door in his hand, apparently as
much surprised at finding himself in the presence of the ladies, as they
themselves could be at his unusual visit.




CHAPTER XI.

  "Prithee, Kate, let's stand aside, and see the end of this controversy."
  _Shakspeare_.


During the warm discussions of the preceding chapter, Miss Howard had
bowed her pale face to the arm of the couch, and sat an unwilling and
distressed listener to the controversy; but now that another, and one
whom she thought an unauthorized, intruder on her privacy was announced,
she asserted the dignity of her sex as proudly, though with something
more of discretion, than her cousin could possibly have done. Rising
from her seat, she inquired:

"To what are we indebted for so unexpected a visit from Mr. Dillon?
Surely he must know that we are prohibited going to the part of the
dwelling where he resides, and I trust Colonel Howard will tell him that
common justice requires we should be permitted to be private."

The gentleman replied, in a manner in which malignant anger was
sufficiently mingled with calculating humility:

"Miss Howard will think better of my intrusion, when she knows that I am
come on business of importance to her uncle."

"Ah! that may alter the case, Kit; but the ladies must have the respect
that is due to their sex. I forgot, somehow, to have myself announced;
but that Borroughcliffe leads me deeper into my Madeira than I have been
accustomed to go, since the time when my poor brother Harry, with his
worthy friend, Hugh Griffith--the devil seize Hugh Griffith, and all his
race--your pardon, Miss Alice--what is your business with me, Mr.
Dillon?"

"I bear a message from Captain Borroughcliffe. You may remember that,
according to your suggestions, the sentinels were to be changed every
night, sir."

"Ay! ay! we practised that in our campaign against Montcalm; 'twas
necessary to avoid the murders of their Indians, who were sure, Miss
Alice, to shoot down a man at his post, if he were placed two nights
running in the same place."

"Well, sir, your prudent precautions have not been thrown away,"
continued Dillon, moving farther into the apartment, as if he felt
himself becoming a more welcome guest as he proceeded; "the consequences
are, that we have already made three prisoners."

"Truly it has been a most politic scheme!" exclaimed Katherine Plowden,
with infinite contempt. "I suppose, as Mr. Christopher Dillon applauds
it so highly, that it has some communion with the law! and that the
redoubtable garrison of St. Ruth are about to reap the high glory of
being most successful thief-takers!"

The sallow face of Dillon actually became livid as he replied, and his
whole frame shook with the rage he vainly endeavored to suppress.

"There may be a closer communion with the law, and its ministers,
perhaps, than Miss Plowden can desire," he said; "for rebellion seldom
finds favor in any Christian code."

"Rebellion!" exclaimed the Colonel; "and what has this detention of
three vagabonds to do with rebellion, Kit? Has the damnable poison found
its way across the Atlantic?--your pardon--Miss Alice--but this is a
subject on which you can feel with me; I know your sentiments on the
allegiance that is due to our anointed sovereign. Speak, Mr. Dillon, are
we surrounded by another set of Demons! if so, we must give ourselves to
the work and rally round our prince; for this island is the main pillar
of his throne."

"I cannot say that there is any appearance at present, of an intention
to rise in this island," said Dillon, with demure gravity; "though the
riots in London warrant any precautionary measures on the part of his
majesty's ministers, even to a suspension of the habeas corpus. But you
have had your suspicions concerning two certain vessels that have been
threatening the coast, for several days past, in a most piratical
manner?"

The little foot of Katherine played rapidly on the splendid carpet, but
she contented herself with bestowing a glance of the most sovereign
contempt on the speaker, as if she disdained any further reply. With the
Colonel, however, this was touching a theme that lay nearest his heart,
and he answered, in a manner worthy of the importance of the subject:

"You speak like a sensible man, and a loyal subject, Mr. Dillon. The
habeas corpus, Miss Alice, was obtained in the reign of King John, along
with Magna Charta, for the security of the throne, by his majesty's
barons; some of my own blood were of the number, which alone would be a
pledge that the dignity of the crown was properly consulted. As to our
piratical countrymen, Christopher, there is much reason to think that
the vengeance of an offended Providence has already reached them. Those
who know the coast well tell me that without a better pilot than an
enemy would be likely to procure, it would be impossible for any vessel
to escape the shoals among which they entered, on a dark night, and with
an adverse gale; the morning has arrived, and they are not to be seen!"

"But be they friends or be they enemies, sir," continued Dillon,
respectfully, "there is much reason to think that we have now in the
abbey those who can tell us something of their true character; for the
men we have detained carry with them the appearance of having just
landed, and wear not only the dress but the air of seamen."

"Of seamen!" echoed Katherine, a deadly paleness chasing from her cheeks
the bloom which indignation had heightened.

"Of seamen, Miss Plowden," repeated Dillon, with malignant satisfaction,
but concealing it under an air of submissive respect.

"I thank you, sir, for so gentle a term," replied the young lady,
recollecting herself, and recovering her presence of mind in the same
instant; "the imagination of Mr. Dillon is so apt to conjure the worst,
that he is entitled to our praise for so far humoring our weakness, as
not to alarm us with the apprehensions of their being pirates."

"Nay, madam, they may yet deserve that name," returned the other,
coolly; "but my education has instructed me to hear the testimony before
I pronounce sentence."

"Ah! that the boy has found in his Coke upon Littleton," cried the
Colonel; "the law is a salutary corrective to human infirmities, Miss
Alice; and among other things, it teaches patience to a hasty
temperament. But for this cursed, unnatural rebellion, madam, the young
man would at this moment have been diffusing its blessings from a
judicial chair in one of the colonies--ay! and I pledge myself, to all
alike, black and white, red and yellow, with such proper distinctions as
nature has made between the officer and the private. Keep a good heart,
kinsman; we shall yet find a time! the royal arms have many hands and
things look better at the last advices. But come, we will proceed to the
guard-room and put these stragglers to the question; runaways, I'll
venture to predict, from one of his majesty's cruisers, or perhaps
honest subjects engaged in supplying the service with men. Come, Kit,
come, let us go, and----"

"Are we then to lose the company of Colonel Howard so soon?" said
Katherine, advancing to her guardian, with an air of blandishment and
pleasantry. "I know that he too soon forgets the hasty language of our
little disputes, to part in anger, if, indeed, he will even quit us till
he has tasted of our coffee."

The veteran turned to the speaker of this unexpected address, and
listened with profound attention. When she had done, he replied, with a
good deal of softness in his tones:

"Ah! provoking one! you know me too well, to doubt my forgiveness; but
duty must be attended to, though even a young lady's smiles tempt me to
remain. Yes, yes, child, you, too, are the daughter of a very brave and
worthy seaman; but you carry your attachment to that profession too far,
Miss Plowden--you do, indeed you do."

Katherine might have faintly blushed; but the slight smile, which
mingled with the expression of her shame, gave to her countenance a look
of additional archness, and she laid her hand lightly on the sleeve of
her guardian, to detain him, as she replied:

"Yet why leave us, Colonel Howard? It is long since we have seen you in
the cloisters, and you know you come as a father; tarry, and you may yet
add confessor to the title."

"I know thy sins already, girl," said the worthy colonel, unconsciously
yielding to her gentle efforts to lead him back to his seat; "they are,
deadly rebellion in your heart to your prince, a most inveterate
propensity to salt water, and a great disrespect to the advice and
wishes of an old fellow whom your father's will and the laws of the
realm have made the guardian of your person and fortune."

"Nay, say not the last, dear sir," cried Katherine; "for there is not a
syllable you have ever said to me on that foolish subject, that I have
forgotten. Will you resume your seat again? Cecilia, Colonel Howard
consents to take his coffee with us."

"But you forget the three men, honest Kit there, and our respectable
guest, Captain Borroughcliffe."

"Let honest Kit stay there, if he please; you may send a request to
Captain Borroughcliffe to join our party; I have a woman's curiosity to
see the soldier; and as for the three men--" she paused, and affected to
muse a moment, when she continued, as if struck by an obvious thought--
"yes, and the men can be brought in and examined here; who knows but
they may have been wrecked in the gale, and need our pity and
assistance, rather than deserve your suspicions."

"There is a solemn warning in Miss Plowden's conjecture, that should
come home to the breasts of all who live on this wild coast," said Alice
Dunscombe; "I have known many a sad wreck among the hidden shoals, and
when the wind has blown but a gentle gale, compared to last night's
tempest. The wars, and the uncertainties of the times, together with
man's own wicked passions, have made great havoc with those who knew
well the windings of the channels among the 'Ripples.' Some there were
who could pass, as I have often heard, within a fearful distance of the
'Devil's Grip,' the darkest night that ever shadowed England; but all
are now gone of that daring set, either by the hand of death, or, what
is even as mournful, by unnatural banishment from the land of their
fathers."

"This war has then probably drawn off most of them, for your
recollections must be quite recent, Miss Alice," said the veteran; "as
many of them were engaged in the business of robbing his majesty's
revenue, the country is in some measure requited for the former
depredations, by their present services, and at the same time it is
happily rid of their presence. Ah! madam, ours is a glorious
constitution, where things are so nicely balanced, that, as in the
physical organization of a healthy, vigorous man, the baser parts are
purified in the course of things, by its own wholesome struggles."

The pale features of Alice Dunscombe became slightly tinged with red, as
the colonel proceeded, nor did the faint glow entirely leave her pallid
face, until she had said:

"There might have been some who knew not how to respect the laws of the
land, for such are never wanting: but there were others, who, however
guilty they might be in many respects, need not charge themselves with
that mean crime, and yet who could find the passages that lie hid from
common eyes, beneath the rude waves, as well as you could find the way
through the halls and galleries of the Abbey, with a noonday sun shining
upon its vanes and high chimneys."

"Is it your pleasure, Colonel Howard, that we examine the three men, and
ascertain whether they belong to the number of these gifted pilots?"
said Christopher Dillon, who was growing uneasy at his awkward
situation, and who hardly deemed it necessary to conceal the look of
contempt which he cast at the mild Alice, while he spoke; "perhaps we
may gather information enough from them, to draw a chart of the coast
that may gain us credit with my lords of the Admiralty."

This unprovoked attack on their unresisting and unoffending guest
brought the rich blood to the very temples of Miss Howard, who rose, and
addressed herself to her kinsman, with a manner that could not easily be
mistaken any more than it could be condemned:

"If Mr. Dillon will comply with the wishes of Colonel Howard, as my
cousin has expressed them, we shall not, at least, have to accuse
ourselves of unnecessarily detaining men who probably are more
unfortunate than guilty."

When she concluded, Cecilia walked across the apartment and took a seat
by the side of Alice Dunscombe, with whom she began to converse, in a
low, soothing tone of voice. Mr. Dillon bowed with a deprecating
humility, and having ascertained that Colonel Howard chose to give an
audience, where he sat, to the prisoners, he withdrew to execute his
mission, secretly exulting at any change that promised to lead to a
renewal of an intercourse that might terminate more to his advantage,
than the lofty beauty whose favor he courted was, at present, disposed
to concede.

"Christopher is a worthy, serviceable, good fellow," said the colonel,
when the door closed, "and I hope to live yet to see him clad in ermine.
I would not be understood literally, but figuratively; for furs would
but ill comport with the climate of the Carolinas. I trust I am to be
consulted by his majesty's ministers when the new appointments shall be
made for the subdued colonies, and he may safely rely on my good word
being spoken in his favor. Would he not make an excellent and
independent ornament of the bench, Miss Plowden?"

Katherine compressed her lips a little as she replied.

"I must profit by his own discreet rules, and see testimony to that
effect, before I decide, sir. But listen!" The young lady's color
changed rapidly, and her eyes became fixed in a sort of feverish gaze on
the door. "He has at least been active; I hear the heavy tread of men
already approaching."

"Ah! it is he certainly; justice ought always to be prompt as well as
certain, to make it perfect; like a drumhead court-martial, which, by
the way, is as summary a sort of government as heart could wish to live
under. If his majesty's ministers could be persuaded to introduce into
the revolted colonies----"

"Listen!" interrupted Katherine, in a voice which bespoke her deep
anxiety; "they draw near!"

The sound of footsteps was in fact now so audible as to induce the
colonel to suspend the delivery of his plan for governing the recovered
provinces. The long, low gallery, which was paved with a stone flagging,
soon brought the footsteps of the approaching party more distinctly to
their ears, and presently a low tap at the door announced their arrival.
Colonel Howard arose, with the air of one who was to sustain the
principal character in the ensuing interview, and bade them enter.
Cecilia and Alice Dunscombe merely cast careless looks at the opening
door, indifferent to the scene; but the quick eye of Katherine embraced,
at a glance, every figure in the group. Drawing a long, quivering
breath, she fell back on the couch, and her eyes again lighted with
their playful expression, as she hummed a low rapid air, with a voice in
which even the suppressed tones were liquid melody.

Dillon entered, preceding the soldier, whose gait had become more
steady, and in whose rigid eye a thoughtful expression had taken the
place of its former vacant gaze. In short, something had manifestly
restored to him a more complete command of his mental powers, although
he might not have been absolutely sobered. The rest of the party
continued in the gallery, while Mr. Dillon presented the renovated
captain to the colonel, when the latter did him the same kind office
with the ladies.

"Miss Plowden," said the veteran, for she offered first in the circle,
"this is my friend, Captain Borroughcliffe: he has long been ambitious
of this honor, and I have no doubt his reception will be such as to
leave him no cause to repent he has been at last successful."

Katherine smiled, and answered with ambiguous emphasis:

"I know not how to thank him sufficiently for the care he has bestowed
on our poor persons."

The soldier looked steadily at her for a moment, with an eye that seemed
to threaten a retaliation in kind, ere he replied:

"One of those smiles, madam, would be an ample compensation for services
that are more real than such as exist only in intention."

Katherine bowed with more complacency than she usually bestowed on those
who wore the British uniform; and they proceeded to the next.

"This is Miss Alice Dunscombe, Captain Borroughcliffe, daughter of a
very worthy clergyman who was formerly the curate of this parish, and a
lady who does us the pleasure of giving us a good deal of her society,
though far less than we all wish for."

The captain returned the civil inclination of Alice, and the colonel
proceeded:

"Miss Howard, allow me to present Captain Borroughcliffe, a gentleman
who, having volunteered to defend St. Ruth in these critical times,
merits all the favor of its mistress."

Cecilia gracefully rose, and received her guest with sweet complacency.
The soldier made no reply to the customary compliments that she uttered,
but stood an instant gazing at her speaking countenance, and then,
laying his hand involuntarily on his breast, bowed nearly to his sword-
hilt.

These formalities duly observed, the colonel declared his readiness to
receive the prisoners. As the door was opened by Dillon, Katherine cast
a cool and steady look at the strangers, and beheld the light glancing
along the arms of the soldiers who guarded them. But the seamen entered
alone; while the rattling of arms, and the heavy dash of the muskets on
the stone pavement, announced that it was thought prudent to retain a
force at hand, to watch these secret intruders on the grounds of the
abbey.




CHAPTER XII.

 "Food for powder; they'll fill a pit as well as better."
_Falstaff_.


The three men who now entered the apartment appeared to be nothing
daunted by the presence into which they were ushered, though clad in the
coarse and weather-beaten vestments of seamen who had been exposed to
recent and severe duty. They silently obeyed the direction of the
soldier's finger, and took their stations in a distant corner of the
room, like men who knew the deference due to rank, at the same time that
the habits of their lives had long accustomed them to encounter the
vicissitudes of the world. With this slight preparation Colonel Howard
began the business of examination.

"I trust ye are all good and loyal subjects," the veteran commenced,
with a considerate respect for innocence, "but the times are such that
even the most worthy characters become liable to suspicion; and,
consequently, if our apprehensions should prove erroneous, you must
overlook the mistake, and attribute it to the awful condition into which
rebellion has plunged this empire. We have much reason to fear that some
project is about to be undertaken on the coast by the enemy, who has
appeared, we know, with a frigate and schooner; and the audacity of the
rebels is only equaled by their shameless and wicked disrespect for the
rights of the sovereign."

While Colonel Howard was uttering his apologetic preamble, the prisoners
fastened their eyes on him with much interest; but when he alluded to
the apprehended attack, the gaze of two of them became more keenly
attentive, and, before he concluded, they exchanged furtive glances of
deep meaning. No reply was made, however, and after a short pause, as if
to allow time for his words to make a proper impression, the veteran
continued:

"We have no evidence, I understand, that you are in the smallest degree
connected with the enemies of this country; but as you have been found
out of the king's highway, or, rather, on a by-path, which I must
confess is frequently used by the people of the neighborhood, but which
is nevertheless nothing but a by-path, it becomes no more than what
self-preservation requires of us, to ask you a few such questions as I
trust will be satisfactorily answered. To use your own nautical phrases,
'From whence came ye, pray?' and 'whither are ye bound?'"

A low, deep voice replied:

"From Sunderland, last, and bound, overland, to Whitehaven."

This simple and direct answer was hardly given, before the attention of
the listeners was called to Alice Dunscombe, who uttered a faint shriek,
and rose from her seat involuntarily, while her eyes seemed to roll
fearfully, and perhaps a little wildly, round the room.

"Are you ill, Miss Alice?" said the sweet, soothing tones of Cecilia
Howard; "you are, indeed you are: lean on me, that I may lead you to
your apartment."

"Did you hear it, or was it only fancy?" she answered, her cheek
blanched to the whiteness of death, and her whole frame shuddering as if
in convulsions; "say, did you hear it, too?"

"I have heard nothing but the voice of my uncle, who is standing near
you, anxious, as we all are, for your recovery from this dreadful
agitation."

Alice still gazed wildly from face to face. Her eye did not rest
satisfied with dwelling on those who surrounded her, but surveyed, with
a sort of frantic eagerness, the figures and appearance of the three
men, who stood in humble patience, the silent and unmoved witnesses of
this extraordinary scene. At length she veiled her eyes with both her
hands, as if to shut out some horrid vision, and then removing them, she
smiled languidly, as she signed for Cecilia to assist her from the room.
To the polite and assiduous offers of the gentlemen, she returned no
other thanks than those conveyed in her looks and gestures; but when the
sentinels who paced the gallery were passed, and the ladies were alone,
she breathed a long, shivering sigh, and found an utterance.

"'Twas like a voice from the silent grave!" she said, "but it could be
no more than mockery. No, no, 'tis a just punishment for letting the
image of the creature fill the place that should be occupied only with
the Creator. Ah! Miss Howard, Miss Plowden, ye are both young--in the
pride of your beauty and loveliness--but little do ye know, and less do
ye dread, the temptations and errors of a sinful world."

"Her thoughts wander!" whispered Katherine, with anxious tenderness,
"some awful calamity has affected her intellect!"

"Yes, it must be; my sinful thoughts have wandered, and conjured sounds
that it would have been dreadful to hear in truth, and within these
walls," said Alice, more composedly, smiling with a ghastly expression,
as she gazed on the two beautiful, solicitous maidens who supported her
yielding person. "But the moment of weakness is passed, and I am better;
aid me to my room, and return, that you may not interrupt the reviving
harmony between yourselves and Colonel Howard. I am now better--nay, I
am quite restored."

"Say not so, dear Miss Alice," returned Cecilia; "your face denies what
your kindness to us induces you to utter; ill, very ill, you are, nor
shall even your own commands induce me to leave you."

"Remain, then," said Miss Dunscombe, bestowing a look of grateful
affection on her lovely supporter; "and while our Katherine returns to
the drawing-room, to give the gentlemen their coffee, you shall continue
with me, as my gentle nurse."

By this time they had gained the apartment, and Katherine, after
assisting her cousin to place Alice on her bed, returned to do the
honors of the drawing-room.

Colonel Howard ceased his examination of the prisoners, at her entrance,
to inquire, with courtly solicitude, after the invalid; and, when his
questions were answered, he again proceeded, as follows:

"This is what the lads would call plain sailing, Borroughcliffe: they
are out of employment in Sunderland, and have acquaintances and
relatives in Whitehaven, to whom they are going for assistance and
labor. All very probable, and perfectly harmless."

"Nothing more so, my respectable host," returned the jocund soldier;
"but it seemeth a grievous misfortune that a trio of such flesh and
blood should need work wherewithal to exercise their thews and sinews,
while so many of the vessels of his majesty's fleet navigate the ocean
in quest of the enemies of old England."

"There is truth in that; much truth in your remark," cried the colonel.
"What say you, my lads, will you fight the Frenchmen and the Don----ay!
and even my own rebellious and infatuated countrymen? Nay, by heaven, it
is not a trifle that shall prevent his majesty from possessing the
services of three such heroes. Here are five guineas apiece for you the
moment that you put foot on board the Alacrity cutter; and that can
easily be done, as she lies at anchor this very night, only two short
leagues to the south of this, in a small port, where she is riding out
the gale as snugly as if she were in a corner of this room."

One of the men affected to gaze at the money with longing eyes, while he
asked, as if weighing the terms of the engagement:

"Whether the Alacrity was called a good sea-boat, and was thought to
give a comfortable berth to her crew?"

"Comfortable!" echoed Borroughcliffe; "for that matter, she is called
the bravest cutter in the navy. You have seen much of the world, I dare
say; did you ever see such a place as the marine arsenal at Carthagena,
in old Spain?"

"Indeed I have, sir," returned the seaman, in a cool, collected tone.

"Ah! you have! well, did you ever meet with a house in Paris that they
call the Tuileries? because it's a dog-kennel to the Alacrity."

"I have even fallen in with the place you mention, sir," returned the
sailor; "and must own the berth quite good enough for such as I am, if
it tallies with your description."

"The deuce take these blue-jackets," muttered Borroughcliffe, addressing
himself unconsciously to Miss Plowden, near whom he happened to be at
the time; "they run their tarry countenances into all the corners of the
earth, and abridge a man most lamentably in his comparisons. Now, who
the devil would have thought that fellow had ever put his sea-green eyes
on the palace of King Louis?"

Katherine heeded not his speech, but sat eying the prisoners with a
confused and wavering expression of countenance, while Colonel Howard
renewed the discourse, by exclaiming:

"Come, come, Borroughcliffe, let us give the lads no tales for a
recruit, but good, plain, honest English--God bless the language, and
the land for which it was first made, too! There is no necessity to tell
these men, if they are, what they seem to be, practical seamen, that a
cutter of ten guns contains all the room and accommodation of a palace."

"Do you allow nothing for English oak and English comfort, mine host?"
said the immovable captain; "do you think, good sir, that I measure
fitness and propriety by square and compass, as if I were planning
Solomon's temple anew? All I mean to say is, that the Alacrity is a
vessel of singular compactness and magical arrangement of room. Like the
tent of that handsome brother of the fairy, in the Arabian Nights, she
is big or she is little, as occasion needeth; and now, hang me, if I
don't think I have uttered more in her favor than her commander would
say to help me to a recruit, though no lad in the three kingdoms should
appear willing to try how a scarlet coat would suit his boorish figure."

"That time has not yet arrived, and God forbid that it ever should,
while the monarch needs a soldier in the field to protect his rights.
But what say ye, my men? you have heard the recommendation that Captain
Borroughcliffe has given of the Alacrity, which is altogether true--
after making some allowances for language. Will ye serve? shall I order
you a cheering glass a man, and lay by the gold, till I hear from the
cutter that you are enrolled under the banners of the best of kings?"

Katherine Plowden, who hardly seemed to breathe, so close and intent was
the interest with which she regarded the seamen, fancied she observed
lurking smiles on their faces; but if her conjectures were true, their
disposition to be merry went no further, and the one who had spoken
hitherto replied, in the same calm manner as before:

"You will excuse us if we decline shipping in the cutter, sir; we are
used to distant voyages and large vessels, whereas the Alacrity is kept
at coast duty, and is not of a size to lay herself alongside of a Don or
a Frenchman with a double row of teeth."

"If you prefer that sort of sport, you must to the right about for
Yarmouth; there you will find ships that will meet anything that swims,"
said the colonel.

"Perhaps the gentlemen would prefer abandoning the cares and dangers of
the ocean for a life of ease and gayety," said the captain. "The hand
that has long dallied with a marlinspike may be easily made to feel a
trigger, as gracefully as a lady touches the keys of her piano. In
short, there is and there is not a great resemblance between the life of
a sailor and that of a soldier. There are no gales of wind, nor short
allowances, nor reefing topsails, nor shipwrecks, among soldiers; and,
at the same time, there is just as much, or even more, grog-drinking,
jollifying, care-killing fun around a canteen and an open knapsack, than
there is on the end of a mess-chest, with a full can and a Saturday-
night's breeze. I have crossed the ocean several times, and I must own
that a ship, in good weather, is very much the same as a camp or
comfortable barracks; mind, I say only in very good weather."

"We have no doubt that all you say is true, sir," observed the spokesman
of the three; "but what to you may seem a hardship, to us is pleasure.
We have faced too many a gale to mind a capful of wind, and should think
ourselves always in the calm latitudes in one of your barracks, where
there is nothing to do but to eat our grub and to march a little fore
and aft a small piece of green earth. We hardly know one end of a musket
from the other."

"No!" said Borroughcliffe, musing; and then advancing with a quick step
toward them, he cried, in a spirited manner: "Attention! right! dress!"

The speaker, and the seaman next him, gazed at the captain in silent
wonder; but the third individual of the party, who had drawn himself a
little aside, as if willing to be unnoticed, or perhaps pondering on his
condition, involuntarily started at this unexpected order, and erecting
himself, threw his head to the right as promptly as if he had been on a
parade-ground.

"Oho! ye are apt scholars, gentlemen, and ye can learn, I see,"
continued Borroughcliffe. "I feel it to be proper that I detain these
men till to-morrow morning, Colonel Howard; and yet I would give them
better quarters than the hard benches of the guard-room."

"Act your pleasure. Captain Borroughcliffe," returned the host, "so you
do but your duty to our royal master. They shall not want for cheer, and
they can have a room over the servants' offices in the south side of the
abbey."

"Three rooms, my colonel, three rooms must be provided, though I give up
my own."

"There are several-small empty apartments there, where blankets might be
taken, and the men placed for safe-keeping, if you deem it necessary;
though, to me, they seem like good, loyal tars, whose greatest glory it
would be to serve their prince, and whose chief pleasure would consist
in getting alongside of a Don or a Monsieur."

"We shall discuss these matters anon," said Borroughcliffe, dryly. "I
see Miss Plowden begins to look grave at our abusing her patience so
long, and I know that cold coffee is, like withered love, but a
tasteless sort of a beverage. Come, gentlemen, _en avant!_ you have
seen the Tuileries, and must have heard a little French. Mr. Christopher
Dillon, know you where these three small apartments are 'situate, lying,
and being,' as your parchments read?"

"I do, sir," said the complying lawyer, "and shall take much pleasure in
guiding you to them. I think your decision that of a prudent and
sagacious officer, and much doubt whether Durham Castle, or some other
fortress, will be thought too big to hold them, ere long."

As this speech was uttered while the men were passing from the room, its
effect on them was unnoticed; but Katherine Plowden, who was left for a
few moments by herself, sat and pondered over what she had seen and
heard, with a thoughtfulness of manner that was not usual to her gay and
buoyant spirits. The sounds of the retiring footsteps, however,
gradually grew fainter, and the return of her guardian alone recalled
the recollection of the young lady to the duties of her situation.

While engaged in the little offices of the tea-table, Katherine threw
many furtive glances at the veteran; but, although he seemed to be
musing, there was nothing austere or suspicious in his frank, open
countenance, "There is much useless trouble taken with these wandering
seamen, sir," said Katherine, at length; "it seems to be the particular
province of Mr. Christopher Dillon to make all that come in contact with
him excessively uncomfortable."

"And what has Kit to do with the detention of the men?"

"What! why, has he not undertaken to stand godfather to their prisons?--
by a woman's patience, I think, Colonel Howard, this business will gain
a pretty addition to the names of St. Ruth. It is already called a
house, an abbey, a place, and by some a castle; let Mr. Dillon have his
way for a month, and it will add jail to the number."

"Kit is not so happy as to possess the favor of Miss Plowden; but still
Kit is a worthy fellow, and a good fellow, and a sensible fellow; ay!
and what is of more value than all these put together, Miss Katherine,
Mr. Christopher Dillon is a faithful and loyal subject to his prince.
His mother was my cousin-german, madam, and I cannot say how soon I may
call him my nephew. The Dillons are of good Irish extraction, and I
believe that even Miss Plowden will admit that the Howards have some
pretensions to a name."

"Ah! it is those very things called names that I most allude to," said
Katherine, quickly, "But an hour since you were indignant, my dear
guardian, because you suspected that I insinuated you ought to write
jailer behind the name of Howard, and even now you submit to have the
office palmed upon you."

"You forget, Miss Katherine Plowden, that it is the pleasure of one of
his majesty's officers to detain these men."

"But I thought that the glorious British constitution, which you so
often mention," interrupted the young lady, spiritedly, "gives liberty
to all who touch these blessed shores; you know, sir, that out of twenty
blacks that you brought with you, how few remain; the rest having fled
on the wings of the spirit of British liberty!"

This was touching a festering sore in the colonel's feelings, and his
provoking ward well knew the effects her observation was likely to
produce. Her guardian did not break forth in a violent burst of rage, or
furnish those manifestations of his ire that he was wont to do on less
important subjects; but he arose, with all his dignity concentred in a
look, and, after making a violent effort to restrain his feelings within
the bounds necessary to preserve the decorum of his exit, he ventured a
reply:

"That the British constitution is glorious, madam, is most true. That
this island is the sole refuge where liberty has been able to find a
home, is also true. The tyranny and oppression of the Congress, which
are grinding down the colonies to the powder of desolation and poverty,
are not worthy the sacred name. Rebellion pollutes all that it touches,
madam. Although it often commences under the sanction of holy liberty,
it ever terminates in despotism. The annals of the world, from the time
of the Greeks and Romans down to the present day, abundantly prove it.
There was that Julius Caesar--he was one of your people's men, and he
ended a tyrant. Oliver Cromwell was another--a rebel, a demagogue, and a
tyrant. The gradations, madam, are as inevitable as from childhood to
youth, and from youth to age. As for the little affair that you have
been pleased to mention, of the--of the--of my private concerns, I can
only say that the affairs of nations are not to be judged of by domestic
incidents, any more than domestic occurrences are to be judged of by
national politics." The colonel, like many a better logician, mistook
his antithesis for argument, and paused a moment to admire his own
eloquence; but the current of his thoughts, which always flowed in
torrents on this subject, swept him along in its course, and he
continued: "Yes, madam, here, and here alone, is true liberty to be
found. With this solemn asseveration, which is not lightly made, but
which is the result of sixty years' experience, I leave you. Miss
Plowden; let it be a subject of deep reflection with you, for I too well
understand your treacherous feelings not to know that your political
errors encourage your personal foibles; reflect, for your own sake, if
you love not only your own happiness, but your respectability and
standing in the world. As for the black hounds that you spoke of, they
are a set of rebellious, mutinous, ungrateful rascals; and if ever I
meet one of the damned----"

The colonel had so far controlled his feelings, as to leave the presence
of the lady before he broke out into the bitter invectives we have
recorded, and Katherine stood a minute, pressing her forefinger on her
lips, listening to his voice as it grumbled along the gallery, until the
sounds were finally excluded by the closing of a distant door. The
willful girl then shook her dark locks, and a smile of arch mischief
blended with an expression of regret in her countenance, as she spoke to
herself, while with hurried hands she threw her tea equipage aside in a
confused pile:

"It was perhaps a cruel experiment, but it has succeeded. Though
prisoners ourselves, we are at least left free for the remainder of this
night. These mysterious sailors must be examined more closely. If the
proud eye of Edward Griffith was not glaring under the black wig of one
of them, I am no judge of features; and where has Master Barnstable
concealed his charming visage? for neither of the others could be he.
But now for Cecilia."

Her light form glided from the room, while she was yet speaking; and
flitting along the dimly lighted passages, it disappeared in one of
those turnings that led to the more secret apartments of the abbey.




CHAPTER XIII.

  "How! Lucia, wouldst them have me sink away
  In pleasing dreams, and lose myself in love?"
  _Cato_.


The reader must not imagine that the world stood still during the
occurrence of the scenes we have related. By the time the three seamen
were placed in as many different rooms, and a sentinel was stationed in
the gallery common to them all, in such a manner as to keep an eye on
his whole charge at once, the hour had run deep into the night. Captain
Borroughcliffe obeyed a summons from the colonel, who made him an
evasive apology for the change in their evening's amusement, and
challenged his guest to a renewal of the attack on the Madeira. This was
too grateful a theme to be lightly discussed by the captain; and the
abbey clock had given forth as many of its mournful remonstrances as the
division of the hours would permit, before they separated. In the mean
time, Mr. Dillon became invisible; though a servant, when questioned by
the host on the subject, announced that "he believed Mr. Christopher had
chosen to ride over to----, to be in readiness to join the hunt, on the
morning, with the dawn." While the gentlemen were thus indulging
themselves in the dining-parlor, and laughing over the tales of other
times and hard campaigns, two very different scenes occurred in other
parts of the building.

When the quiet of the abbey was only interrupted by the howling of the
wind, or by the loud and prolonged laughs which echoed through the
passages from the joyous pair, who were thus comfortably established by
the side of the bottle, a door was gently opened on one of the galleries
of the "cloisters," and Katherine Plowden issued from it, wrapped in a
close mantle, and holding in her hand a chamber-lamp, which threw its
dim light faintly along the gloomy walls in front, leaving all behind
her obscured in darkness. She was, however, soon followed by two other
female figures, clad in the same manner, and provided with similar
lights. When all were in the gallery, Katherine drew the door softly to,
and proceeded in front to lead the way.

"Hist!" said the low, tremulous voice of Cecilia, "they are yet up in
the other parts of the house; and if it be as you suspect, our visit
would betray them, and prove the means of their certain destruction."

"Is the laugh of Colonel Howard in his cups so singular and unknown to
your ear, Cecilia, that you know it not?" said Katherine with a little
spirit; "or do you forget that on such occasions he seldom leaves
himself ears to hear, or eyes to see with? But follow me; it is as I
suspect--it must be as I suspect; and unless we do something to rescue
them, they are lost, unless they have laid a deeper scheme than is
apparent."

"It is a dangerous road ye both journey," added the placid tones of
Alice Dunscombe; "but ye are young, and ye are credulous."

"If you disapprove of our visit," said Cecilia, "it cannot be right, and
we had better return."

"No, no: I have said nought to disapprove of your present errand. If God
has put the lives of those in your custody whom ye have taught
yourselves to look up to with love and reverence, such as woman is bound
to yield to one man, he has done it for no idle purpose. Lead us to
their doors, Katherine; let us relieve our doubts, at least."

The ardent girl did not wait for a second bidding, but she led them,
with light and quick steps, along the gallery, until they reached its
termination, where they descended to the basement floor by a flight of
narrow steps; and carefully opening a small door, emerged into the open
air. They now stood on a small plat of grass, which lay between the
building and the ornamental garden, across which they moved rapidly,
concealing their lights, and bending their shrinking forms before the
shivering blasts that poured their fury upon them from the ocean. They
soon reached a large but rough addition to the buildings, that concealed
its plain architecture behind the more labored and highly finished parts
of the edifice, into which they entered through a massive door that
stood ajar, as if to admit them.

"Chloe has been true to my orders," whispered Katherine, as they passed
out of the chilling air; "now, if all the servants are asleep, our
chance to escape unnoticed amounts to certainty."

It became necessary to go through the servants' hall, which they
effected unobserved, as it had but one occupant, an aged black man, who,
being posted with his ear within two feet of a bell, in this attitude
had committed himself to a deep sleep. Gliding through this hall, they
entered divers long and intricate passages, all of which seemed as
familiar to Katherine as they were unknown to her companions, until they
reached another flight of steps, which they ascended. They were now near
their goal, and stopped to examine whether any or what difficulties were
likely to be opposed to their further progress.

"Now, indeed, our case seems hopeless," whispered Katherine, as they
stood, concealed by the darkness, in one end of an extremely long,
narrow passage; "here is the sentinel in the building, instead of being,
as I had supposed, under the windows; what is to be done now?"

"Let us return," said Cecilia, in the same manner; "my influence with my
uncle is great, even though he seems unkind to us at times. In the
morning I will use it to persuade him to free them, on receiving their
promise to abandon all such attempts in future."

"In the morning it will be too late," returned Katherine; "I saw that
demon, Kit Dillon, mount his horse, under the pretence of riding to the
great hunt of to-morrow, but I know his malicious eye too well to be
deceived in his errand. He is silent that he may be sure; and if to-
morrow comes, and finds Griffith within these walls, he will be
condemned to a scaffold."

"Say no more," said Alice Dunscombe, with singular emotion; "some lucky
circumstance may aid us with this sentinel."

As she spoke, she advanced: they had not proceeded far, before the stern
voice of the soldier challenged the party.

"'Tis no time to hesitate," whispered Katherine: "we are the ladies of
the abbey, looking to our domestic affairs," she continued aloud, "and
think it a little remarkable that we are to encounter armed men, while
going through our own dwelling."

The soldier respectfully presented his musket, and replied:

"My orders are to guard the doors of these three rooms, ladies; we have
prisoners in them, and as for anything else, my duty will be to serve
you all in my power."

"Prisoners!" exclaimed Katherine, in affected surprise; "does Captain
Borroughcliffe make St. Ruth's Abbey a jail! Of what offences are the
poor men guilty?"

"I know not, my lady; but, as they are sailors, I suppose they have run
from his majesty's service."

"This is singular, truly! and why are they not sent to the county
prison?"

"This must be examined into," said Cecilia, dropping the mantle from
before her face. "As mistress of this house, I claim a right to know
whom its walls contain; you will oblige me by opening the doors, for I
see you have the keys suspended from your belt."

The sentinel hesitated. He was greatly awed by the presence and beauty
of the speakers, but a still voice reminded him of his duty. A lucky
thought, however, interposed to relieve him from his dilemma, and at the
same time to comply with the request, or rather order, of the lady. As
he handed her the keys, he said:

"Here they are, my lady; my orders are to keep the prisoners in, not to
keep any one out. When you are done with them, you will please to return
them to me, if it be only to save a poor fellow's eye; for unless the
door is kept locked, I shall not dare to look about me for a moment."

Cecilia promised to return the keys, and she had applied one of them to
a lock with a trembling hand, when Alice Dunscombe arrested her arm, and
addressed the soldier.

"Say you there are three?--are they men in years?"

"No, my lady, all good serviceable lads, who couldn't do better than to
serve his majesty, or, as it may prove, worse than to run from their
colors."

"But are their years and appearance similar? I ask; for I have a friend
who has been guilty of some boyish tricks, and has tried the seas, I
hear, among other foolish hazards."

"There is no boy here. In the far room on the left is a smart, soldier-
looking chap, of about thirty, who the captain thinks has carried a
musket before now; on him I am charged to keep a particular eye. Next to
him is as pretty a looking youth as eyes could wish to see, and it makes
one feel mournful to think what he must come to, if he has really
deserted his ship. In the room near you, is a smaller, quiet little
body, who might make a better preacher than a sailor, or a soldier
either, he has such a gentle way with him."

Alice covered her eyes with her hand a moment, and then recovering
herself, proceeded:

"Gentleness may do more with the unfortunate men than fear; here is a
guinea; withdraw to the far end of the passage, where you can watch them
as well as here, while we enter, and endeavor to make them confess who
and what they really are."

The soldier took the money, and after looking about him in a little
uncertainty, he at length complied, as it was obviously true they could
only escape by passing him, near the flight of steps. When he was beyond
hearing, Alice Dunscombe turned to her companions, and a slight glow
appeared in feverish spots on her cheeks, as she addressed them:

"It would be idle to attempt to hide from you, that I expect to meet the
individual whose voice I must have heard in reality to-night, instead of
only imaginary sounds, as I vainly, if not wickedly, supposed. I have
many reasons for changing my opinion, the chief of which is, that he is
leagued with the rebellious Americans in this unnatural war. Nay, chide
me not, Miss Plowden; you will remember that I found my being on this
island. I come here on no vain or weak errand, Miss Howard, but to spare
human blood." She paused, as if struggling to speak calmly. "But no one
can witness the interview except our God."

"Go, then," said Katherine, secretly rejoicing at her determination,
"while we inquire into the characters of the others."

Alice Dunscombe turned the key; and gently opening the door, she desired
her companions to tap for her, as they returned, and then instantly
disappeared in the apartment.

Cecilia and her cousin proceeded to the next door, which they opened in
silence, and entered cautiously into the room. Katherine Plowden had so
far examined into the arrangements of Colonel Howard, as to know that at
the same time he had ordered blankets to be provided for the prisoners,
he had not thought it necessary to administer any further to the
accommodations of men who had apparently made their beds and pillows of
planks for the greater part of their lives.

The ladies accordingly found the youthful sailor whom they sought, with
his body rolled in the shaggy covering, extended at his length along the
naked boards, and buried in a deep sleep. So timid were the steps of his
visitors, and so noiseless was their entrance, that they approached even
to his side without disturbing his slumbers. The head of the prisoner
lay rudely pillowed on a billet of wood, one hand protecting his face
from its rough surface, and the other thrust in his bosom, where it
rested, with a relaxed grasp, on the handle of a dirk. Although he
slept, and that heavily, yet his rest was unnatural and perturbed. His
breathing was hard and quick, and something like the low, rapid
murmurings of a confused utterance mingled with his respiration. The
moment had now arrived when the character of Cecilia Howard appeared to
undergo an entire change. Hitherto she had been led by her cousin, whose
activity and enterprise seemed to qualify her so well for the office of
guide; but now she advanced before Katherine, and, extending her lamp in
such a manner as to throw the light across the face of the sleeper, she
bent to examine his countenance, with keen and anxious eyes.

"Am I right?" whispered her cousin.

"May God, in His infinite compassion, pity and protect him!" murmured
Cecilia, her whole frame involuntarily shuddering, as the conviction
that she beheld Griffith flashed across her mind. "Yes, Katherine, it is
he, and presumptuous madness has driven him here. But time presses; he
must be awakened, and his escape effected at every hazard."

"Nay, then, delay no longer, but rouse him from his sleep."

"Griffith! Edward Griffith!" said the soft tones of Cecilia, "Griffith,
awake!"

"Your call is useless, for they sleep nightly among tempests and
boisterous sounds," said Katherine; "but I have heard it said that the
smallest touch will generally cause one of them to stir."

"Griffith!" repeated Cecilia, laying her fair hand timidly on his own.

The flash of lightning is not more nimble than the leap that the young
man made to his feet, which he no sooner gained, than his dirk gleamed
in the light of the lamps, as he brandished it fiercely with one hand,
while with the other he extended a pistol, in a menacing attitude,
towards his disturbers.

"Stand back!" he exclaimed; "I am your prisoner only as a corpse."

The fierceness of his front, and the glaring eyeballs, that tolled
wildly around, him, appalled Cecilia, who shrank back in fear, dropping
her mantle from her person, but still keeping her mild eyes fastened on
his countenance with a confiding gaze, that contradicted her shrinking
attitude, as she replied:

"Edward, it is I; Cecilia Howard, come to save you from destruction; you
are known even through your ingenious disguise."

The pistol and the dirk fell together on the blanket of the young
sailor, whose looks instantly lost their disturbed expression in a glow
of pleasure.

"Fortune at length favors me!" he cried. "This is kind, Cecilia; more
than I deserve, and much more than I expected. But you are not alone."

"'Tis my cousin Kate; to her piercing eyes you owe your detection, and
she has kindly consented to accompany me, that we might urge you to--
nay, that we might, if necessary, assist you to fly. For 'tis cruel
folly, Griffith, thus to tempt your fate."

"Have I tempted it, then, in vain! Miss Plowden, to you I must appeal
for an answer and a justification."

Katherine looked displeased; but after a moment's hesitation she
replied:

"Your servant, Mr. Griffith; I perceive that the erudite Captain
Barnstable has not only succeeded in spelling through my scrawl, but he
has also given it to all hands for perusal."

"Now you do both him and me injustice," said Griffith; "it surely was
not treachery to show me a plan in which I was to be a principal actor."

"Ah! doubtless your excuses are as obedient to your calls as your men,"
returned the young lady; "but how comes it that the hero of the Ariel
sends a deputy to perform a duty that is so peculiarly his own? Is he
wont to be second in rescues?"

"Heaven forbid that you should think so meanly of him for a moment! We
owe you much, Miss Plowden; but we may have other duties. You know that
we serve our common country, and have a superior with us, whose beck is
our law."

"Return, then, Mr. Griffith, while you may, to the service of our
bleeding country," said Cecilia, "and, after the joint efforts of her
brave children have expelled the intruders from her soil, let us hope
there shall come a time when Katherine and myself may be restored to our
native homes."

"Think you, Miss Howard, to how long a period the mighty arm of the
British king may extend that time? We shall prevail; a nation fighting
for its dearest rights must ever prevail; but 'tis not the work of a
day, for a people, poor, scattered, and impoverished as we have been, to
beat down a power like that of England; surely you forget, that in
bidding me to leave you with such expectations, Miss Howard, you doom me
to an almost hopeless banishment!"

"We must trust to the will of God," said Cecilia; "if he ordain that
America is to be free only after protracted sufferings, I can aid her
but with my prayers; but you have an arm and an experience, Griffith,
that might do her better service; waste not your usefulness, then, in
visionary schemes for private happiness, but seize the moments as they
offer, and return to your ship, if indeed it is yet in safety, and
endeavor to forget this mad undertaking, and, for a time, the being who
has led you to the adventure."

"This is a reception that I had not anticipated," returned Griffith;
"for though accident, and not intention, has thrown me into your
presence this evening, I did hope that, when I again saw the frigate, it
would be in your company, Cecilia."

"You cannot justly reproach me, Mr. Griffith, with your disappointment;
for I have not uttered or authorized a syllable that could induce you or
any one to believe that I would consent to quit my uncle."

"Miss Howard will not think me presumptuous, if I remind her that there
was a time when she did not think me unworthy to be entrusted with her
person and happiness."

A rich bloom mantled on the face of Cecilia, as she replied:

"Nor do I now, Mr. Griffith; but you do well to remind me of my former
weakness, for the recollection of its folly and imprudence only adds to
my present strength."

"Nay," interrupted her eager lover, "if I intended a reproach, or
harbored a boastful thought, spurn me from you forever, as unworthy of
your favor."

"I acquit you of both much easier than I can acquit myself of the charge
of weakness and folly," continued Cecilia; "but there are many things
that have occurred, since we last met, to prevent a repetition of such
inconsiderate rashness on my part. One of them is," she added, smiling
sweetly, "that I have numbered twelve additional months to my age, and a
hundred to my experience. Another, and perhaps a more important one, is,
that my uncle then continued among the friends of his youth, surrounded
by those whose blood mingles with his own; but here he lives a stranger;
and, though he finds some consolation in dwelling in a building where
his ancestors have dwelt before him, yet he walks as an alien through
its gloomy passages, and would find the empty honor but a miserable
compensation for the kindness and affection of one whom he has loved and
cherished from her infancy."

"And yet he is opposed to you in your private wishes, Cecilia, unless my
besotted vanity has led me to believe what it would now be madness to
learn was false; and in your opinions of public things, you are quite as
widely separated. I should think there could be but little happiness
dependent on a connection where there is no one feeling entertained in
common."

"There is, and an all-important one," said Miss Howard; "'tis our love.
He is my kind, my affectionate, and, unless thwarted by some evil cause,
my indulgent uncle and guardian,--and I am his brother Harry's child.
This tie is not easily to be severed, Mr. Griffith; though, as I do not
wish to see you crazed, I shall not add, that your besotted vanity has
played you false; but surely, Edward, it is possible to feel a double
tie, and so to act as to discharge our duties to both. I never, never
can or will consent to desert my uncle, a stranger as he is in the land
whose rule he upholds so blindly. You know not this England, Griffith;
she receives her children from the colonies with cold and haughty
distrust, like a jealous stepmother, who is wary of the favors that she
bestows on her fictitious offspring."

"I know her in peace, and I know her in war," said the young sailor,
proudly, "and can add, that she is a haughty friend, and a stubborn foe;
but she grapples now with those who ask no more of her than an open sea
and an enemy's favors. But this determination will be melancholy tidings
for me to convey to Barnstable."

"Nay," said Cecilia, smiling, "I cannot vouch for others who have no
uncles, and who have an extra quantity of ill humor and spleen against
this country, its people, and its laws, although profoundly ignorant of
them all."

"Is Miss Howard tired of seeing me under the tiles of St. Ruth?" asked
Katherine. "But hark! are there not footsteps approaching along the
gallery?"

They listened, in breathless silence, and soon heard distinctly the
approaching tread of more than one person. Voices were quite audible,
and before they had time to consult on what was best to be done, the
words of the speakers were distinctly heard at the door of their own
apartment.

"Ay! he has a military air about him, Peters, that will make him a
prize; come, open the door."

"This is not his room, your honor," said the alarmed soldier; "he
quarters in the last room in the gallery."

"How know you that, fellow? come, produce the key, and open the way for
me; I care not who sleeps here; there is no saying but I may enlist them
all three."

A single moment of dreadful incertitude succeeded, when the sentinel was
heard saying, in reply to this peremptory order:

"I thought your honor wanted to see the one with the black stock, and so
left the rest of the keys at the other end of the passage; but----"

"But nothing, you loon; a sentinel should always carry his keys about
him, like a jailer; follow, then, and let me see the lad who dresses so
well to the right."

As the heart of Katherine began to beat less vehemently, she said:

"'Tis Borroughcliffe, and too drunk to see that we have left the key in
the door; but what is to be done? we have but a moment for
consultation."

"As the day dawns," said Cecilia, quickly, I shall send here, under the
pretence of conveying you food, my own woman----"

"There is no need of risking anything for my safety," interrupted
Griffith; "I hardly think we shall be detained, and if we are,
Barnstable is at hand with a force that would scatter these recruits to
the four winds of heaven."

"Ah! that would lead to bloodshed, and scenes of horror!" exclaimed
Cecilia.

"Listen!" cried Katherine, "they approach again!"

A man now stopped, once more, at their door, which was opened softly,
and the face of the sentinel was thrust into the apartment.

"Captain Borroughcliffe is on his rounds, and for fifty of your guineas
I would not leave you here another minute."

"But one word more," said Cecilia.

"Not a syllable, my lady, for my life," returned the man; "the lady from
the next room waits for you, and in mercy to a poor fellow go back where
you came from."

The appeal was unanswerable, and they complied, Cecilia saying, as they
left the room:

"I shall send you food in the morning, young man, and directions how to
take the remedy necessary to your safety."

In the passage they found Alice Dunscombe, with her face concealed in
her mantle; and, it would seem, by the heavy sighs that escaped from
her, deeply agitated by the interview which she had just encountered.

But as the reader may have some curiosity to know what occurred to
distress this unoffending lady so sensibly, we shall detain the
narrative, to relate the substance of that which passed between her and
the individual whom she sought.




CHAPTER XIV.

  "As when a lion in his den,
    Hath heard the hunters' cries,
  And rushes forth to meet his foes,
    So did the Douglas rise--"
  _Percy_.


Alice Dunscombe did not find the second of the prisoners buried, like
Griffith, in sleep, but he was seated on one of the old chairs that were
in the apartment, with his back to the door, and apparently looking
through the small window, on the dark and dreary scenery over which the
tempest was yet sweeping in its fury. Her approach was unheeded, until
the light from her lamp glared across his eyes, when he started from his
musing posture, and advanced to meet her. He was the first to speak.

"I expected this visit," he said, "when I found that you recognized my
voice; and I felt a deep assurance in my breast, that Alice Dunscombe
would never betray me."

His listener, though expecting this confirmation of her conjectures, was
unable to make an immediate reply, but she sank into the seat he had
abandoned, and waited a few moments, as if to recover her powers.

"It was, then, no mysterious warning! no airy voice that mocked my ear;
but a dread reality!" she at length said. "Why have you thus braved the
indignation of the laws of your country? On what errand of fell mischief
has your ruthless temper again urged you to embark?"

"This is strong and cruel language, coming from you to me, Alice
Dunscombe," returned the stranger, with cool asperity, "and the time has
been when I should have been greeted, after a shorter absence, with
milder terms."

"I deny it not; I cannot, if I would, conceal my infirmity from myself
or you; I hardly wish it to continue unknown to the world. If I have
once esteemed you, if I have plighted to you my troth, and in my
confiding folly forgot my higher duties, God has amply punished me for
the weakness in your own evil deeds."

"Nay, let not our meeting be embittered with useless and provoking
recriminations," said the other; "for we have much to say before you
communicate the errand of mercy on which you have come hither. I know
you too well, Alice, not to see that you perceive the peril in which I
am placed, and are willing to venture something for my safety. Your
mother--does she yet live?"

"She is gone in quest of my blessed father," said Alice, covering her
pale face with her hands; "they have left me alone, truly; for he, who
was to have been all to me, was first false to his faith, and has since
become unworthy of my confidence."

The stranger became singularly agitated, his usually quiet eye glancing
hastily from the floor to the countenance of his companion, as he paced
the room with hurried steps; at length he replied:

"There is much, perhaps, to be said in explanation, that you do not
know. I left the country, because I found in it nothing but oppression
and injustice, and I could not invite you to become the bride of a
wanderer, without either name or fortune. But I have now the opportunity
of proving my truth. You say you are alone; be so no longer, and try how
far you were mistaken in believing that I should one day supply the
place to you of both father and mother."

There is something soothing to a female ear in the offer of even
protracted justice, and Alice spoke with less of acrimony in her tones,
during the remainder of their conference, if not with less of severity
in her language.

"You talk not like a man whose very life hangs but on a thread that the
next minute may snap asunder. Whither would you lead me? Is it to the
Tower at London?"

"Think not that I have weakly exposed my person without a sufficient
protection," returned the stranger with cool indifference; "there are
many gallant men who only wait my signal, to crush the paltry force of
this officer like a worm beneath my feet."

"Then has the conjecture of Colonel Howard been true I and the manner in
which the enemy's vessels have passed the shoals is no longer a mystery!
you have been their pilot!"

"I have."

"What! would ye pervert the knowledge gained in the springtime of your
guileless youth to the foul purpose of bringing desolation to the doors
of those you once knew and respected! John! John! is the image of the
maiden whom in her morning of beauty and simplicity I believe you did
love, so faintly impressed, that it cannot soften your hard heart to the
misery of those among whom she has been born, and who compose her little
world?"

"Not a hair of theirs shall be touched, not a thatch shall blaze, nor
shall a sleepless night befall the vilest among them--and all for your
sake, Alice! England comes to this contest with a seared conscience, and
bloody hands, but all shall be forgotten for the present, when both
opportunity and power offer to make her feel our vengeance, even in her
vitals. I came on no such errand."

"What, then, has led you blindly into snares, where all your boasted aid
would avail you nothing? for, should I call aloud your name, even here,
in the dark and dreary passages of this obscure edifice, the cry would
echo through the country ere the morning, and a whole people would be
found in arms to punish your audacity."

"My name has been sounded, and that in no gentle strains," returned the
Pilot, scornfully, "when a whole people have quailed at it, the craven
cowardly wretches flying before the man they had wronged. I have lived
to bear the banners of the new republic proudly in sight of the three
kingdoms, when practised skill and equal arms have in vain struggled to
pluck it down. Ay! Alice, the echoes of my guns are still roaring among
your eastern hills, and would render my name more appalling than
inviting to your sleeping yeomen."

"Boast not of the momentary success that the arm of God has yielded to
your unhallowed efforts," said Alice; "for a day of severe and heavy
retribution must follow: nor flatter yourself with the idle hope that
your name, terrible as ye have rendered it to the virtuous, is
sufficient, of itself, to drive the thoughts of home, and country, and
kin, from all who hear it.--Nay, I know not that even now, in listening
to you, I am not forgetting a solemn duty, which would teach me to
proclaim your presence, that the land might know that her unnatural son
is a dangerous burden in her bosom."

The Pilot turned quickly in his short walk; and, after reading her
countenance, with the expression of one who felt his security, he said
in gentler tones:

"Would that be Alice Dunscombe? would that be like the mild, generous
girl whom I knew in my youth? But I repeat, the threat would fail to
intimidate, even if you were capable of executing it. I have said that
it is only to make the signal, to draw around me a force sufficient to
scatter these dogs of soldiers to the four winds of heaven."

"Have you calculated your power justly, John?" said Alice, unconsciously
betraying her deep interest in his safety. "Have you reckoned the
probability of Mr. Dillon's arriving, accompanied by an armed band of
horsemen, with the morning's sun? for it's no secret in the abbey that
he is gone in quest of such assistance."

"Dillon!" exclaimed the Pilot, starting; "who is he? and on what
suspicion does he seek this addition to your guard?"

"Nay, John, look not at me, as if you would know the secrets of my
heart. It was not I who prompted him to such a step; you cannot for a
moment think that I would betray you! But too surely he has gone; and,
as the night wears rapidly away, you should be using the hour of grace
to effect our own security."

"Fear not for me, Alice," returned the Pilot proudly, while a faint
smile struggled around his compressed lip: "and yet I like not this
movement either. How call you his name? Dillon! is he a minion of King
George?"

"He is, John, what you are not, a loyal subject of his sovereign lord
the king; and, though a native of the revolted colonies, he has
preserved his virtue uncontaminated amid the corruptions and temptations
of the times."

"An American! and disloyal to the liberties of the human race! By
Heaven, he had better not cross me; for if my arm reach him, it shall
hold him forth as a spectacle of treason to the world."

"And has not the world enough of such a spectacle in yourself? Are ye
not, even now, breathing your native air, though lurking through the
mists of the island, with desperate intent against its peace and
happiness?"

A dark and fierce expression of angry resentment flashed from the eyes
of the Pilot, and even his iron frame seemed to shake with emotion, as
he answered:

"Call you his dastardly and selfish treason, aiming, as it does, to
aggrandize a few, at the expense of millions, a parallel case to the
generous ardor that impels a man to fight in the defence of sacred
liberty? I might tell you that I am armed in the common cause of my
fellow-subjects and countrymen; that though an ocean divided us in
distance, yet are we a people of the same blood, and children of the
same parents, and that the hand which oppresses one inflicts an injury
on the other. But I disdain all such narrow apologies. I was born on
this orb, and I claim to be a citizen of it. A man with a soul not to be
limited by the arbitrary boundaries of tyrants and hirelings, but one
who has the right as well as the inclination to grapple with oppression,
in whose name so ever it is exercised, or in whatever hollow and
specious shape it founds its claim to abuse our race."

"Ah! John, John, though this may sound like reason to rebellious ears,
to mine it seemeth only as the ravings of insanity. It is in vain ye
build up your new and disorganizing systems of rule, or rather misrule,
which are opposed to all that the world has ever yet done, or ever will
see done in peace and happiness. What avail your subtleties and false
reasonings against the heart? It is the heart which tells us where our
home is, and how to love it."

"You talk like a weak and prejudiced woman, Alice," said the Pilot, more
composedly; "and one who would shackle nations with the ties that bind
the young and feeble of your own sex together."

"And by what holier or better bond can they be united?" said Alice. "Are
not the relations of domestic life of God's establishing, and have not
the nations grown from families, as branches spread from the stem, till
the tree overshadows the land? 'Tis an ancient and sacred tie that binds
man to his nation; neither can it be severed without infamy."

The Pilot smiled disdainfully, and throwing open the rough exterior of
his dress, he drew forth, in succession, several articles, while a
glowing pride lighted his countenance, as he offered them singly to her
notice.

"See, Alice!" he said, "call you this infamy! This broad sheet of
parchment is stamped with a seal of no mean importance, and it bears the
royal name of the princely Louis also! And view this cross! decorated as
it is with jewels, the gift of the same illustrious hand; it is not apt
to be given to the children of infamy, neither is it wise or decorous to
stigmatize a man who has not been thought unworthy to consort with
princes and nobles by the opprobrious name of the 'Scotch Pirate.'"

"And have ye not earned the title, John, by ruthless deeds and bitter
animosity? I could kiss the baubles ye show me, if they were a thousand
times less splendid, had they been laid upon your breast by the hands of
your lawful prince; but now they appear to my eyes as indelible blots
upon your attainted name. As for your associates, I have heard of them;
and it seemeth that a queen might be better employed than encouraging by
her smiles the disloyal subjects of other monarchs, though even her
enemies. God only knows when His pleasure may suffer a spirit of
disaffection to rise up among the people of her own nation, and then the
thought that she has encouraged rebellion may prove both bitter and
unwelcome."

"That the royal and lovely Antoinette has deigned to repay my services
with a small portion of her gracious approbation is not among the least
of my boasts," returned the Pilot, in affected humility, while secret
pride was manifested even in his lofty attitude. "But venture not a
syllable in her dispraise, for you know not whom you censure. She is
less distinguished by her illustrious birth and elevated station, than
by her virtues and loveliness. She lives the first of her sex in Europe
--the daughter of an emperor, the consort of the most powerful king, and
the smiling and beloved patroness of a nation who worship at her feet.
Her life is above all reproach, as it is above all earthly punishment,
were she so lost as to merit it; and it has been the will of Providence
to place her far beyond the reach of all human misfortunes."

"Has it placed her above human errors, John? Punishment is the natural
and inevitable consequence of sin; and unless she can say more than has
ever fallen to the lot of humanity to say truly, she may yet be made to
feel the chastening arm of One, to whose eyes all her pageantry and
power are as vacant as the air she breathes--so insignificant must it
seem when compared to his own just rule! But if you vaunt that you have
been permitted to kiss the hem of the robes of the French queen, and
have been the companion of high-born and flaunting ladies, clad in their
richest array, can ye yet say to yourself, that amid them all ye have
found one whose tongue has been bold to tell you the truth, or whose
heart has sincerely joined in her false professions?"

"Certainly none have met me with the reproaches that I have this night
received from Alice Dunscombe, after a separation of six long years,"
returned the Pilot.

"If I have spoken to you the words of holy truth, John, let them not be
the less welcome, because they are strangers to your ears. Oh! think
that she who has thus dared to use the language of reproach to one whose
name is terrible to all who live on the border of this island, is led to
the rash act by no other motive than interest in your eternal welfare."

"Alice! Alice! you madden me with these foolish speeches! Am I a monster
to frighten unprotected women and helpless children? What mean these
epithets, as coupled with my name? Have you, too, lent a credulous ear
to the vile calumnies with which the policy of your rulers has ever
attempted to destroy the fair fame of those who oppose them, and those
chiefly who oppose them with success? My name may be terrible to the
officers of the royal fleet, but where and how have I earned a claim to
be considered formidable to the helpless and unoffending?"

Alice Dunscombe cast a furtive and timid glance at the Pilot, which
spoke even stronger than her words, as she replied:

"I know not that all which is said of you and your deeds is true. I have
often prayed, in bitterness and sorrow, that a tenth part of that which
is laid to your charge may not be heaped on your devoted head at the
great and final account. But, John, I have known you long and well, and
Heaven forbid, that on this solemn occasion, which may be the last, the
last of our earthly interviews, I should be found wanting in Christian
duty, through a woman's weakness. I have often thought, when I have
heard the gall of bitter reproach and envenomed language hurled against
your name, that they who spoke so rashly, little understood the man they
vituperated. But, though ye are at times, and I may say almost always,
as mild and even as the smoothest sea over which ye have ever sailed,
yet God has mingled in your nature a fearful mixture of fierce passions,
which, roused, are more like the southern waters when troubled with the
tornado. It is difficult for me to say how far this evil spirit may lead
a man, who has been goaded by fancied wrongs to forget his country and
home, and who is suddenly clothed with power to show his resentments."

The Pilot listened with rooted attention, and his piercing eye seemed to
reach the seat of those thoughts which she but half expressed; still he
retained the entire command of himself, and answered, more in sorrow
than in anger:

"If anything could convert me to your own peaceful and unresisting
opinions, Alice, it would be the reflections that offer themselves at
this conviction, that even you have been led by the base tongues of my
dastardly enemies, to doubt my honor and conduct. What is fame, when a
man can be thus traduced to his nearest friends? But no more of these
childish reflections! they are unworthy of myself, my office, and the
sacred cause in which I have enlisted!"

"Nay, John, shake them not off," said Alice, unconsciously laying her
hand on his arm; "they are as the dew to the parched herbage, and may
freshen the feelings of your youth, and soften the heart that has grown
hard, if hard it be, more by unnatural indulgence than its own base
inclinations."

"Alice Dunscombe," said the Pilot, approaching her with solemn
earnestness, "I have learnt much this night, though I came not in quest
of such knowledge. You have taught me how powerful is the breath of the
slanderer, and how frail is the tenure by which we hold our good names.
Full twenty times have I met the hirelings of your prince in open
battle, fighting ever manfully under that flag which was first raised to
the breeze by my own hands, and which, I thank my God, I have never yet
seen lowered an inch; but with no one act of cowardice or private wrong
in all that service can I reproach myself; and yet, how am I rewarded!
The tongue of the vile calumniator is keener than the sword of the
warrior, and leaves a more indelible scar!"

"Never have ye uttered a truer sentiment, John, and God send that ye may
encourage such thoughts to your own eternal advantage," said Alice, with
engaging interest "You say that you have risked your precious life in
twenty combats, and observe how little of Heaven's favor is bestowed on
the abettors of rebellion! They tell me that the world has never
witnessed a more desperate and bloody struggle than this last, for which
your name has been made to sound to the furthermost ends of the isle."

"'Twill be known wherever naval combats are spoken of!" interrupted the
Pilot, the melancholy which had begun to lower in his countenance giving
place to a look of proud exultation.

"And yet its fancied glory cannot shield your name from wrong, nor are
the rewards of the victor equal, in a temporal sense, to those which the
vanquished has received. Know you that our gracious monarch, deeming
your adversary's cause so sacred, has extended to him his royal favor?"

"Ay! he has dubbed him knight!" exclaimed the Pilot. with a scornful and
bitter laugh: "let him be again furnished with a ship, and me with
another opportunity, and I promise him an earldom, if being again
vanquished can constitute a claim!"

"Speak not so rashly, nor vaunt yourself of possessing a protecting
power that may desert you, John, when you most need it, and least expect
the change," returned his companion; "the battle is not always to the
strong, neither is the race to the swift."

"Forget you, my good Alice, that your words will admit of a double
meaning? Has the battle been to the strong! Though you say not well in
denying the race to the swift. Yes, yes, often and again have the
dastards escaped me by their prudent speed! Alice Dunscombe, you know
not a thousandth part of the torture that I have been made to feel, by
high-born miscreants, who envy the merit they cannot equal, and detract
from the glory of deeds that they dare not attempt to emulate. How have
I been cast upon the ocean, like some unworthy vessel that is
commissioned to do a desperate deed, and then to bury itself in the ruin
it has made! How many malignant hearts have triumphed as they beheld my
canvas open, thinking that it was spread to hasten me to a gibbet, or to
a tomb in the bosom of the ocean! but I have disappointed them!"

The eyes of the Pilot no longer gazed with their piercing and settled
meaning; but they flashed with a fierce and wild pleasure, as he
continued, in a louder voice:

"Yes, bitterly have I disappointed them! Oh! the triumph over my fallen
enemies has been tame to this heartfelt exultation which places me
immeasurably above those false and craven hypocrites! I begged, I
implored, the Frenchmen, for the meanest of their craft, which possessed
but the common qualities of a ship of war; I urged the policy and
necessity of giving me such a force, for even then I promised to be
found in harm's way; but envy and jealousy robbed me of my just dues,
and of more than half my glory. They call me pirate! If I have claim to
the name, it was furnished more by the paltry outfit of my friends, than
by any act towards my enemies!"

"And do not these recollections prompt you to return to your allegiance,
to your prince and native land, John?" said Alice, in a subdued voice.

"Away with the silly thought!" interrupted the Pilot, recalled to
himself as if by a sudden conviction of the weakness he had betrayed;
"it is ever thus where men are made conspicuous by their works--but to
your visit--I have the power to rescue myself and companions from this
paltry confinement, and yet I would not have it done with violence, for
your sake. Bring you the means of doing it in quiet?"

"When the morning arrives, you will all be conducted to the apartment
where we first met.--This will be done at the solicitation of Miss
Howard, under the plea of compassion and justice, and with the professed
object of inquiring into your situations. Her request will not be
refused; and while your guard is stationed at the door, you will be
shown, by another entrance, through the private apartments of the wing,
to a window, whence you can easily leap to the ground, where a thicket
is at hand; afterwards we shall trust your safety to your own
discretion."

"And if this Dillon, of whom you have spoken, should suspect the truth,
how will you answer to the law for aiding our escape?"

"I believe he little dreams who is among the prisoners," said Alice,
musing, "though he may have detected the character of one of your
companions. But it is private feeling, rather than public spirit, that
urges him on."

"I have suspected something of this," returned the Pilot, with a smile,
that crossed those features where ungovernable passions that had so
lately been exhibited, with an effect that might be likened to the last
glimmering of an expiring conflagration, serving to render the
surrounding ruin more obvious. "This young Griffith has led me from my
direct path with his idle imprudence, and it is right that his mistress
should incur some risk. But with you, Alice, the case is different; here
you are only a guest, and it is unnecessary that you should be known in
the unfortunate affair. Should my name get abroad, this recreant
American, this Colonel Howard, will find all the favor he has purchased
by advocating the cause of tyranny necessary to protect him from the
displeasure of the ministry."

"I fear to trust so delicate a measure to the young discretion of my
amiable friend," said Alice, shaking her head.

"Remember, that she has her attachment to plead in her excuse; but dare
you say to the world that you still remember, with gentle feelings, the
man whom you stigmatize with such opprobrious epithets?"

A slight color gleamed over the brow of Alice Dunscombe, as she uttered,
in a voice that was barely audible:

"There is no longer a reason why the world should know of such a
weakness, though it did exist." And, as the faint glow passed away,
leaving her face pale nearly as the hue of death, her eyes kindled with
unusual fire, and she added: "They can but take my life, John; and that
I am ready to lay down in your service!"

"Alice!" exclaimed the softened Pilot, "my kind, my gentle Alice--"

The knock of the sentinel at the door was heard at this critical moment.
Without waiting for a reply to his summons, the man entered the
apartment; and, in hurried language, declared the urgent necessity that
existed for the lady to retire. A few brief remonstrances were uttered
by both Alice and the Pilot, who wished to comprehend more clearly each
other's intentions relative to the intended escape: but the fear of
personal punishment rendered the soldier obdurate, and a dread of
exposure at length induced the lady to comply. She arose, and was
leaving the apartment with lingering steps, when the Pilot, touching her
hand, whispered to her impressively:

"Alice, we meet again before I leave this island forever?"

"We meet in the morning, John," she returned in the same tone of voice,
"in the apartments of Miss Howard."

He dropped her hand, and she glided from the room, when the impatient
sentinel closed the door, and silently turned the key on his prisoner.
The Pilot remained in a listening attitude, until the light footsteps of
the retiring pair were no longer audible, when he paced his confined
apartment with perturbed steps, occasionally pausing to look out at the
driving clouds and the groaning oaks that were trembling and rocking
their broad arms in the fitful gusts of the gale. In a few minutes the
tempest in his own passions had gradually subsided to the desperate and
still calmness that made him the man he was; when he again seated
himself where Alice had found him, and began to muse on the events of
the times, from which the transition to projecting schemes of daring
enterprise and mighty consequences was but the usual employment of his
active and restless mind.




CHAPTER XV.

  "_Sir And._. I have no exquisite reason for't, but I've reason
  good enough."
   _Twelfth Night._


The countenance of Captain Borroughcliffe, when the sentinel admitted
him to the apartment he had selected, was in that state of doubtful
illumination, when looks of peculiar cunning blend so nicely with the
stare of vacancy, that the human face is rendered not unlike an April
day, now smiling and inviting, and at the next moment clouded and
dreary. It was quite apparent that the soldier had an object for his
unexpected visit, by the importance of his air and the solemnity of the
manner with which he entered on the business. He waved his hand for the
sentinel to retire, with lofty dignity, and continued balancing his
body, during the closing of the door, and while a sound continued
audible to his confused faculties, with his eyes fixed in the direction
of the noise, with that certain sort of wise look that in many men
supplies the place of something better. When the captain felt himself
secure from interruption, he moved round with quick military precision,
in order to face the man of whom he was in quest. Griffith had been
sleeping, though uneasily and with watchfulness; and the Pilot had been
calmly awaiting the visit which it seemed he had anticipated; but their
associate, who was no other than Captain Manual, of the marines, was
discovered in a very different condition from either. Though the weather
was cool and the night tempestuous, he had thrown aside his pea-jacket,
with most of his disguise, and was sitting ruefully on his blanket,
wiping, with one hand, the large drops of sweat from his forehead, and
occasionally grasping his throat with the other, with a kind of
convulsed mechanical movement. He stared wildly at his visitor, though
his entrance produced no other alteration in these pursuits than a more
diligent application of his handkerchief and a more frequent grasping of
his naked neck, as if he were willing to ascertain, by actual
experiment, what degree of pressure the part was able to sustain,
without exceeding a given quantity of inconvenience.

"Comrade, I greet ye!" said Borroughcliffe, staggering to the side of
his prisoner, where he seated himself with an entire absence of
ceremony: "Comrade, I greet ye! Is the kingdom in danger, that gentlemen
traverse the island in the uniform of the regiment of incognitus,
incognitii, 'torum--damme, how I forget my Latin! Say, my fine fellow,
are you one of these 'torums?"

Manual breathed a little hard, which, considering the manner he had been
using his throat, was a thing to be expected; but, swallowing his
apprehensions, he answered with more spirit than his situation rendered
prudent or the occasion demanded.

"Say what you will of me, and treat me as you please, I defy any man to
call me Tory with truth."

"You are no 'torum! Well, then, the war-office has got up a new dress!
Your regiment must have earned their facings in storming some water
battery, or perhaps it has done duty as marines. Am I right?"

"I'll not deny it," said Manual, more stoutly; "I have served as a
marine for two years, though taken from the line of----"

"The army," said Borroughcliffe, interrupting a most damning confession
of which "state line" the other had belonged to. "I kept a dog-watch,
myself, once, on board the fleet of my Lord Howe; but it is a service
that I do not envy any man. Our afternoon parades were dreadfully
unsteady, for it's a time, you know, when a man wants solid ground to
stand on. However, I purchased my company with some prize-money that
fell in my way, and I always remember the marine service with gratitude.
But this is dry work. I have put a bottle of sparkling Madeira in my
pocket, with a couple of glasses, which we will discuss while we talk
over more important matters. Thrust your hand into my right pocket; I
have been used to dress to the front so long, that it comes mighty
awkward to me to make this backward motion, as if it were into a
cartridge-box."

Manual, who had been at a loss how to construe the manner of the other,
perceived at once a good deal of plain English in this request, and he
dislodged one of Colonel Howard's dusty bottles, with a dexterity that
denoted the earnestness of his purpose. Borroughcliffe had made a
suitable provision of glasses; and extracting the cork in a certain
scientific manner, he tendered to his companion a bumper of the liquor,
before another syllable was uttered by either of the expectants. The
gentlemen concluded their draughts with a couple of smacks, that sounded
not unlike the pistols of two practised duellists, though certainly a
much less alarming noise, when the entertainer renewed the discourse.

"I like one of your musty-looking bottles, that is covered with dust and
cobwebs, with a good southern tan on it," he said. "Such liquor does not
abide in the stomach, but it gets into the heart at once, and becomes
blood in the beating of a pulse. But how soon I knew you! That sort of
knowledge is the freemasonry of our craft. I knew you to be the man you
are, the moment I laid eyes on you in what we call our guard-room; but I
thought I would humor the old soldier who lives here, by letting him
have the formula of an examination, as a sort of deference to his age
and former rank. But I knew you the instant I saw you. I have seen you
before!"

The theory of Borroughcliffe, in relation to the incorporation of wine
with the blood, might have been true in the case of the marine, whose
whole frame appeared to undergo a kind of magical change by the
experiment of drinking, which, the reader will understand, was
diligently persevered in while a drop remained in the bottle. The
perspiration no longer rolled from his brow, neither did his throat
manifest that uneasiness which had rendered such constant external
applications necessary; but he settled down into an air of cool but
curious interest, which, in some measure, was the necessary concomitant
of his situation.

"We may have met before, as I have been much in service, and yet I know
not where you could have seen me," said Manual. "Were you ever a
prisoner of war?"

"Hum! not exactly such an unfortunate devil; but a sort of conventional
non-combatant. I shared the hardships, the glory, the equivocal
victories (where we killed and drove countless numbers of rebels--who
were not), and, woe is me! the capitulation of Burgoyne. But let that
pass-which was more than the Yankees would allow us to do. You know not
where I could have seen you? I have seen you on parade, in the field, in
battle and out of battle, in camp, in barracks; in short, everywhere but
in a drawing-room. No, no; I have never seen you before this night in a
drawing-room!"

Manual stared in a good deal of wonder and some uneasiness at these
confident assertions, which promised to put his life in no little
jeopardy; and it is to be supposed that the peculiar sensation about the
throat was revived, as he made a heavy draught, before he said:

"You will swear to this--Can you call me by name?"

"I will swear to it in any court in Christendom," said the dogmatical
soldier; "and your name is--is--Fugleman!"

"If it is, I'll be damn'd!" exclaimed the other, with exulting
precipitation.

"Swear not!" said Borroughcliffe, with a solemn air; "for what mattereth
an empty name! Call thyself by what appellation thou wilt, I know thee.
Soldier is written on thy martial front; thy knee bendeth not; nay, I
even doubt if the rebellious member bow in prayer----"

"Come, sir," interrupted Manual, a little sternly; "no more of this
trifling, but declare your will at once. Rebellious member, indeed!
These fellows will call the skies of America rebellious heavens
shortly!"

"I like thy spirit, lad," returned the undisturbed Borroughcliffe; "it
sits as gracefully on a soldier as his sash and gorget; but it is lost
on an old campaigner. I marvel, however, that thou takest such umbrage
at my slight attack on thy orthodoxy. I fear the fortress must be weak,
where the outworks are defended with such a waste of unnecessary
courage!"

"I know not why or wherefore you have paid me this visit, Captain
Borroughcliffe," said Manual, with a laudable discretion, which prompted
him to reconnoitre the other's views a little, before he laid himself
more open; "if captain be your rank, and Borroughcliffe be your name.
But this I do know, that if it be only to mock me in my present
situation, it is neither soldier like nor manly; and it is what, in
other circumstances, might be attended by some hazard."

"Hum!" said the other, with his immovable coolness; "I see you set the
wine down as nothing, though the king drinks not as good; for the plain
reason that the sun of England cannot find its way through the walls of
Windsor Castle as easily as the sun of Carolina can warm a garret
covered with cedar shingles. But I like your spirit more and more. So
draw yourself up in battle array, and let us have another charge at this
black bottle, when I shall lay before your military eyes a plan of the
whole campaign."

Manual first bestowed an inquiring glance on his companion; when,
discovering no other expression than foolish cunning, which was fast
yielding before the encroaching footsteps of stupid inebriety, he
quietly placed himself in the desired position. The wine was drunk, when
Borroughcliffe proceeded to open his communications more unreservedly.

"You are a soldier, and I am a soldier. That you are a soldier, my
orderly could tell; for the dog has both seen a campaign, and smelt
villanous saltpetre, when compounded according to a wicked invention;
but it required the officer to detect the officer. Privates do not wear
such linen as this, which seemeth to me an unreasonably cool attire for
the season; nor velvet stocks, with silver buckles; nor is there often
the odorous flavor of sweet-scented pomatum to be discovered around
their greasy locks. In short, thou art both soldier and officer."

"I confess it," said Manual; "I hold the rank of captain, and shall
expect the treatment of one."

"I think I have furnished you with wine fit for a general," returned
Borroughcliffe; "but have your own way. Now, it would be apparent to
men, whose faculties had not been rendered clear by such cordials as
this dwelling aboundeth with, that when you officers journey through the
island, clad in the uniform incognitorum, which in your case means the
marine corps, that something is in the wind of more than usual moment.
Soldiers owe their allegiance to their prince, and next to him to war,
women, and wine. Of war, there is none in the realm; of women, plenty;
but wine, I regret to say, that is, good wine, grows both scarce and
dear. Do I speak to the purpose, comrade?"

"Proceed," said Manual, whose eyes were not less attentive than his
ears, in a hope to discover whether his true character were understood.

"En avant! in plain English, forward march! Well, then, the difficulty
lies between women and wine; which, when the former are pretty, and the
latter rich, is a very agreeable sort of an alternative. That it is not
wine of which you are in quest, I must believe, my comrade captain, or
you would not go on the adventure in such shabby attire. You will excuse
me, but who would think of putting anything better than their Port
before a man in a pair of tarred trousers? No! no! Hollands, green-and-
yellow Hollands, is a potation good enough to set before one of the
present bearing."

"And yet I have met with him who has treated me to the choicest of the
south-side Madeira!"

"Know you the very side from which the precious fluid comes! That looks
more in favor of the wine. But, after all, woman, dear capricious woman,
who one moment fancies she sees a hero in regimentals, and the next a
saint in a cassock; and who always sees something admirable in a suitor,
whether he be clad in tow or velvet--woman is at the bottom of this
mysterious masquerading. Am I right, comrade!"

By this time Manual had discovered that he was safe, and he returned to
the conversation with a revival of all his ready wits, which had been
strangely paralyzed by his previous disorder in the region of the
throat. First bestowing a wicked wink on his companion, and a look that
would have outdone the wisest aspect of Solomon, he replied;

"Ah! woman has much to answer for!"

"I knew it," exclaimed Borroughcliffe; "and this confession only
confirms me in the good opinion I have always entertained of myself. If
his majesty has any particular wish to close this American business, let
him have a certain convention burnt, and a nameless person promoted, and
we shall see! But, answer as you love truth; is it a business of holy
matrimony, or a mere dalliance with the sweets of Cupid?"

"Of honest wedlock," said Manual, with an air as serious as if Hymen
already held him in his fetters.

"'Tis honest! Is there money?"

"Is there money?" repeated Manual, with a sort of contemptuous echo.
"Would a soldier part with his liberty, but with his life, unless the
chains were made of gold?"

"That's the true military doctrine!" cried the other; "faith, you have
some discretion in your amphibious corps, I find! But why this disguise?
are the 'seniors grave,' as well as 'potent and reverend?' Why this
disguise, I again ask?"

"Why this disguise!" repeated Manual, coolly: "Is there any such thing
as love in your regiment without disguise? With us, it is a regular
symptom of the disease."

"A most just and discreet description of the passion, my amphibious
comrade!" said the English officer; "and yet the symptoms in your case
are attended by some very malignant tokens. Does your mistress love
tar?"

"No; but she loveth me; and, of course, whatever attire I choose to
appear in."

"Still discreet and sagacious! and yet only a most palpable feint to
avoid my direct attack. You have heard of such a place as Gretna Green,
a little to the north of this, I dare say, my aquatic comrade. Am I
right?"

"Gretna Green!" said Manual, a little embarrassed by his ignorance;
"some parade-ground, I suppose?"

"Ay, for those who suffer under the fire of Master Cupid. A parade-
ground! well, there is some artful simplicity in that! But all will not
do with an old campaigner. It is a difficult thing to impose on an old
soldier, my water-battery. Now listen and answer; and you shall see what
it is to possess a discernment--therefore deny nothing. You are in
love?"

"I deny nothing," said Manual, comprehending at once that this was his
safest course.

"Your mistress is willing, and the money is ready, but the old people
say, halt!"

"I am still mute!"

"Tis prudent. You say march--Gretna Green is the object; and your flight
is to be by water!"

"Unless I can make my escape by water, I shall never make it," said
Manual, with another sympathetic movement with his hand to his throat.

"Keep mute; you need tell me nothing. I can see into a mystery that is
as deep as a well, to-night. Your companions are hirelings; perhaps your
shipmates; or men to pilot you on this expedition!"

"One is my shipmate, and the other is our pilot," said Manual, with more
truth than usual.

"You are well provided. One thing more, and I shall become mute in my
turn. Does she whom you seek lie in this house?"

"She does not; she lies but a short distance from this place; and I
should be a happy fellow could I but once more put foot----"

"Eyes on her. Now listen, and you shall have your wish. You possess the
ability to march yet, which, considering the lateness of the hour, is no
trifling privilege; open that window--is it possible to descend from
it?"

Manual eagerly complied, but he turned from the place in disappointment.

"It would be certain death to attempt the leap. The devil only could
escape from it."

"So I should think," returned Borroughcliffe, dryly. "You must be
content to pass for that respectable gentleman for the rest of your
days, in St. Ruth's Abbey. For through that identical hole must you wing
your flight on the pinions of love."

"But how! The thing is impossible."

"In imagination only. There is some stir, a good deal of foolish
apprehension, and a great excess of idle curiosity, among certain of
the tenants of this house, on your account. They fear the rebels, who,
we all know, have not soldiers enough to do their work neatly at home,
and who, of course, would never think of sending any here. You wish to
be snug--I wish to serve a brother in distress. Through that window you
must be supposed to fly--no matter how; while by following me you can pass
the sentinel, and retire peaceably, like any other mortal, on your own
two stout legs."

This was a result that exceeded all that Manual had anticipated from
their amicable but droll dialogue; and the hint was hardly given, before
he threw on the garments that agitation had before rendered such
encumbrances; and in less time than we have taken to relate it, the
marine was completely equipped for his departure. In the mean time,
Captain Borroughcliffe raised himself to an extremely erect posture,
which he maintained with the inflexibility of a rigid martinet. When he
found himself established on his feet, the soldier intimated to his
prisoner that he was ready to proceed. The door was instantly opened by
Manual, and together they entered the gallery.

"Who comes there?" cried the sentinel, with a vigilance and vigor that
he intended should compensate for his previous neglect of duty.

"Walk straight, that he may see you," said Borroughcliffe, with much
philosophy.

"Who goes there?" repeated the sentinel, throwing his musket to a poise,
with a rattling sound that echoed along the naked walls.

"Walk crooked," added Borroughcliffe, "that if he fire he may miss."

"We shall be shot at, with this folly," muttered Manual.

"We are friends, and your officer is one of us."

"Stand, friends--advance, officer, and give the counter-sign," cried the
sentinel.

"That is much easier said than done," returned his captain; "forward,
Mr. Amphibious, you can walk like a postman--move to the front, and
proclaim the magical word, 'loyalty;' 'tis a standing countersign, ready
furnished to my hands by mine hosts the colonel; your road is then clear
before you--but hark----"

Manual made an eager step forward, when, recollecting himself, he
turned, and added: "My assistants, the seamen! I can do nothing without
them."

"Lo! the keys are in the doors, ready for my admission," said the
Englishman; "turn them, and bring out your forces."

Quick as thought, Manual was in the room of Griffith, to whom he briefly
communicated the situation of things, when he reappeared in the passage,
and then proceeded on a similar errand to the room of the Pilot.

"Follow, and behave as usual," he whispered; "say not a word, but trust
all to me."

The Pilot arose, and obeyed these instructions without asking a
question, with the most admirable coolness.

"I am now ready to proceed," said Manual, when they had joined
Borroughcliffe.

During the short time occupied in these arrangements, the sentinel and
his captain had stood looking at each other with great military
exactitude, the former ambitious of manifesting his watchfulness, the
latter awaiting the return of the marine. The captain now beckoned to
Manual to advance and give the countersign.

"Loyalty," whispered Manual, when he approached the sentinel. But the
soldier had been allowed time to reflect; and as he well understood the
situation of his officer, he hesitated to allow the prisoner to pass,
After a moment's pause, he said:

"Advance, friends." At this summons the whole party moved to the point
of his bayonet; when the man continued: "The prisoners have the
countersign, Captain Borroughcliffe, but I dare not let them pass."

"Why not?" asked the captain; "am I not here, sirrah? do you not know
me?"

"Yes, sir, I know your honor, and respect your honor; but I was posted
here by my sergeant, and ordered not to let these men pass out on any
account."

"That's what I call good discipline," said Borroughcliffe, with an
exulting laugh; "I knew the lad would not mind me any more than that he
would obey the orders of that lamp. Here are no slaves of the lamp, my
amphibious comrade; drill ye your marines in this consummate style to
niceties?"

"What means this trifling?" said the Pilot, sternly.

"Ah! I thought I should turn the laugh on you," cried Manual, affecting
to join in the mirth; "we know all these things well, and we practise
them in our corps; but though the sentinel cannot know you, the sergeant
will; so let him be called and orders be given through him to the man on
post, that we may pass out."

"Your throat grows uneasy, I see," said Borroughcliffe; "you crave,
another bottle of the generous fluid. Well, it shall be done. Sentinel,
you can throw up yon window, and give a call to the sergeant."

"The outcry will ruin us," said the Pilot, in a whisper to Griffith.

"Follow me," said the young sailor. The sentinel was turning to execute
the orders of his captain as Griffith spoke, when springing forward, in
an instant he wrenched the musket from his hands; a heavy blow with its
butt felled the astonished soldier to the floor; then, poising his
weapon, Griffith exclaimed:

"Forward! we can clear our own way now!"

"On!" said the Pilot, leaping lightly over the prostrate soldier, a
dagger gleaming in one hand and a pistol presented in the other.

Manual was by his side in an instant, armed in a similar manner; and the
three rushed together from the building, without meeting any one to
oppose their flight.

Borroughcliffe was utterly unable to follow; and so astounded was he by
this sudden violence, that several minutes passed before he was restored
to the use of his speech, a faculty which seldom deserted him. The man
had recovered his senses and his feet, however; and the two stood gazing
at each other in mute condolence. At length the sentinel broke the
silence:

"Shall I give the alarm, your honor?"

"I rather think not, Peters. I wonder if there be any such thing as
gratitude or good-breeding in the marine corps!"

"I hope your honor will remember that I did my duty, and that I was
disarmed while executing your orders."

"I can remember nothing about it, Peters, except that it is rascally
treatment, and such as I shall yet make this amphibious aquatic
gentleman answer for. But lock the door-look as if nothing had happened,
and----"

"Ah! your honor, that is not so easily done as your honor may please to
think. I have not any doubt but there is the print of the breech of a
musket stamped on my back and shoulders, as plainly to be seen as that
light."

"Then look as you please; but hold your peace, sirrah. Here is a crown
to buy a plaster. I heard the dog throw away your musket on the stairs--
go seek it, and return to your post; and when you are relieved, act as
if nothing had happened. I take the responsibility on myself."

The man obeyed; and when he was once more armed, Borroughcliffe, a good
deal sobered by the surprise, made the best of his way to his own
apartment, muttering threats and execrations against the "corps of
marines and the whole race," as he called them, "of aquatic amphibii."




CHAPTER XVI.

  "Away! away! the covey's fled the cover;
  Put forth the dogs, and let the falcon fly--
  I'll spend some leisure in the keen pursuit,
  Nor longer waste my hours in sluggish quiet."


The soldier passed the remainder of the night in the heavy sleep of a
bacchanalian, and awoke late on the following morning, only when aroused
by the entrance of his servant. When the customary summons had induced
the captain to unclose his eyelids, he arose in his bed, and after
performing the usual operation of a diligent friction on his organs of
vision, he turned sternly to his man, and remarked with an ill-humor
that seemed to implicate the innocent servant in the fault which his
master condemned:

"I thought, sirrah, that I ordered Sergeant Drill not to let a drumstick
touch a sheepskin while we quartered in the dwelling of this hospitable
old colonel! Does the fellow despise my commands? or does he think the
roll of a drum, echoing through the crooked passages of St. Ruth, a
melody that is fit to disturb the slumbers of its inmates?"

"I believe, sir," returned the man, "it was the wish of Colonel Howard
himself, that on this occasion the sergeant should turn out the guard by
the roll of the drum."

"The devil it was!--I see the old fellow loves to tickle the drum of his
own ear now and then with familiar sounds; but have you had a muster of
the cattle from the farmyard too, as well as a parade of the guard? I
hear the trampling of feet, as if the old abbey were a second ark, and
all the beasts of the field were coming aboard of us!"

"'Tis nothing but the party of dragoons from----, who are wheeling into
the courtyard, sir, where the colonel has gone out to receive them."

"Courtyard! light dragoons!" repeated Borroughcliffe, in amazement; "and
has it come to this, that twenty stout fellows of the ----th are not
enough to guard such a rookery as this old abbey, against the ghosts and
northeast storms, but we must have horse to reinforce us? Hum! I suppose
some of these booted gentlemen have heard of this South Carolina
Madeira."

"Oh, no, sir!" cried his man; "it is only the party that Mr. Dillon went
to seek last evening, after you saw fit, sir, to put the three pirates
in irons."

"Pirates in irons," said Borroughcliffe, again passing his hands over
his eyes, though in a more reflecting manner than before: "ha! oh! I
remember to have put three suspicious looking rascals in the black-hole,
or some such place; but what can Mr. Dillon, or the light dragoons, have
to do with these fellows?"

"That we do not know, sir; but it is said below, sir, as some suspicions
had fallen on their being conspirators and rebels from the colonies, and
that they were great officers and Tories in disguise; some said that one
was General Washington, and others that it was only three members of the
Yankee parliament, come over to get our good old English fashions to set
themselves up with."

"Washington! Members of Congress! Go--go, simpleton, and learn how many
these troopers muster, and what halt they make; but stay, place my
clothes near me. Now, do as I bid you, and if the dragoon officer
enquire for me, make my respects, and tell him I shall be with him soon.
Go, fellow; go."

When the man left the room, the captain, while he proceeded with the
business of the toilet, occasionally gave utterance to the thoughts that
crowded on his recollection, after the manner of a soliloquy.

"Ay! my commission to a half-pay ensigncy, that some of these lazy
fellows, who must have a four-legged beast to carry them to the wars,
have heard of the 'south side.' South side! I believe I must put an
advertisement in the London Gazette, calling that amphibious soldier to
an account If he be a true man, he will not hide himself under his
incognito, but will give me a meeting. If that should fail, damme, I'll
ride across to Yarmouth, and call out the first of the mongrel breed
that I fall in with. 'Sdeath! Was ever such an insult practised on a
gentleman and a soldier before? Would that I only knew his name! Why,
if the tale should get abroad, I shall be the standing joke of the mess-
table, until some greater fool than myself can be found. It would cost
me at least six duels to get rid of it. No, no; not a trigger will I
pull in my own regiment about the silly affair: but I'll have a crack at
some marine in very revenge; for that is no more than reasonable. That
Peters! if the scoundrel should dare whisper anything of the manner in
which he was stamped with the breech of the musket! I can't flog him for
it; but if I don't make it up to him the first time he gives me a
chance, I am ignorant of the true art of balancing regimental accounts."

By the time the recruiting officer had concluded this soliloquy, which
affords a very fair exposition of the current of his thoughts, he was
prepared to meet the new comers, and he accordingly descended to the
courtyard, as in duty bound, to receive them in his proper person.
Boroughcliffe encountered his host, in earnest conversation with a young
man in a cavalry uniform, in the principal entrance of the abbey, and
was greeted by the former with:

"A good morning to you, my worthy guard and protector! here is rare news
for your loyal ears. It seems that our prisoners are enemies to the king
in disguise; and, Cornet Fitzgerald--Captain Borroughcliffe, of the
--th, permit me to make you acquainted with Mr. Fitzgerald of the --th
light dragoons." While the soldiers exchanged their salutations, the old
man continued: "The cornet has been kind enough to lead down a
detachment of his troop to escort the rogues up to London, or some other
place, where they will find enough good and loyal officers to form a
court-martial, that can authorize their execution as spies. Christopher
Dillon, my worthy kinsman, Kit, saw into their real characters at a
glance; while you and I, like two unsuspecting boys, thought the rascals
would have made fit men to serve the king. But Kit has an eye and a head
that few enjoy like him, and I would that he might receive his dues at
the English bar."

"It is to be desired, sir," said Borroughcliffe, with a grave aspect,
that was produced chiefly by his effort to give effect to his sarcasm,
but a little, also, by the recollection of the occurrences that were yet
to be explained; "but what reason has Mr. Christopher Dillon to believe
that the three seamen are more or less than they seem?"

"I know not what; but a good and sufficient reason, I will venture my
life," cried the colonel; "Kit is a lad for reasons, which you know is
the foundation of his profession, and knows how to deliver them manfully
in the proper place; but you know, gentlemen, that the members of the
bar cannot assume the open and bold front that becomes a soldier,
without often endangering the cause in which they are concerned. No, no;
trust me, Kit has his reasons, and in good time will he deliver them."

"I hope, then," said the captain carelessly, "that it may be found that
we have had a proper watch on our charge, Colonel Howard; I think you
told me the windows were too high for an escape in that direction, for I
had no sentinel outside of the building."

"Fear nothing, my worthy friend," cried his host; "unless your men have
slept, instead of watching, we have them safe; but, as it will be
necessary to convey them away before any of the civil authority can lay
hands on them, let us proceed to the rear, and unkennel the dogs. A
party of the horse might proceed at once with them to----, while we are
breaking our fasts. It would be no very wise thing to allow the
civilians to deal with them, for they seldom have a true idea of the
nature of the crime."

"Pardon me, sir," said the young officer of horse; "I was led to
believe, by Mr. Dillon, that we might meet with a party of the enemy in
some little force, and that I should find a pleasanter duty than that of
a constable; besides, sir, the laws of the realm guarantee to the
subject a trial by his peers, and it is more than I dare do to carry the
men to the barracks, without first taking them before a magistrate."

"Ay! you speak of loyal and dutiful subjects," said the colonel; "and,
as respects them, doubtless, you are right; but such privileges are
withheld from enemies and traitors."

"It must be first proved that they are such, before they can receive the
treatment or the punishment that they merit," returned the young man, a
little positively, who felt the more confidence, because he had only
left the Temple the year before. "If I take charge of the men at all, it
will be only to transfer them safely to the civil authority."

"Let us go and see the prisoners," cried Borroughcliffe, with a view to
terminate a discussion that was likely to wax warm, and which he knew to
be useless; "perhaps they may quietly enroll themselves under the
banners of our sovereign, when all other interference, save that of
wholesome discipline, will become unnecessary."

"Nay, if they are of a rank in life to render such a step probable,"
returned the cornet, "I am well content that the matter should be thus
settled. I trust, however, that Captain Borroughcliffe will consider
that the --th light dragoons has some merit in this affair, and that we
are far short of our numbers in the second squadron."

"We shall not be difficult at a compromise," returned the captain;
"there is one apiece for us, and a toss of a guinea shall determine who
has the third man. Sergeant! follow, to deliver over your prisoners, and
relieve your sentry."

As they proceeded in compliance with this arrangement, to the building
in the rear, Colonel Howard, who made one of the party, observed:

"I dispute not the penetration of Captain Borroughcliffe, but I
understand Mr. Christopher Dillon that there is reason to believe one of
these men, at least, to be of a class altogether above that of a common
soldier; in which case, your plans may fall to the ground."

"And who does he deem the gentleman to be?" asked Borroughcliffe--"a
Bourbon in disguise, or a secret representative of the rebel congress?"

"Nay, nay: he said nothing more; my kinsman Kit keeps a close mouth
whenever Dame Justice is about to balance her scales. There are men who
may be said to have been born to be soldiers; of which number I should
call the Earl Cornwallis, who makes such head against the rebels in the
two Carolinas; others seem to be intended by nature for divines, and
saints on earth, such as their graces of York and Canterbury; while
another class appears as if it were impossible for them to behold things
unless with discriminating, impartial, and disinterested eyes; to which
I should say, belong my Lord Chief Justice Mansfield, and my kinsman,
Mr. Christopher Dillon. I trust, gentlemen, that when the royal arms
have crushed this rebellion, his majesty's ministers will see the
propriety of extending the dignity of the peerage to the colonies, as a
means of reward to the loyal, and a measure of policy to prevent further
disaffection; in which case I hope to see my kinsman decorated with the
ermine of justice bordering the mantle of a peer."

"Your expectations, my excellent sir, are right reasonable; as I doubt
not your kinsman will become, at some future day, that which he is not
at present, unhappily for his deserts, right honorable," said
Borroughcliffe. "But be of good heart, sir; from what I have seen of his
merits, I doubt not that the law will yet have its revenge in due
season, and that we shall be properly edified and instructed how to
attain elevation in life, by the future exaltation of Mr. Christopher
Dillon; though by what title he is to be then known, I am at a loss to
say."

Colonel Howard was too much occupied with his own ex-parte views of the
war and things in general, to observe the shrewd looks that were
exchanged between the soldiers; but he answered with perfect simplicity:

"I have reflected much on that point, and have come to the opinion, that
as he has a small estate on that river, he should, cause his first
barony to be known by the title of 'Pedee.'"

"Barony!" echoed Borroughcliffe; "I trust the new nobles of a new world
will disdain the old worn-out distinctions of a hackneyed universe--
eschew all baronies, mine host, and cast earldoms and dukedoms to the
shades. The immortal Locke has unlocked his fertile mind to furnish you
with appellations suited to the originality of your condition and the
nature of your country. Ah! here comes the Cacique of Pedee, in his
proper person!"

As Borroughcliffe spoke, they were ascending the flight of stone steps
which led to the upper apartments, where the prisoners were still
supposed to be confined; and, at the same moment, the sullen, gloomy
features of Dillon were seen as he advanced along the lower passage,
with an expression of malicious exultation hovering above his dark brow,
that denoted his secret satisfaction. As the hours passed away the
period had come round when the man who had been present at the escape of
Griffith and his friends was again posted to perform the duty of
sentinel. As this soldier well knew the situation of his trust, he was
very coolly adjusted, with his back against the wall, endeavoring to
compensate himself for his disturbed slumbers during the night, when the
sounds of the approaching footsteps warned him to assume the appearance
of watchfulness.

"How, now, fellow!" cried Borroughcliffe; "what have you to say to your
charge!"

"I believe the men sleep, your honor; for I have heard no noises from
the rooms since I relieved the last sentinel."

"The lads are weary, and are right to catch what sleep they can in their
comfortable quarters," returned the captain. "Stand to your arms,
sirrah! and throw back your shoulders; and do not move like a crab, or a
train-band corporal; do you not see an officer of horse coming up? Would
you disgrace your regiment?"

"Ah! your honor, Heaven only knows whether I shall ever get my shoulders
even again."

"Buy another plaster," said Borroughcliffe, slipping a shilling into his
hand; "observe, you know nothing but your duty."

"Which is, your honor----"

"To mind me, and be silent. But here comes the sergeant with his guard:
he will relieve you."

The rest of the party stopped at the other end of the gallery, to allow
the few files of soldiers who were led by the orderly to pass them, when
they all moved towards the prison in a body. The sentinel was relieved
in due military style; when Dillon placed his hand on one of the doors,
and said, with a malicious sneer:

"Open here first, Mr. Sergeant; this cage holds the man we most want."

"Softly, softly, my Lord Chief Justice, and most puissant Cacique," said
the captain; "the hour has not yet come to empanel a jury of fat yeomen,
and no man must interfere with my boys but myself."

"The rebuke is harsh, I must observe, Captain Borroughcliffe," said the
colonel, "but I pardon it because it is military. No, no, Kit these nice
points must be left to martial usages. Be not impatient, my cousin; I
doubt not the hour will come, when you shall hold the scales of justice
and satisfy your loyal longings on many a traitor. Zounds! I could
almost turn executioner myself in such a cause!"

"I can curb my impatience, sir," returned Dillon, with hypocritical
meekness, and great self-command, though his eyes were gleaming with
savage exultation. "I beg pardon of Captain Borroughcliffe, if, in my
desire to render the civil authority superior to the military, I have
trespassed on your customs."

"You see, Borroughcliffe!" exclaimed the colonel, exultingly, "the lad
is ruled by an instinct in all matters of law and justice. I hold it to
be impossible that a man thus endowed can ever become a disloyal
subject. But our breakfast waits, and Mr. Fitzgerald has breathed his
horse this cool morning; let us proceed at once to the examination."

Borroughcliffe motioned to the sergeant to open the door, when the whole
party entered the vacant room.

"Your prisoner has escaped!" cried the cornet, after a single moment
employed in making sure of the fact.

"Never! it must not, shall not be!" cried Dillon, quivering with rage,
as he glanced his eyes furiously around the apartment; "here has been
treachery! and foul treason to the king!"

"By whom committed, Mr. Christopher Dillon?" said Borroughcliffe,
knitting his brow, and speaking in a suppressed tone: "dare you, or any
man living, charge treason to the --th!"

A very different feeling from rage appeared now to increase the
shivering propensities of the future judge, who at once perceived it was
necessary to moderate his passion; and he returned, as it were by magic,
to his former plausible and insinuating manner, as he replied:

"Colonel Howard will understand the cause of my warm feelings, when I
tell him that this very room contained, last night, that disgrace to his
name and country, as well as traitor to his king, Edward Griffith, of
the rebel navy."

"What!" exclaimed the colonel, starting, "has that recreant youth dared
to pollute the threshold of St. Ruth with his footstep? but you dream,
Kit; there would be too much hardihood in the act."

"It appears not, sir," returned the other; "for though in this very
apartment he most certainly was, he is here no longer. And yet from this
window, though open, escape would seem to be impossible, even with much
assistance."

"If I thought that the contumelious boy had dared to be guilty of such
an act of gross impudence," cried the colonel, "I should be tempted to
resume my arms, in my old age, to punish his effrontery. What! is it not
enough that he entered my dwelling in the colony, availing himself of
the distraction of the times, with an intent to rob me of my choicest
jewel--ay! gentlemen, even of my brother Harry's daughter--but that he
must also invade this hallowed island with a like purpose, thus
thrusting his treason, as it were, into the presence of his abused
prince! No, no, Kit, thy loyalty misleads thee; he has never dared to do
the deed!"

"Listen, sir, and you shall be convinced," returned the pliant
Christopher, "I do not wonder at your unbelief; but as a good testimony
is the soul of justice, I cannot resist its influence. You know, that
two vessels, corresponding in appearance to the two rebel cruisers that
annoyed us so much in the Carolinas, have been seen on the coast for
several days, which induced us to beg the protection of Captain
Borroughcliffe. Three men are found, the day succeeding that on which we
hear that these vessels came within the shoals, stealing through the
grounds of St. Ruth, in sailors' attire. They are arrested, and in the
voice of one of them, sir, I immediately detected that of the traitor
Griffith. He was disguised, it is true, and cunningly so; but when a man
has devoted his whole life to the business of investigating truth," he
added, with an air of much modesty, "it is difficult to palm any
disguise on his senses,"

Colonel Howard was strongly impressed with the probability of these
conjectures, and the closing appeal confirmed him immediately in his
kinsman's opinion, while Borroughcliffe listened with deep interest to
the speakers, and more than once bit his lip with vexation. When Dillon
concluded, the soldier exclaimed:

"I'll swear there was a man among them who has been used to the drill."

"Nothing more probable, my worthy friend," said Dillon; "for as the
landing was never made without some evil purpose, rely on it, he came
not unguarded or unprotected. I dare say, the three were all officers,
and one of them might have been of the marines. That they had assistance
is certain, and it was because I felt assured they had a force secreted
at hand, that I went in quest of the reinforcement."

There was so much plausibility, and, in fact, so much truth in all this,
that conviction was unwillingly admitted by Borroughcliffe, who walked
aside a moment to conceal the confusion which, in spite of his ordinary
inflexibility of countenance, he felt was manifesting itself in his
rubric visage, while he muttered:

"The amphibious dog! he was a soldier, but a traitor and an enemy. No
doubt he will have a marvelous satisfaction in delighting the rebellious
ears of his messmates, by rehearsing the manner in which he poured cold
water down the back of one Borroughcliffe, of the --th, who was amusing
him, at the same time, by pouring good, rich, south-side Madeira down
his own rebellious throat. I have a good mind to exchange my scarlet
coat for a blue jacket, on purpose to meet the sly rascal on the other
element, where we can discuss the matter over again. Well, sergeant, do
you find the other two?"

"They are gone together, your honor," returned the orderly, who just
then re-entered from an examination of the other apartments; "and unless
the evil one helped them off, it's a mysterious business to me."

"Colonel Howard," said Borroughcliffe, gravely, "your precious south-
side cordial must be banished from the board, regularly with the cloth,
until I have my revenge; for satisfaction of this insult is mine to
claim, and I seek it this instant Go, Drill; detail a guard for the
protection of the house, and feed the rest of your command, then beat
the general, and we will take the field. Ay! my worthy veteran host, for
the first time since the days of the unlucky Charles Stuart, there shall
be a campaign in the heart of England."

"Ah! rebellion, rebellion! accursed, unnatural, unholy rebellion, caused
the calamity then and now!" exclaimed the colonel.

"Had I not better take a hasty refreshment for my men and their horses?"
asked the cornet; "and then make a sweep for a few miles along the
coast?" It may be my luck to encounter the fugitives, or some part of
their force."

"You have anticipated my very thoughts," returned Borroughcliffe. "The
Cacique of Pedee may close the gates of St. Ruth, and, by barring the
windows, and arming the servants, he can make a very good defence
against an attack, should they think proper to assail our fortress;
after he has repulsed them, leave it to me to cut off their retreat."

Dillon but little relished this proposal; for he thought an attempt to
storm the abbey would be the most probable course adopted by Griffith,
in order to rescue his mistress; and the jurist had none of the spirit
of a soldier in his composition. In truth, it was this deficiency that
had induced him to depart in person, the preceding night, in quest of
the reinforcement, instead of sending an express on the errand, But the
necessity of devising an excuse for a change in this dangerous
arrangement was obviated by Colonel Howard, who exclaimed, as soon as
Borroughcliffe concluded his plan:

"To me, Captain Borroughcliffe, belongs, of right, the duty of defending
St. Ruth, and it shall be no boy's play to force my works; but Kit would
rather try his chance in the open field, I know, Come, let us to our
breakfast, and then he shall mount, and act as a guide to the horse,
along the difficult passes of the seashore."

"To breakfast then let it be," cried the captain; "I distrust not my new
commander of the fortress; and in the field the Cacique forever! We
follow you, my worthy host."

This arrangement was hastily executed in all its parts. The gentlemen
swallowed their meal in the manner of men who ate only to sustain
nature, and as a duty; after which the whole house became a scene of
bustling activity. The troops were mustered and paraded; Borroughcliffe,
setting apart a guard for the building, placed himself at the head of
the remainder of his little party, and they moved out of the courtyard
in open order, and at quick time. Dillon joyfully beheld himself mounted
on one of the best of Colonel Howard's hunters, where he knew that he
had the control, in a great measure, of his own destiny; his bosom
throbbing with a powerful desire to destroy Griffith, while he
entertained a lively wish to effect his object without incurring any
personal risk. At his side was the young cornet, seated with practised
grace in his saddle, who, after giving time for the party of foot-
soldiers to clear the premises, glanced his eye along the few files he
led, and then gave the word to move. The little division of horse
wheeled briskly into open column, and the officer touching his cap to
Colonel Howard, they dashed through the gateway together, and pursued
their route towards the seaside at a hand-gallop.

The veteran lingered a few minutes, while the clattering of hoofs was to
be heard, or the gleam of arms was visible, to hear and gaze at sounds
and sights that he still loved; after which, he proceeded, in person,
and not without a secret enjoyment of the excitement, to barricade the
doors and windows, with an undaunted determination of making, in case of
need, a stout defence.

St. Ruth lay but a short two miles from the ocean; to which numerous
roads led, through the grounds of the abbey, which extended to the
shore. Along one of these paths Dillon conducted his party, until, after
a few minutes of hard riding, they approached the cliffs, when, posting
his troopers under cover of a little copse, the cornet rode in advance
with his guide, to the verge of the perpendicular rocks, whose bases
were washed by the foam that still whitened the waters from the surges
of the subsiding sea.

The gale had broken before the escape of the prisoners; and as the power
of the eastern tempest had gradually diminished, a light current from
the south, that blew directly along the land, prevailed; and, though the
ocean still rolled in fearful billows, their surfaces were smooth, and
they were becoming, at each moment, less precipitous and more regular.
The eyes of the horsemen were cast in vain over the immense expanse of
water that was glistening brightly under the rays of the sun, which had
just risen from its bosom, in quest of some object or distant sail that
might confirm their suspicions, or relieve their doubts. But everything
of that description appeared to have avoided the dangerous navigation
during the violence of the late tempest, and Dillon, was withdrawing his
eyes in disappointment from the vacant view, when, as they fell towards
the shore, he beheld that which caused him to exclaim:

"There they go! and, by heaven, they will escape!"

The cornet looked in the direction of the other's finger, when he
beheld, at a short distance from the land, and apparently immediately
under his feet, a little boat that looked like a dark shell upon the
water, rising and sinking amid the waves, as if the men it obviously
contained were resting on their oars in idle expectation.

"'Tis they!" continued Dillon; "or, what is more probable, it is their
boat waiting to convey them to their vessel; no common business would
induce seamen to lie in this careless manner, within such a narrow
distance of the surf."

"And what is to be done? They cannot be made to feel horse where they
are; nor would the muskets of the foot be of any use. A light three-
pounder would do its work handsomely on them!"

The strong desire which Dillon entertained to intercept, or rather to
destroy, the party, rendered him prompt at expedients. After a moment of
musing, he replied:

"The runaways must yet be on the land; and by scouring the coast, and
posting men at proper intervals, their retreat can easily be prevented;
in the mean time I will ride under the spur to----bay, where one of his
majesty's cutters now lies at anchor. It is but half an hour of hard
riding, and I can be on board of her. The wind blows directly in her
favor; and if we can once bring her down behind that headland, we shall
infallibly cut off or sink these midnight depredators."

"Off, then!" cried the cornet, whose young blood was boiling for a
skirmish; "you will at least drive them to the shore, where I can deal
with them."

The words were hardly uttered, before Dillon, after galloping furiously
along the cliffs, and turning short into a thick wood that lay in his
route, was out of sight. The loyalty of this gentleman was altogether of
a calculating nature, and was intimately connected with what he
considered his fealty to himself. He believed that the possession of
Miss Howard's person and fortune were advantages that would much more
than counterbalance any elevation that he was likely to obtain by the
revolution of affairs in his native colony. He considered Griffith as
the only natural obstacle to his success; and he urged his horse forward
with a desperate determination to work the ruin of the young sailor
before another sun had set. When a man labors in an evil cause, with
such feelings, and with such incentives, he seldom slights or neglects
his work; and Mr. Dillon, accordingly, was on board the Alacrity several
minutes short of the time in which he had promised to perform the
distance.

The plain old seaman, who commanded the cutter, listened to his tale
with cautious ears; and examined into the state of the weather, and
other matters connected with his duty, with the slow and deliberate
decision of one who had never done much to acquire a confidence in
himself, and who had been but niggardly rewarded for the little he had
actually performed.

As Dillon was urgent, however, and the day seemed propitious, he at
length decided to act as he was desired, and the cutter was accordingly
gotten under way.

A crew of something less than fifty men moved with no little of their
commander's deliberation; but as the little vessel rounded the point
behind which she had been anchored, her guns were cleared, and the usual
preparations were completed for immediate and actual service.

Dillon, sorely against his will, was compelled to continue on board, in
order to point out the place where the suspecting boatmen were expected,
to be entrapped. Everything being ready, when they had gained a safe
distance from the land, the Alacrity was kept away before the wind, and
glided along the shore with a swift and easy progress that promised a
speedy execution of the business in which her commander had embarked.




CHAPTER XVII.

  "_Pol_. Very like a whale."
   _Shakespeare._


Notwithstanding the object of their expedition was of a public nature,
the feelings which had induced both Griffith and Barnstable to accompany
the Pilot with so much willingness, it will easily be seen, were
entirely personal. The short intercourse that he had maintained with his
associates enabled the mysterious leader of their party to understand
the characters of his two principal officers so thoroughly, as to induce
him, when he landed, with the purpose of reconnoitering to ascertain
whether the objects of his pursuit still held their determination to
assemble at the appointed hour, to choose Griffith and Manual as his
only associates, leaving Barnstable in command of his own vessel, to
await their return, and to cover their retreat. A good deal of argument,
and some little of the authority of his superior officer, was necessary
to make Barnstable quietly acquiesce in this arrangement; but as his
good sense told him that nothing should be unnecessarily hazarded, until
the moment to strike the final blow had arrived, he became gradually
more resigned; taking care, however, to caution Griffith to reconnoiter
the abbey while his companion was reconnoitering ---- house. It was the
strong desire of Griffith to comply with this injunction, which carried
them a little out of their proper path, and led to the consequences that
we have partly related. The evening of that day was the time when the
Pilot intended to complete his enterprise, thinking to entrap his game
while enjoying the festivities that usually succeed their sports; and an
early hour in the morning was appointed, when Barnstable should appear
at the nearest point to the abbey, to take off his countrymen, in order
that they might be as little as possible subjected to the gaze of their
enemies by daylight. If they failed to arrive at the appointed time, his
instructions were to return to his schooner, which lay snugly embayed in
a secret and retired haven, that but few ever approached, either by land
or water.

While the young cornet still continued gazing at the whale-boat (for it
was the party from the schooner that he saw), the hour expired for the
appearance of Griffith and his companions; and Barnstable reluctantly
determined to comply with the letter of his instructions, and leave them
to their own sagacity and skill to regain the Ariel. The boat had been
suffered to ride in the edge of the surf, since the appearance of the
sun; and the eyes of her crew were kept anxiously fixed on the cliffs,
though in vain, to discover the signal that was to call them to the
place of landing. After looking at his watch for the twentieth time, and
as often casting glances of uneasy dissatisfaction towards the shore,
the lieutenant exclaimed:

"A charming prospect, this, Master Coffin, but rather too much poetry in
it for your taste; I believe you relish no land that is of a harder
consistency than mud!"

"I was born on the waters, sir," returned the cockswain, from his snug
abode, where he was bestowed with his usual economy of room, "and it's
according to all things for a man to love his native soil. I'll not
deny, Captain Barnstable, but I would rather drop my anchor on a bottom
that won't broom a keel, though, at the same time, I harbor no great
malice against dry land."

"I shall never forgive it, myself, if any accident has befallen Griffith
in this excursion," rejoined the lieutenant; "his Pilot may be a better
man on the water than on terra firma, long Tom."

The cockswain turned his solemn visage, with an extraordinary meaning,
towards his commander, before he replied:

"For as long a time as I have followed the waters, sir, and that has
been ever since I've drawn my rations, seeing that I was born while the
boat was crossing Nantucket shoals, I've never known a pilot come off in
greater need, than the one we fell in with, when we made that stretch of
two on the land, in the dog-watch of yesterday."

"Ay! the fellow has played his part like a man; the occasion was great,
and it seems that he was quite equal to his work."

"The frigate's people tell me, sir, that he handled the ship like a
top," continued the cockswain; "but she is a ship that is a nateral
inimy of the bottom!"

"Can you say as much for this boat, Master Coffin?" cried Barnstable:
"keep her out of the surf, or you'll have us rolling in upon the beach,
presently, like an empty water-cask; you must remember that we cannot
all wade, like yourself in two-fathom water."

The cockswain cast a cool glance at the crests of foam that were
breaking over the tops of the billows, within a few yards of where their
boat was riding, and called aloud to his men:

"Pull a stroke or two; away with her into dark water."

The drop of the oars resembled the movements of a nice machine, and the
light boat skimmed along the water like a duck that approaches to the
very brink of some imminent danger, and then avoids it, at the most
critical moment, apparently without an effort. While this necessary
movement was making, Barnstable arose, and surveyed the cliffs with keen
eyes, and then turning once more in disappointment from his search, he
said:

"Pull more from the land, and let her run down at an easy stroke to the
schooner. Keep a lookout at the cliffs, boys; it is possible that they
are stowed in some of the holes in the rocks, for it's no daylight
business they are on."

The order was promptly obeyed, and they had glided along for nearly a
mile in this manner, in the most profound silence, when suddenly the
stillness was broken by a heavy rush of air, and a dash of the water,
seemingly at no great distance from them.

"By heaven, Tom," cried Barnstable, starting, "there is the blow of a
whale!"

"Ay, ay, sir," returned the cockswain with undisturbed composure; "here
is his spout not half a mile to seaward; the easterly gale has driven
the creatur to leeward, and he begins to find himself in shoal water.
He's been sleeping, while he should have been working to windward!"

"The fellow takes it coolly, too! he's in no hurry to get an offing!"

"I rather conclude, sir," said the cockswain, rolling over his tobacco
in his mouth very composedly, while his little sunken eyes began to
twinkle with pleasure at the sight, "the gentleman has lost his
reckoning, and don't know which way to head to take himself back into
blue water."

"Tis a finback!" exclaimed the lieutenant; "he will soon make headway,
and be off."

"No, sir, 'tis a right-whale," answered Tom; "I saw his spout; he threw
up a pair of as pretty rainbows as a Christian would wish to look at.
He's a raal oil-butt, that fellow!"

Barnstable laughed, turned himself away from the tempting sight, and
tried to look at the cliffs; and then unconsciously bent his longing
eyes again on the sluggish animal, who was throwing his huge carcass, at
times, for many feet from the water, in idle gambols. The temptation for
sport, and the recollection of his early habits, at length prevailed
over his anxiety in behalf of his friends, and the young officer
inquired of his cockswain:

"Is there any whale-line in the boat, to make fast to that harpoon which
you bear about with you in fair weather or foul?"

"I never trust the boat from the schooner without part of a shot, sir,"
returned the cockswain; "there if something nateral in the sight of a
tub to my old eyes."

Barnstable looked at his watch, and again at the cliffs, when he
exclaimed, in joyous tones:

"Give strong way, my hearties! There seems nothing better to be done;
let us have a stroke of a harpoon at that impudent rascal."

The men shouted spontaneously, and the old cockswain suffered his solemn
visage to relax into a small laugh, while the whale-boat sprang forward
like a courser for the goal. During the few minutes they were pulling
towards their game, long Tom arose from his crouching attitude in the
stern-sheets, and transferred his huge form to the bows of the boat,
where he made such preparations to strike the whale as the occasion
required. The tub, containing about half of a whale-line, was placed at
the feet of Barnstabie, who had been preparing an oar to steer with in
place of the rudder, which was unshipped, in order that, if necessary,
the boat might be whirled round when not advancing.

Their approach was utterly unnoticed by the monster of the deep, who
continued to amuse himself with throwing the water in two circular
spouts high into the air, occasionally flourishing the broad flukes of
his tail with a graceful but terrific force, until the hardy seamen were
within a few hundred feet of him, when he suddenly cast his head
downward and, without an apparent effort, reared his immense body for
many feet above the water, waving his tail violently, and producing a
whizzing noise, that sounded like the rushing of winds.

The cockswain stood erect, poising his harpoon, ready for the blow; but
when he beheld the creature assume this formidable attitude, he waved
his hand to his commander, who instantly signed to his men to cease
rowing. In this situation the sportsmen rested a few moments, while the
whale, struck several blows on the water in rapid succession, the noise
of which re-echoed along the cliffs, like the hollow reports of so many
cannon. After this wanton exhibition of his terrible strength, the
monster sank again into his native element, and slowly disappeared from
the eyes of his pursuers.

"Which way did he head, Tom?" cried Barnstable, the moment the whale was
out of sight.

"Pretty much up and down, sir," returned the cockswain, whose eye was
gradually brightened with the excitement of the sport; "he'll soon run
his nose against the bottom if he stands long on that course, and will
be glad to get another snuff of pure air; send her a few fathoms to
starboard, sir, and I promise we shall not be out of his track."

The conjecture of the experienced old seaman proved true; for in a few
moments the water broke near them, and another spout was cast into the
air, when the huge animal rushed for half his length in the same
direction, and fell on the sea with a turbulence and foam equal to that
which is produced by the launching of a vessel, for the first time, into
its proper element. After this evolution the whale rolled heavily, and
seemed to rest for further efforts.

His slightest movements were closely watched by Barnstable and his
cockswain, and when he was in a state of comparative rest, the former
gave a signal to his crew to ply their oars once more. A few long and
vigorous strokes sent the boat directly up to the broadside of the
whale, with its bows pointing towards one of the fins, which was, at
times, as the animal yielded sluggishly to the action of the waves,
exposed to view. The cockswain poised his harpoon with much precision,
and then darted it from him with a violence that buried the iron in the
blubber of their foe. The instant the blow was made, long Tom shouted,
with singular earnestness:

"Starn all!"

"Stern all!" echoed Barnstable; when the obedient seamen, by united
efforts, forced the boat in a backward direction beyond the reach of any
blow from their formidable antagonist. The alarmed animal, however,
meditated no such resistance; ignorant of his own power, and of the
insignificance of his enemies, he sought refuge in flight. One moment of
stupid surprise succeeded the entrance of the iron, when he cast his
huge tail into the air, with a violence that threw the sea around him
into increased commotion, and then disappeared with the quickness of
lightning, amid a cloud of foam.

"Snub him!" shouted Barnstable; "hold on, Tom; he rises already."

"Ay, ay, sir," replied the composed cockswain, seizing the line, which
was running out of the boat with a velocity that rendered such a
manoeuvre rather hazardous, and causing it to yield more gradually round
the large loggerhead that was placed in the bows of the boat for that
purpose. Presently the line stretched forward, and rising to the surface
with tremulous vibrations, it indicated the direction in which the
animal might be expected to reappear. Barnstable had cast the bows of
the boat towards that point, before the terrified and wounded victim
rose once more to the surface, whose time was, however, no longer wasted
in his sports, but who cast the waters aside as he forced his way, with
prodigious velocity, along the surface. The boat was dragged violently
in his wake, and cut through the billows with a terrific rapidity, that
at moments appeared to bury the slight fabric in the ocean. When long
Tom beheld his victim throwing his spouts on high again, he pointed with
exultation to the jetting fluid, which was streaked with the deep red of
blood, and cried:

"Ay! I've touched the fellow's life! it must be more than two foot of
blubber that stops my iron from reaching the life of any whale that ever
sculled the ocean!"

"I believe you have saved yourself the trouble of using the bayonet you
have rigged for a lance," said his commander, who entered into the sport
with all the ardor of one whose youth had been chiefly passed in such
pursuits: "feel your line, Master Coffin; can we haul alongside of our
enemy? I like not the course he is steering, as he tows us from the
schooner."

"'Tis the creatur's way, sir," said the cockswain; "you know they need
the air in their nostrils, when they run, the same as a man; but lay
hold, boys, and let's haul up to him."

The seamen now seized the whale-line, and slowly drew their boat to
within a few feet of the tail of the fish, whose progress became
sensibly less rapid, as he grew weak with the loss of blood. In a few
minutes he stopped running, and appeared to roll uneasily on the water,
as if suffering the agony of death.

"Shall we pull in, and finish him, Tom?" cried Barnstable; "a few sets
from your bayonet would do it."

The cockswain stood examining his game with cool discretion, and replied
to this interrogatory:

"No, sir, no--he's going into his flurry; there's no occasion for
disgracing ourselves by using a soldier's weapon in taking a whale.
Starn off, sir, starn off! the creater's in his flurry!"

The warning of the prudent cockswain was promptly obeyed, and the boat
cautiously drew off to a distance, leaving to the animal a clear space,
while under its dying agonies. From a state of perfect rest, the
terrible monster threw its tail on high, as when in sport, but its blows
were trebled in rapidity and violence, till all was hid from view by a
pyramid of foam, that was deeply dyed with blood. The roarings of the
fish were like the bellowing of a herd of bulls; and to one who was
ignorant of the fact, it would have appeared as if a thousand monsters
were engaged in deadly combat behind the bloody mist that obscured the
view. Gradually, these effects subsided, and when the discolored water
again settled down to the long and regular swell of the ocean, the fish
was seen, exhausted, and yielding passively to its fate. As life
departed, the enormous black mass rolled to one side; and when the white
and glistening skin of the belly became apparent, the seamen well knew
that their victory was achieved.

"What's to be done now?" said Barnstable, as he stood and gazed with a
diminished excitement at their victim; "he will yield no food, and his
carcass will probably drift to land, and furnish our enemies with the
oil."

"If I had but that creatur in Boston Bay," said the cockswain, "it would
prove the making of me; but such is my luck forever! Pull up, at any
rate, and let me get my harpoon and line--the English shall never get
them while old Tom Coffin can blow."

"Don't speak too fast," said the strokesman of the boat; "whether he get
your iron or not, here he comes in chase!"

"What mean you, fellow?" cried Barnstable.

"Captain Barnstable can look for himself," returned the seaman, "and
tell whether I speak truth."

The young sailor turned, and saw the Alacrity bearing down before the
wind, with all her sails set, as she rounded a headland, but a short
half-league to windward of the place where the boat lay.

"Pass that glass to me," said the captain, with steady composure. "This
promises us work in one of two ways: if she be armed, it has become our
turn to run; if not, we are strong enough to carry her."

A very brief survey made the experienced officer acquainted with the
true character of the vessel in sight; and, replacing the glass with
much coolness, he said:

"That fellow shows long arms, and ten teeth, besides King George's
pennant from his topmast-head. Now, my lads, you are to pull for your
lives; for whatever may be the notions of Master Coffin on the subject
of his harpoon, I have no inclination to have my arms pinioned by John
Bull, though his majesty himself put on the irons."

The men well understood the manner and meaning of their commander; and,
throwing aside their coats, they applied themselves in earnest to their
task. For half an hour a profound silence reigned in the boat, which
made an amazing progress. But many circumstances conspired to aid the
cutter; she had a fine breeze, with smooth water, and a strong tide in
her favor; and, at the expiration of the time we have mentioned, it was
but too apparent that the distance between the pursued and the pursuers
was lessened nearly by half. Barnstable preserved his steady
countenance, but there was an expression of care gathering around his
dark brow, which indicated that he saw the increasing danger of their
situation.

"That fellow has long legs, Master Coffin," he said, in a cheerful tone;
"your whale-line must go overboard, and the fifth oar must be handled by
your delicate hands."

Tom arose from his seat, and proceeding forward, he cast the tub and its
contents together into the sea, when he seated himself at the bow oar,
and, bent his athletic frame with amazing vigor to the task.

"Ah! there is much of your philosophy in that stroke, long Tom," cried
his commander; "keep it up, boys; and if we gain nothing else, we shall
at least gain time for deliberation. Come, Master Coffin, what think
you! We have three resources before us, let us hear which is jour
choice; first, we can turn and fight and be sunk; secondly, we can pull
to the land, and endeavor to make good our retreat to the schooner in
that manner; and thirdly, we can head to the shore, and possibly, by
running under the guns of that fellow, get the wind of him, and keep the
air in our nostrils, after the manner of the whale. Damn the whale! but
for the tow the black rascal gave us, we should have been out of sight
of this rover!"

"If we fight," said Tom, with quite as much composure as his commander
manifested, "we shall be taken or sunk; if we land, sir, I shall be
taken for one man, as I never could make any headway on dry ground; and
if we try to get the wind of him by pulling under the cliffs, we shall
be cut off by a parcel of lubbers that I can see running along their
edges, hoping, I dare say, that they shall be able to get a skulking
shot at a boat's crew of honest seafaring men."

"You speak with as much truth as philosophy, Tom," said Barnstable, who
saw his slender hopes of success curtailed by the open appearance of the
horse and foot on the cliffs. "These Englishmen have not slept the last
night, and I fear Griffith and Manual will fare but badly. That fellow
brings a capful of wind down with him--'tis just his play, and he walks
like a race-horse. Ha! he begins to be in earnest!"

While Barnstable was speaking, a column of white smoke was seen issuing
from the bows of the cutter; and as the report of a cannon was wafted to
their ears, the shot was seen skipping from wave to wave, tossing the
water in spray, and flying to a considerable distance beyond them. The
seamen cast cursory glances in the direction of the passing ball, but it
produced no manifest effect in either their conduct or appearance. The
cockswain, who scanned its range with an eye of more practice than the
rest, observed, "That's a lively piece for its metal, and it speaks with
a good clear voice; but if they hear it aboard the Ariel, the man who
fired it will be sorry it wasn't born dumb."

"You are the prince of philosophers, Master Coffin!" cried Barnstable;
"there is some hope in that; let the Englishmen talk away, and, my life
on it, the Ariels don't believe it is thunder; hand me a musket--I'll
draw another shot."

The piece was given to Barnstable, who discharged it several times, as
if to taunt their enemies; and the scheme was completely successful.
Goaded by the insults, the cutter discharged gun after gun at the little
boat, throwing the shot frequently so near as to wet her crew with the
spray, but without injuring them in the least. The failure of these
attempts of the enemy excited the mirth of the reckless seamen, instead
of creating any alarm; and whenever a shot came nearer than common, the
cockswain would utter some such expression as:

"A ground swell, a long shot, and a small object, make a clean target;"
or, "A man must squint straight to hit a boat."

As, notwithstanding their unsuccessful gunnery, the cutter was
constantly gaining on the whale-boat, there was a prospect of a speedy
termination of the chase, when the report of a cannon was thrown back
like an echo from one of the Englishman's discharges, and Barnstable and
his companions had the pleasure of seeing the Ariel stretching slowly
out of the little bay where she had passed the night, with the smoke of
the gun of defiance curling above her taper masts.

A loud and simultaneous shout of rapture was given by the lieutenant and
all his boat's crew, at this cheering sight, while the cutter took in
all her light sails, and, as she hauled up on a wind, she fired a whole
broadside at the successful fugitives. Many stands of grape, with
several round shot, flew by the boat and fell upon the water near them,
raising a cloud of foam, but without doing any injury.

"She dies in a flurry," said Tom, casting his eyes at the little vortex
into which the boat was then entering.

"If her commander be a true man," cried Barnstable, "he'll not leave us
on so short an acquaintance. Give way, my souls! give way! I would see
more of this loquacious cruiser."

The temptation for exertion was great, and it was not disregarded by the
men; in a few minutes the whale-boat reached the schooner, when the crew
of the latter received their commander and his companions with shouts
and cheers that rang across the waters, and reached the ears of the
disappointed spectators on the verge of the cliffs.




CHAPTER XVIII.

  "Thus guided on their course they bore,
  Until they near'd the mainland shore;
  When frequent on the hollow blast,
  Wild shouts of merriment were cast."
  _Lord of the Isles_.


The joyful shouts and hearty cheers of the Ariel's crew continued for
some time after her commander had reached her deck. Barnstable answered
the congratulations of his officers by cordial shakes of the hand; and
after waiting for the ebullition of delight among the seamen to subside
a little, he beckoned with an air of authority for silence.

"I thank you, my lads, for your good-will," he said, when all were
gathered around him in deep attention; "they have given us a tough
chase, and if you had left us another mile to go, we had been lost. That
fellow is a king's cutter; and though his disposition to run to leeward
is a good deal mollified, yet he shows signs of fight. At any rate, he
is stripping off some of his clothes, which looks as if he were game.
Luckily for us, Captain Manual has taken all the marines ashore with
him, (though what he has done with them, or himself, is a mystery,) or
we should have had our decks lumbered with live cattle; but, as it is,
we have a good working breeze, tolerably smooth water, and a dead match!
There is a sort of national obligation on us to whip that fellow; and
therefore, without more words about the matter, let us turn to and do
it, that we may get our breakfasts."

To this specimen of marine eloquence the crew cheered as usual, the
young men burning for the combat, and the few old sailors who belonged
to the schooner shaking their heads with infinite satisfaction, and
swearing by sundry strange oaths that their captain "could talk, when
there was need of such thing, like the best dictionary that ever was
launched."

During this short harangue and the subsequent comments, the Ariel had
been kept, under a cloud of canvas, as near to the wind as she could
lie; and as this was her best sailing, she had stretched swiftly out
from the land, to a distance whence the cliffs and the soldiers, who
were spread along their summits, became plainly visible. Barnstable
turned his glass repeatedly from the cutter to the shore, as different
feelings predominated in his breast, before he again spoke.

"If Mr. Griffith is stowed away among those rocks," he at length said,
"he shall see as pretty an argument discussed, in as few words, as he
ever listened to, provided the gentlemen in yonder cutter have not
changed their minds as to the road they intend to journey--what think
you, Mr. Merry?"

"I wish with all my heart and soul, sir," returned the fearless boy,
"that Mr. Griffith was safe aboard us; it seems the country is alarmed,
and God knows what will happen if he is taken! As to the fellow to
windward, he'll find it easier to deal with the Ariel's boat than with
her mother; but he carries a broad sail; I question if he means to show
play."

"Never doubt him, boy," said Barnstable, "he is working off the shore,
like a man of sense, and besides, he has his spectacles on, trying to
make out what tribe of Yankee Indians we belong to. You'll see him come
to the wind presently, and send a few pieces of iron down this way, by
way of letting us know where to find him. Much as I like your first
lieutenant, Mr. Merry, I would rather leave him on the land this day,
than see him on my decks. I want no fighting captain to work this boat
for me! But tell the drummer, sir, to beat to quarters."

The boy, who was staggering under the weight of his melodious
instrument, had been expecting this command, and, without waiting for
the midshipman to communicate the order, he commenced that short rub-a-
dub air, that will at any time rouse a thousand men from the deepest
sleep, and cause them to fly to their means of offence with a common
soul. The crew of the Ariel had been collected in groups studying the
appearance of the enemy, cracking their jokes, and waiting only for this
usual order to repair to the guns; and at the first tap of the drum,
they spread with steadiness to the different parts of the little vessel,
where their various duties called them. The cannon were surrounded by
small parties of vigorous and athletic young men; the few marines were
drawn up in array with muskets; the officers appeared in their boarding-
caps, with pistols stuck in their belts, and naked sabres in their
hands. Barnstable paced his little quarter-deck with a firm tread,
dangling a speaking-trumpet by its lanyard on his forefinger, or
occasionally applying the glass to his eye, which, when not in use, was
placed under one arm, while his sword was resting against the foot of
the mainmast; a pair of heavy ship's pistols were thrust into his belt
also; and piles of muskets, boarding-pikes, and naked sabres were placed
on different parts of the deck. The laugh of the seamen was heard no
longer, and those who spoke uttered their thoughts only in low and
indistinct whispers.

The English cutter held her way from the land, until she got an offing
of more than two miles, when she reduced her sails to a yet smaller
number; and, heaving into the wind, she fired a gun in a direction
opposite to that which pointed to the Ariel.

"Now I would wager a quintal of codfish, Master Coffin," said
Barnstable, "against the best cask of porter that was ever brewed in
England, that fellow believes a Yankee schooner can fly in the wind's
eye! If he wishes to speak to us, why don't he give his cutter a little
sheet, and come down?"

The cockswain had made his arrangements for the combat, with much more
method and philosophy than any other man in the vessel. When the drum
beat to quarters, he threw aside his jacket, vest, and shirt, with as
little hesitation as if he stood under an American sun, and with all the
discretion of a man who had engaged in an undertaking that required the
free use of his utmost powers. As he was known to be a privileged
individual in the Ariel, and one whose opinions, in all matters of
seamanship, were regarded as oracles by the crew, and were listened to
by his commander with no little demonstration of respect, the question
excited no surprise. He was standing at the breech of his long gun, with
his brawny arms folded on a breast that had been turned to the color of
blood by long exposure, his grizzled locks fluttering in the breeze, and
his tall form towering far above the heads of all near him.

"He hugs the wind, sir, as if it was his sweetheart," was his answer;
"but he'll let go his hold soon; and if he don't, we can find a way to
make him fall to leeward."

"Keep a good full!" cried the commander, in a stern voice; "and let the
vessel go through the water. That fellow walks well, long Tom; but we
are too much for him on a bowline; though, if he continue to draw ahead
in this manner, it will be night before we can get alongside him."

"Ay, ay, sir," returned the cockswain; "them cutters carries a press of
canvas when they seem to have but little; their gafts are all the same
as young booms, and spread a broad head to their mainsails. But it's no
hard matter to knock a few cloths out of their bolt-ropes, when she will
both drop astarn and to leeward."

"I believe there is good sense in your scheme, this time," said
Barnstable; "for I am anxious about the frigate's people--though I hate
a noisy chase; speak to him, Tom, and let us see if he will answer."

"Ay, ay, sir," cried the cockswain, sinking his body in such a manner as
to let his head fall to a level with the cannon that he controlled,
when, after divers orders and sundry movements to govern the direction
of the piece, he applied a match, with a rapid motion, to the priming.
An immense body of white smoke rushed from the muzzle of the cannon,
followed by a sheet of vivid fire, until, losing its power, it yielded
to the wind, and, as it rose from the water, spread like a cloud, and,
passing through the masts of the schooner, was driven far to leeward,
and soon blended in the mists which were swiftly scudding before the
fresh breezes of the ocean.

Although many curious eyes were watching this beautiful sight from the
cliffs, there was too little of novelty in the exhibition to attract a
single look of the crew of the schooner from the more important
examination of the effect of the shot on their enemy. Barnstable sprang
lightly on a gun, and watched the instant when the ball would strike,
with keen interest, while long Tom threw himself aside from the line of
the smoke with a similar intention; holding one of his long arms
extended toward his namesake, with a finger on the vent, and supporting
his frame by placing the hand of the other on the deck, as his eyes
glanced through an opposite port-hole, in an attitude that most men
might have despaired of imitating with success.

"There go the chips!" cried Barnstable. "Bravo! Master Coffin, you never
planted iron in the ribs of an English man with more judgment. Let him
have another piece of it; and if he like the sport, we'll play a game of
long bowls with him!"

"Ay, ay, sir," returned the cockswain, who, the instant he witnessed the
effects of his shot, had returned to superintend the reloading of his
gun; "if he holds on half an hour longer, I'll dub him down to our own
size, when we can close, and make an even fight of it."

The drum of the Englishman was now, for the first time, heard rattling
across the waters, and echoing the call to quarters, that had already
proceeded from the Ariel.

"Ay! you have sent him to his guns!" said Barnstable; "we shall now hear
more of it; wake him up, Tom--wake him up."

"We shall start him on end, or put him to sleep altogether, shortly,"
said the deliberate cockswain, who never allowed himself to be at all
hurried, even by his commander. My shot are pretty much like a shoal of
porpoises, and commonly sail in each other's wake. Stand by--heave her
breech forward--so; get out of that, you damned young reprobate, and let
my harpoon alone!"

"What are you at, there, Master Coffin?" cried Barnstable; "are you
tongue-tied?"

"Here's one of the boys skylarking with my harpoon in the lee-scuppers,
and by and by, when I shall want it most, there'll be a no-man's land to
hunt for it in."

"Never mind the boy, Tom; send him aft here to me, and I'll polish his
behavior; give the Englishman some more iron."

"I want the little villain to pass up my cartridges," returned the angry
old seaman; "but if you'll be so good, sir, as to hit him a crack or
two, now and then, as he goes by you to the magazine, the monkey will
learn his manners, and the schooner's work will be all the better done
for it. A young herring-faced monkey! to meddle with a tool ye don't
know the use of. If your parents had spent more of their money on your
edication, and less on your outfit, you'd ha' been a gentleman to what
ye are now."

"Hurrah! Tom, hurrah!" cried Barnstable, a little impatiently; "is your
namesake never to open his throat again!"

"Ay, ay, sir; all ready," grumbled the cockswain; "depress a little; so
--so; a damned young baboon-behaved curmudgeon; overhaul that forward
fall more; stand by with your match--but I'll pay him!--fire!" This was
the actual commencement of the fight; for as the shot of Tom Coffin
traveled, as he had intimated, very much in the same direction, their
enemy found the sport becoming too hot to be endured in silence, and the
report of the second gun from the Ariel was instantly followed by that
of the whole broadside of the Alacrity. The shot of the cutter flew in a
very good direction, but her guns were too light to give them efficiency
at that distance; and as one or two were heard to strike against the
bends of the schooner, and fall back, innocuously, into the water, the
cockswain, whose good-humor became gradually restored as the combat
thickened, remarked with his customary apathy:

"Them count for no more than love-taps--does the Englishman think that
we are firing salutes!"

"Stir him up, Tom! every blow you give him will help to open his eyes,"
cried Barnstable, rubbing his hands with glee, as he witnessed the
success of his efforts to close.

Thus far the cockswain and his crew had the fight, on the part of the
Ariel, altogether to themselves, the men who were stationed at the
smaller and shorter guns standing in perfect idleness by their sides;
but in ten or fifteen minutes the commander of the Alacrity, who had
been staggered by the weight of the shot that had struck him, found that
it was no longer in his power to retreat, if he wished it; when he
decided on the only course that was left for a brave man to pursue, and
steered boldly in such a direction as would soonest bring him in contact
with his enemy, without exposing his vessel to be raked by his fire.
Barnstable watched each movement of his foe with eagle eyes, and when
the vessel had got within a lessened distance, he gave the order for a
general fire to be opened. The action now grew warm and spirited on both
sides. The power of the wind was counteracted by the constant explosion
of the cannon; and, instead of driving rapidly to leeward, a white
canopy of curling smoke hung above the Ariel, or rested on the water,
lingering in her wake, so as to mark the path by which she was
approaching to a closer and still deadlier struggle. The shouts of the
young sailors, as they handled their instruments of death, became more
animated and fierce, while the cockswain pursued his occupation with the
silence and skill of one who labored in a regular vocation. Barnstable
was unusually composed and quiet, maintaining the grave deportment of a
commander on whom rested the fortunes of the contest, at the same time
that his dark eyes were dancing with the fire of suppressed animation.

"Give it them!" he occasionally cried, in a voice that might be heard
amid the bellowing of the cannon; "never mind their cordage, my lads;
drive home their bolts, and make your marks below their ridge-ropes."

In the mean time the Englishman played a manful game.

He had suffered a heavy loss by the distant cannonade, which no metal he
possessed could retort upon his enemy; but he struggled nobly to repair
the error in judgment with which he had begun the contest. The two
vessels gradually drew nigher to each other, until they both entered
into the common cloud created by their fire, which thickened and spread
around them in such a manner as to conceal their dark hulls from the
gaze of the curious and interested spectators on the cliffs. The heavy
reports of the cannon were now mingled with the rattling of muskets and
pistols, and streaks of fire might be seen glancing like flashes of
lightning through the white cloud which enshrouded the combatants; and
many minutes of painful uncertainty followed, before the deeply
interested soldiers, who were gazing at the scene, discovered on whose
banners victory had alighted.

We shall follow the combatants into their misty wreath, and display to
the reader the events as they occurred.

The fire of the Ariel was much the most quick and deadly, both because
she had suffered less, and her men were less exhausted; and the cutter
stood desperately on to decide the combat, after grappling, hand to
hand. Barnstable anticipated her intention and well understood her
commander's reason for adopting this course; but he was not a man to
calculate coolly his advantages, when pride and daring invited him to a
more severe trial. Accordingly, he met the enemy half-way, and, as the
vessels rushed together, the stern of the schooner was secured to the
bows of the cutter, by the joint efforts of both parties. The voice of
the English commander was now plainly to be heard, in the uproar,
calling to his men to follow him.

"Away there, boarders! repel boarders on the starboard quarter!" shouted
Barnstable, through his trumpet.

This was the last order that the gallant young sailor gave with this
instrument; for, as he spoke, he cast it from him, and, seizing his
sabre, flew to the spot where the enemy was about to make his most
desperate effort. The shouts, execrations, and tauntings of the
combatants, now succeeded to the roar of the cannon, which could be used
no longer with effect, though the fight was still maintained with
spirited discharges of the small-arms.

"Sweep him from his decks!" cried the English commander, as he appeared
on his own bulwarks, surrounded by a dozen of his bravest men; "drive
the rebellious dogs into the sea!"

"Away there, marines!" retorted Barnstable, firing his pistol at the
advancing enemy; "leave not a man of them to sup his grog again."

The tremendous and close volley that succeeded this order nearly
accomplished the command of Barnstable to the letter, and the commander
of the Alacrity, perceiving that he stood alone, reluctantly fell back
on the deck of his own vessel, in order to bring on his men once more.

"Board her! graybeards and boys, idlers and all!" shouted Barnstable,
springing in advance of his crew--a powerful arm arrested the movement
of the dauntless seaman, and before he had time to recover himself, he
was drawn violently back to his own vessel by the irresistible grasp of
his cockswain.

"The fellow's in his flurry," said Tom, "and it wouldn't be wise to go
within reach of his flukes; but I'll just step ahead and give him a set
with my harpoon."

Without waiting for a reply, the cockswain reared his tall frame on the
bulwarks, and was in the attitude of stepping on board of his enemy,
when a sea separated the vessels, and he fell with a heavy dash of the
waters into the ocean. As twenty muskets and pistols were discharged at
the instant he appeared, the crew of the Ariel supposed his fall to be
occasioned by his wounds, and were rendered doubly fierce by the sight,
and the cry of their commander to:

"Revenge long Tom! board her! long Tom or death!"

They threw themselves forward in irresistible numbers, and forced a
passage, with much bloodshed, to the forecastle of the Alacrity. The
Englishman was overpowered, but still remained undaunted--he rallied his
crew, and bore up most gallantly to the fray. Thrusts of pikes and blows
of sabres were becoming close and deadly, while muskets and pistols were
constantly discharged by those who were kept at a distance by the
pressure of the throng of closer combatants.

Barnstable led his men in advance, and became a mark of peculiar
vengeance to his enemies, as they slowly yielded before his vigorous
assaults. Chance had placed the two commanders on opposite sides of the
cutter's deck, and the victory seemed to incline towards either party,
whenever these daring officers directed the struggle in person. But the
Englishman, perceiving that the ground he maintained in person was lost
elsewhere, made an effort to restore the battle, by changing his
position, followed by one or two of his best men. A marine, who preceded
him, leveled his musket within a few feet of the head of the American
commander, and was about to fire, when Merry glided among the
combatants, and passed his dirk into the body of the man, who fell at
the blow; shaking his piece, with horrid imprecations, the wounded
soldier prepared to deal his vengeance on his youthful assailant, when
the fearless boy leaped within its muzzle, and buried his own keen
weapon in his heart.

"Hurrah!" shouted the unconscious Barnstable, from the edge of the
quarter-deck, where, attended by a few men, he was driving all before
him. "Revenge!--long Tom and victory!"

"We have them!" exclaimed the Englishman; "handle your pikes! we have
them between two fires."

The battle would probably have terminated very differently from what
previous circumstances had indicated, had not a wild-looking figure
appeared in the cutter's channels at that moment, issuing from the sea,
and gaining the deck at the same instant. It was long Tom, with his iron
visage rendered fierce by his previous discomfiture, and his grizzled
locks drenched with the briny element from which he had risen, looking
like Neptune with his trident. Without speaking, he poised his harpoon,
and, with a powerful effort, pinned the unfortunate Englishman to the
mast of his own vessel.

"Starn all!" cried Tom by a sort of instinct, when the blow was struck;
and catching up the musket of the fallen marine, he dealt out terrible
and fatal blows with its butt on all who approached him, utterly
disregarding the use of the bayonet on its muzzle. The unfortunate
commander of the Alacrity brandished his sword with frantic gestures,
while his eyes rolled in horrid wildness, when he writhed for an instant
in his passing agonies, and then, as his head dropped lifeless upon his
gored breast, he hung against the spar, a spectacle of dismay to his
crew, A few of the Englishmen stood chained to the spot in silent horror
at the sight, but most of them fled to their lower deck, or hastened to
conceal themselves in the secret parts of the vessel, leaving to the
Americans the undisputed possession of the Alacrity.

Two-thirds of the cutter's crew suffered either in life or limbs, by
this short struggle; nor was the victory obtained by Barnstable without
paying the price of several valuable lives. The first burst of conquest
was not, however, the moment to appreciate the sacrifice, and loud and
reiterated shouts proclaimed the exultation of the conquerors. As the
flush of victory subsided, however, recollection returned, and
Barnstable issued such orders as humanity and his duty rendered
necessary. While the vessels were separating, and the bodies of the dead
and wounded were removing, the conqueror paced the deck of his prize, as
if lost in deep reflection. He passed his hand, frequently, across his
blackened and blood-stained brow, while his eyes would rise to examine
the vast canopy of smoke that was hovering above the vessels, like a
dense fog exhaling from the ocean. The result of his deliberations was
soon announced to the crew.

"Haul down all your flags," he cried; "set the Englishman's colors
again, and show the enemy's jack above our ensign in the Ariel."

The appearance of the whole channel-fleet within half gunshot would not
have occasioned more astonishment among the victors than this
extraordinary mandate. The wondering seamen suspended their several
employments, to gaze at the singular change that was making in the
flags, those symbols that were viewed with a sort of reverence; but none
presumed to comment openly on the procedure except long Tom, who stood
on the quarter-deck of the prize, straightening the pliable iron of the
harpoon which be had recovered with as much care and diligence as if it
were necessary to the maintenance of their conquest. Like the others,
however, he suspended his employment when he heard this order, and
manifested no reluctance to express his dissatisfaction at the measure.

"If the Englishmen grumble at the fight, and think it not fair play,"
muttered the old cockswain, "let us try it over again, sir; as they are
somewhat short of hands, they can send a boat to the land, and get off a
gang of them lazy riptyles, the soldiers, who stand looking at us, like
so many red lizards crawling on a beach, and we'll give them another
chance; but damme, if I see the use of whipping them, if this is to be
the better end of the matter."

"What's that you're grumbling there, like a dead northeaster, you horse-
mackerel?" said Barnstable; "where are our friends and countrymen who
are on the land? Are we to leave them to swing on gibbets or rot in
dungeons?"

The cockswain listened with great earnestness, and when his commander
had spoken, he struck the palm of his broad hand against his brawny
thigh, with a report like a pistol, and answered:

"I see how it is, sir; you reckon the red-coats have Mr. Griffith in
tow. Just run the schooner into shoal water, Captain Barnstable, and
drop an anchor, where we can get the long gun to bear on them, and give
me the whale-boat and five or six men to back me--they must have long
legs if they get an offing before I run them aboard!"

"Fool! do you think a boat's crew could contend with fifty armed
soldiers?"

"Soldiers!" echoed Tom, whose spirits had been strongly excited by the
conflict, snapping his fingers with ineffable disdain; "that for all the
soldiers that were ever rigged: one whale could kill a thousand of them!
and here stands the man that has killed his round hundred of whales!"

"Pshaw, you grampus, do you turn braggart in your old age?"

"It's no bragging, sir, to speak a log-book truth! but if Captain
Barnstable thinks that old Tom Coffin carries a speaking-trumpet for a
figure-head, let him pass the word forrard to man the boats."

"No, no, my old master at the marlinspike," said Barnstable, kindly, "I
know thee too well, thou brother of Neptune! but shall we not throw the
bread-room dust in those Englishmen's eyes, by wearing their bunting a
while, till something may offer to help our captured countrymen."

The cockswain shook his head and cogitated a moment, as if struck with
sundry new ideas, when he answered:

"Ay, ay, sir; that's blue-water philosophy: as deep as the sea! Let the
riptyles clew up the corners of their mouths to their eyebrows, now!
when they come to hear the ra'al Yankee truth of the matter, they will
sheet them down to their leather neckcloths!"

With this reflection the cockswain was much consoled, and the business
of repairing damages and securing the prize proceeded without further
interruption on his part. The few prisoners who were unhurt were rapidly
transferred to the Ariel. While Barnstable was attending to this duty,
an unusual bustle drew his eyes to one of the hatchways, where he beheld
a couple of his marines dragging forward a gentleman, whose demeanor and
appearance indicated the most abject terror. After examining the
extraordinary appearance of this individual, for a moment, in silent
amazement, the lieutenant exclaimed:

"Who have we here? some amateur in fights! an inquisitive, wonder-
seeking non-combatant, who has volunteered to serve his king, and
perhaps draw a picture, or write a book, to serve himself! Pray, sir, in
what capacity did you serve in this vessel?"

The captive ventured a sidelong glance at his interrogator, in whom he
expected to encounter Griffith, but perceiving that it was a face he did
not know, he felt a revival of confidence that enabled him to reply:

"I came here by accident; being on board the cutter at the time her late
commander determined to engage you. It was not in his power to land me,
as I trust you will not hesitate to do; your conjecture of my being a
non-combatant--"

"Is perfectly true," interrupted Barnstable; "it requires no spyglass to
read that name written on you from stem to stern: but for certain
weighty reasons--"

He paused to turn at a signal given him by young Merry, who whispered
eagerly, in his ear:

"'Tis Mr. Dillon, kinsman of Colonel Howard; I've seen him often,
sailing in the wake of my cousin Cicely."

"Dillon!" exclaimed Barnstable, rubbing his hands with pleasure; "what,
Kit of that name! he with 'the Savannah face, eyes of black, and skin of
the same color?' he's grown a little whiter with fear; but he's a prize,
at this moment, worth twenty Alacrities!"

These exclamations were made in a low voice, and at some little distance
from the prisoner, whom he now approached and addressed:

"Policy, and consequently duty, require that I should detain you for a
short time, sir; but you shall have a sailor's welcome to whatever we
possess, to lessen the weight of captivity."

Barnstable precluded any reply, by bowing to his captive, and turning
away to superintend the management of his vessels. In a short time it
was announced that they were ready to make sail, when the Ariel and her
prize were brought close to the wind, and commenced beating slowly along
the land, as if intending to return to the bay whence the latter had
sailed that morning. As they stretched in to the shore on the first
tack, the soldiers on the cliffs rent the air with their shouts and
acclamations, to which Barnstable, pointing to the assumed symbols that
were fluttering in the breeze from his masts, directed his crew to
respond in the most cordial manner. As the distance, and the want of
boats, prevented any further communication, the soldiers, after gazing
at the receding vessels for a time, disappeared from the cliffs, and
were soon lost from the sight of the adventurous mariners. Hour after
hour was consumed in the tedious navigation, against an adverse tide,
and the short day was drawing to a close, before they approached the
mouth of their destined haven. While making one of their numerous
stretches to and from the land, the cutter, in which Barnstable
continued, passed the victim of their morning's sport, riding on the
water, the waves curling over his huge carcass as on some rounded rock,
and already surrounded by the sharks, who were preying on his
defenceless body.

"See! Master Coffin," cried the lieutenant, pointing out the object to
his cockswain as they glided by it, "the shovel-nosed gentlemen are
regaling daintily: you have neglected the Christian's duty of burying
your dead."

The old seaman cast a melancholy look at the dead whale and replied:

"If I had the creatur in Boston Bay, or on the Sandy Point of Munny-Moy,
'twould be the making of me! But riches and honor are for the great and
the larned, and there's nothing left for poor Tom Coffin to do but to
veer and haul on his own rolling-tackle, that he may ride out on the
rest of the gale of life without springing any of his old spars."

"How now, long Tom!" cried his officer, "these rocks and cliffs will
shipwreck you on the shoals of poetry yet; you grow sentimental!"

"Them rocks might wrack any vessel that struck them," said the literal
cockswain; "and as for poetry, I wants none better than the good old
song of Captain Kidd; but it's enough to raise solemn thoughts in a Cape
Poge Indian, to see an eighty-barrel whale devoured by shirks--'tis an
awful waste of property! I've seen the death of two hundred of the
creaturs, though it seems to keep the rations of poor old Tom as short
as ever."

The cockswain walked aft, while the vessel was passing the whale, and
seating himself on the taffrail, with his face resting gloomily on his
bony hand, he fastened his eyes on the object of his solicitude, and
continued to gaze at it with melancholy regret, while it was to be seen
glistening in the sunbeams, as it rolled its glittering side of white
into the air, or the rays fell unreflected on the black and rougher coat
of the back of the monster. In the mean time, the navigators diligently
pursued their way for the haven we have mentioned, into which they
steered with every appearance of the fearlessness of friends, and the
exultation of conquerors.

A few eager and gratified spectators lined the edges of the small bay,
and Barnstable concluded his arrangement for deceiving the enemy, by
admonishing his crew that they were now about to enter on a service that
would require their utmost intrepidity and sagacity.




CHAPTER XIX

  "Our trumpet called you to this gentle parle."
  _King John._


As Griffith and his companions rushed from the offices of St. Ruth into
the open air, they encountered no one to intercept their flight, or
communicate the alarm. Warned by the experience of the earlier part of
the same night, they avoided the points where they knew the sentinels
were posted, though fully prepared to bear down all resistance, and were
soon beyond the probability of immediate detection. They proceeded, for
the distance of half a mile, with rapid strides, and with the stern and
sullen silence of men who expected to encounter immediate danger,
resolved to breast it with desperate resolution; but, as they plunged
into a copse that clustered around the ruin which has been already
mentioned, they lessened their exertions to a more deliberate pace, and
a short but guarded dialogue ensued "We have had a timely escape," said
Griffith; "I would much rather have endured captivity, than have been
the cause of introducing confusion and bloodshed in the peaceful
residence of Colonel Howard."

"I would, sir, that you had been of this opinion some hours earlier,"
returned the Pilot, with a severity in his tones that even conveyed more
meaning than his words.

"I may have forgotten my duty, sir, in my anxiety to enquire into the
condition of a family in whom I feel a particular interest," returned
Griffith, in a manner in which pride evidently struggled with respect;
"but this is not a time for regrets; I apprehend that we follow you on
an errand of some moment, where actions would be more acceptable than
any words of apology. What is your pleasure now?"

"I much fear that our project will be defeated," said the Pilot,
gloomily; "the alarm will spread with the morning fogs, and there will
be musterings of the yeomen, and consultations of the gentry, that will
drive all thoughts of amusement from their minds. The rumor of a descent
will, at any time, force sleep from the shores of this island, to at
least ten leagues inland."

"Ay, you have probably passed some pleasant nights, with your eyes open,
among them, yourself, Master Pilot," said Manual; "they may thank the
Frenchman, Thurot, in the old business of '56, and our own daredevil,
the bloody Scotchman, as the causes of their quarters being so often
beaten up. After all, Thurot, with his fleet, did no more than bully
them a little, and the poor fellow was finally extinguished by a few
small cruisers, like a drummer's boy under a grenadier's cap; but honest
Paul sang a different tune for his countrymen to dance to, and--"

"I believe you will shortly dance yourself, Manual," interrupted
Griffith, quickly, "and in very pleasure that you have escaped an
English prison."

"Say, rather, an English gibbet," continued the elated marine; "for had
a court-martial or a court-civil discussed the manner of our entrance
into this island, I doubt whether we should have fared better than the
daredevil himself, honest----"

"Pshaw!" exclaimed the impatient Griffith; "enough of this nonsense,
Captain Manual: we have other matters to discuss now. What course have
you determined to pursue, Mr. Gray?"

The Pilot started, like a man aroused from a deep musing, at this
question, and after a pause of a moment he spoke in a low tone of voice,
as if still under the influence of deep and melancholy feeling:

"The night has already run into the morning watch, but the sun is
backward to show himself in this latitude in the heart of winter.--I
must depart, my friends, to rejoin you some ten hours hence: it will be
necessary to look deeper into our scheme before we hazard anything, and
no one can do the service but myself: where shall we meet again?"

"I have reason to think that there is an unfrequented ruin at no great
distance from us," said Griffith; "perhaps we might find both shelter
and privacy among its deserted walls."

"The thought is good," returned the Pilot, "and 'twill answer a double
purpose. Could you find the place where you put the marines in ambush,
Captain Manual?"

"Has a dog a nose? and can he follow a clean scent?" exclaimed the
marine; "do you think, Signor Pilota, that a general ever puts his
forces in an ambuscade where he can't find them himself? 'Fore God! I
knew well enough where the rascals lay snoring on their knapsacks, some
half an hour ago, and I would have given the oldest majority in
Washington's army to have had them where a small intimation from myself
could have brought them in line ready dressed for a charge. I know not
how you fared, gentlemen, but, with me, the sight of twenty such
vagabonds would have been a joyous spectacle; we would have tossed that
Captain Borroughcliffe and his recruits on the point of our bayonets, as
the devil would pitch----"

"Come, come, Manual," said Griffith, a little angrily, "you constantly
forget our situation and our errand; can you lead your men hither
without discovery, before the day dawns?"

"I want but the shortest half-hour that a bad watch ever traveled over
to do it in."

"Then follow, and I will appoint a place of secret rendezvous," rejoined
Griffith; "Mr. Gray can learn our situation at the same time."

The Pilot was seen to beckon, through the gloom of the night, for his
companions to come forward; when they proceeded, with cautious steps, in
quest of the desired shelter. A short search brought them in contact
with a part of the ruinous walls, which spread over a large surface, and
which, in places, reared their black fragments against the sky, casting
a deeper obscurity across the secret recesses of the wood.

"This will do," said Griffith, when they had skirted for some distance
the outline of the crumbling fabric; "bring up your men to this point,
where I will meet you, and conduct them to some more secret place, for
which I shall search during your absence."

"A perfect paradise, after the cable-tiers of the Ariel!" exclaimed
Manual; "I doubt not but a good spot might be selected among these trees
for a steady drill,--a thing my soul has pined after for six long
months."

"Away, away!" cried Griffith; "here is no place for idle parades; if we
find shelter from discovery and capture until you shall be needed in a
deadly struggle, 'twill be well."

Manual was slowly retracing his steps to the skirts of the wood, when he
suddenly turned, and asked:

"Shall I post a small picket, a mere corporal's guard, in the open
ground in front, and make a chain of sentinels to our works?"

"We have no works--we want no sentinels," returned his impatient
commander; "our security is only to be found in secrecy. Lead up your
men under the cover of the trees, and let those three bright stars be
your landmarks--bring them in a range with the northern corner of the
wood----"

"Enough, Mr. Griffith," interrupted Manual; "a column of troops is not
to be steered like a ship, by compass, and bearings and distances;--trust
me, sir, the march shall be conducted with proper discretion, though in
a military manner."

Any reply or expostulation was prevented by the sudden disappearance of
the marine, whose retreating footsteps were heard for several moments,
as he moved at a deliberate pace through the underwood. During this
short interval, the Pilot stood reclining against the corner of the
ruins in profound silence; but when the sounds of Manual's march were no
longer audible, he advanced from under the deeper shadows of the wall,
and approached his youthful companion.

"We are indebted to the marine for our escape," he said; "I hope we are
not to suffer by his folly."

"He is what Barnstable calls a rectangular man," returned Griffith, "and
will have his way in matters of his profession, though a daring
companion in a hazardous expedition. If we can keep him from exposing us
by his silly parade, we shall find him a man who will do his work like a
soldier, sir, when need happens."

"'Tis all I ask; until the last moment, he and his command must be
torpid; for if we are discovered, any attempt of ours, with some twenty
bayonets and a half-pike or two, would be useless against the force that
would be brought to crush us."

"The truth of your opinion is too obvious," returned Griffith; "these
fellows will sleep a week at a time in a gale at sea, but the smell of
the land wakes them up, and I fear 'twill be hard to keep them close
during the day."

"It must be done, sir, by the strong hand of force," said the Pilot
sternly, "if it cannot be done by admonition; if we had no more than the
recruits of that drunken martinet to cope with, it would be no hard task
to drive them into the sea; but I learned in my prison that horse are
expected on the shore with the dawn; there is one they call Dillon, who
is on the alert to do us mischief."

"The miscreant!" muttered Griffith; "then you also have had communion,
sir, with some of the inmates of St. Ruth?"

"It behooves a man who is embarked in a perilous enterprise to seize all
opportunities to learn his hazard," said the Pilot, evasively: "if the
report be true, I fear we have but little hopes of succeeding in our
plans."

"Nay, then, let us take the advantage of the darkness to regain the
schooner; the coasts of England swarm with hostile cruisers, and a rich
trade is flowing into the bosom of this island from the four quarters of
the world; we shall not seek long for a foe worthy to contend with, nor
for the opportunities to cut up the Englishman in his sinews of war--his
wealth."

"Griffith," returned the Pilot, in his still, low tones, that seemed to
belong to a man who never knew ambition, nor felt human passion, "I grow
sick of this struggle between merit and privileged rank. It is in vain
that I scour the waters which the King of England boastingly calls his
own, and capture his vessels in the very mouths of his harbors, if my
reward is to consist only of isolated promises, and hollow professions:
but your proposition is useless to me; I have at length obtained a ship
of a size sufficient to convey my person to the shores of honest, plain-
dealing America; and I would enter the hall of Congress, on my return,
attended by a few of the legislators of this learned isle, who think
they possess the exclusive privilege to be wise, and virtuous, and
great."

"Such a retinue might doubtless be grateful both to your own feelings
and those who would receive you," said Griffith, modestly; "but would it
effect the great purposes of our struggle? or is it an exploit, when
achieved, worth the hazard you incur?"

Griffith felt the hand of the Pilot on his own, pressing it with a
convulsive grasp, as he replied, in a voice, if possible, even more
desperately calm than his former tones:

"There is a glory in it, young man; if it be purchased with danger, it
shall be rewarded by fame! It is true, I wear your republican livery,
and call the Americans my brothers; but it is because you combat in
behalf of human nature. Were your cause less holy, I would not shed the
meanest drop that flows in English veins to serve it; but now, it
hallows every exploit that is undertaken in its favor, and the names of
all who contend for it shall belong to posterity. Is there no merit in
teaching these proud islanders that the arm of liberty can pluck them
from the very empire of their corruption and oppression?"

"Then let me go and ascertain what we most wish to know; you have been
seen there, and might attract--"

"You little know me," interrupted the Pilot; "the deed is my own. If I
succeed, I shall claim the honor, and it is proper that I incur the
hazard; if I fail, it will be buried in oblivion, like fifty others of
my schemes, which, had I power to back me, would have thrown this
kingdom in consternation, from the lookouts on the boldest of its
headlands, to those on the turrets of Windsor Castle. But I was born
without nobility of twenty generations to corrupt my blood and deaden my
soul, and am not trusted by the degenerate wretches who rule the French
marine."

"'Tis said that ships of two decks are building from our own oak," said
Griffith, "and you have only to present yourself in America, to be
employed most honorably."

"Ay! the republics cannot doubt the man who has supported their flag,
without lowering it an inch, in so many bloody conflicts! I do go there,
Griffith, but my way lies on this path; my pretended friends have bound
my hands often, but my enemies, never--neither shall they now. Ten hours
will determine all I wish to know, and with you I trust the safety of
the party till my return: be vigilant, but be prudent"

"If you should not appear at the appointed hour," exclaimed Griffith, as
he beheld the Pilot turning to depart, "where am I to seek, and how
serve you?"

"Seek me not, but return to your vessel; my earliest years were passed
on this coast,--and I can leave the island, should it be necessary, as I
entered it, aided by this disguise and my own knowledge: in such an
event, look to your charge, and forget me entirely."

Griffith could distinguish the silent wave of his hand when the Pilot
concluded, and the next instant he was left alone. For several minutes
the young man continued where he had been standing, musing on the
singular endowments and restless enterprise of the being with whom
chance had thus unexpectedly brought him in contact, and with whose fate
and fortune his own prospects had, by the intervention of unlooked-for
circumstances, become intimately connected. When the reflections excited
by recent occurrences had passed away, he entered within the sweeping
circle of the ruinous walls, and, after a very cursory survey of the
state of the dilapidated building, he was satisfied that it contained
enough secret places to conceal his men, until the return of the Pilot
should warn them that the hour had come when they must attempt the
seizure of the devoted sportsmen, or darkness should again facilitate
their return to the Ariel. It was now about the commencement of that
period of deep night which seamen distinguish as the morning watch, and
Griffith ventured to the edge of the little wood, to listen if any
sounds or tumult indicated that they were pursued. On reaching a point
where his eye could faintly distinguish distant objects, the young man
paused, and bestowed a close and wary investigation on the surrounding
scene.

The fury of the gale had sensibly abated, but a steady current of sea
air was rushing through the naked branches of the oaks, lending a dreary
and mournful sound to the gloom of the dim prospect. At the distance of
a short half mile, the confused outline of the pile of St. Ruth rose
proudly against the streak of light which was gradually increasing above
the ocean, and there were moments when the young seaman even fancied he
could discern the bright caps that topped the waves of his own disturbed
element. The long, dull roar of the surf, as it tumbled heavily on the
beach or dashed with unbroken violence against the hard boundary of
rocks, was borne along by the blasts distinctly to his ears. It was a
time and a situation to cause the young seaman to ponder deeply on the
changes and chances of his hazardous profession. Only a few short hours
had passed since he was striving with his utmost skill, and with all his
collected energy, to guide the enormous fabric, in which so many of his
comrades were now quietly sleeping on the broad ocean, from that very
shore on which he now stood in cool indifference to the danger. The
recollection of home, America, his youthful and enduring passion, and
the character and charms of his mistress, blended in a sort of wild and
feverish confusion, which was not, however, without its pleasures, in
the ardent fancy of the young man; and he was slowly approaching, step
by step, toward the Abbey, when the sound of footsteps, proceeding
evidently from the measured tread of disciplined men, reached his ears.
He was instantly recalled to his recollection by this noise, which
increased as the party deliberately approached; and in a few moments he
was able to distinguish a line of men, marching in order towards the
edge of the wood, from which he had himself so recently issued. Retiring
rapidly under the deeper shadow of the trees, he waited until it was
apparent the party intended to enter under its cover also, when he
ventured to speak.

"Who comes? and on what errand?" he cried, "A skulker, and to burrow
like a rabbit, or jump from hole to hole, like a wharf-rat!" said
Manual, sulkily; "here have I been marching, within half musket shot of
the enemy, without daring to pull a trigger even on their outposts,
because our muzzles are plugged with that universal extinguisher of
gunpowder, called prudence. 'Fore God ! Mr. Griffith, I hope you may
never feel the temptation to do an evil deed, which I felt just now, to
throw a volley of small shot into that dog-kennel of a place, if it were
only to break its windows and let in the night air upon the sleeping
sot, who is dozing away the fumes of some as good, old south-side--hark
ye, Mr. Griffith, one word in your ear."

A short conference took place between he two officers, apart from the
men, at the close of which, as they rejoined the party, Manual might be
heard urging his plans on the reluctant ears of Griffith in the
following words:

"I could carry the old dungeon without waking one of the snorers; and
consider, sir, we might get a stock of as rich cordial from its cellars
as ever oiled the throat of a gentleman!"

"'Tis idle, 'tis idle," said Griffith impatiently; "we are not robbers
of hen-roosts, nor wine-gaugers, to be prying into the vaults of the
English gentry, Captain Manual; but honorable men, employed in the
sacred cause of liberty and our country. Lead your party into the ruin,
and let them seek their rest; we may have work for them with the dawn."

"Evil was the hour when I quitted the line of the army, to place a
soldier under the orders of an awkward squad of tarry jackets!" muttered
Manual, as he proceeded to execute an order that was delivered with an
air of authority that he knew must be obeyed. "As pretty an opportunity
for a surprise and a forage thrown away, as ever crossed the path of a
partisan! but, by all the rights of man! I'll have an encampment in some
order. Here, you sergeant, detail a corporal and three men for a picket,
and station them ii the skirts of this wood. We shall have a sentinel in
advance of our position, and things shall be conducted with some air of
discipline."

Griffith heard this order with great inward disgust; but as he
anticipated the return of the Pilot before the light could arrive to
render his weak exposure of their situation apparent, he forbore
exercising his power to alter the arrangement. Manual had, therefore,
the satisfaction of seeing his little party quartered, as he thought, in
military manner, before he retired with Griffith and his men into one of
the vaulted apartments of the ruin, which, by its open and broken doors,
invited their entrance. Here the marines disposed themselves to rest,
while the two officers succeeded in passing the tedious hours, without
losing their characters for watchfulness by conversing with each other,
or, at whiles, suffering their thoughts to roam in the very different
fields which fancy would exhibit to men of such differing characters. In
this manner hour after hour passed, in listless quiet or sullen
expectation, until the day had gradually advanced, and it became
dangerous to keep the sentinels and picket in a situation where they
were liable to be seen by any straggler who might be passing near the
wood. Manual remonstrated against any alteration, as being entirely
unmilitary, for he was apt to carry his notions of tactics to extremes
whenever he came in collision with a sea officer: but in this instance
his superior was firm, and the only concession the captain could obtain
was the permission to place a solitary sentinel within a few feet of the
vault, though under the cover of the crumbling walls of the building
itself. With this slight deviation in their arrangements, the uneasy
party remained for several hours longer, impatiently awaiting the period
when they should be required to move.

The guns first fired from the Alacrity had been distinctly audible and
were pronounced by Griffith, whose practised ear detected the metal of
the piece that was used, as not proceeding from the schooner. When the
rapid though distant rumbling of the spirited cannonade became audible,
it was with difficulty that Griffith could restrain either his own
feelings or the conduct of his companions within those bounds that
prudence and their situation required. The last gun was, however, fired,
and not a man had left the vault, and conjectures as to the result of
the fight succeeded to those which had been made on the character of the
combatants during the action. Some of the marines would raise their
heads from the fragments which served them as the pillows on which they
were seeking disturbed and stolen slumbers, and after listening to the
cannon would again compose themselves to sleep, like men who felt no
concern in a contest in which they did not participate. Others, more
alive to events and less drowsy, lavishly expended their rude jokes on
those who were engaged in the struggle, or listened with a curious
interest to mark the progress of the battle, by the uncertain index of
its noise. When the fight had been some time concluded, Manual indulged
his ill-humor more at length:

"There has been a party of pleasure within a league of us, Mr.
Griffith," he said, "at which, but for our present subterraneous
quarters, we might have been guests, and thus laid some claim to the
honor of sharing in the victory. But it is not too late to push the
party on as far as the cliffs, where we shall be in sight of the
vessels, and we may possibly establish a claim to our share of the
prize-money."

"There is but little wealth to be gleaned from the capture of a king's
cutter," returned Griffith; "and there would be less honor were
Barnstable encumbered with our additional and useless numbers."

"Useless!" repeated Manual; "there is much good service to be got out of
twenty-three well-drilled and well-chosen marines: look at those
fellows, Mr. Griffith, and then tell me if you think them an encumbrance
in the hour of need."

Griffith smiled, and glanced his eye over the sleeping group,--for when
the firing had ceased the whole party had again sought their repose,--
and he could not help admiring the athletic and sinewy limbs that lay
scattered around the gloomy vault, in every posture that ease or whim
dictated. From the stout frames of the men, his glance was directed to
the stack of firearms, from whose glittering tubes and polished bayonets
strong rays of light were reflected, even in that dark apartment. Manual
followed the direction of his eyes, and watched the expression of his
countenance with inward exultation; but he had the forbearance to await
his reply before he manifested his feeling more openly.

"I know them to be true men," said Griffith, "when needed, but--hark!
what says he?"

"Who goes there? what noise is that?" repeated the sentinel who was
placed at the entrance of the vault.

Manual and Griffith sprang at the same instant from their places of
rest, and stood, unwilling to create the slightest sounds, listening
with the most intense anxiety to catch the next indications of the cause
of their guardian's alarm. A short stillness, like that of death,
succeeded, during which Griffith whispered:

"'Tis the Pilot! his hour has been long passed."

The words were hardly spoken, when the clashing of steel in fierce and
sudden contact was heard, and at the next instant the body of the
sentinel fell heavily along the stone steps that led to the open air,
and rolled lifelessly to their feet, with the bayonet that had caused
his death projecting from a deep wound in his breast.

"Away, away! sleepers away!" shouted Griffith.

"To arms!" cried Manual in a voice of thunder.

The alarmed marines, suddenly aroused from their slumbers at these
thrilling cries, sprang on their feet in a confused cluster, and at that
fatal moment a body of living fire darted into the vault, which re-
echoed with the reports of twenty muskets. The uproar, the smoke, and
the groans which escaped from many of his party, could not restrain
Griffith another instant: his pistol was fired through the cloud which
concealed the entrance of the vault, and he followed the leaden
messenger, trailing a half-pike, and shouting to his men:

"Come on! follow, my lads; they are nothing but soldiers."

Even while he spoke, the ardent young seaman was rushing up the narrow
passage; but as he gained the open space, his foot struck the writhing
body of the victim of his shot, and he was precipitated headlong into a
group of armed men.

"Fire! Manual, fire!" shouted the infuriated prisoner; "fire, while you
have them in a cluster."

"Ay, fire, Mr. Manual," said Borroughcliffe, with great coolness, "and
shoot your own officer: hold him up, boys! hold him up in front; the
safest place is nighest to him."

"Fire!" repeated Griffith, making desperate efforts to release himself
from the grasp of five or six men; "fire, and disregard me."

"If he do, he deserves to be hung," said Borroughcliffe; "such fine
fellows are not sufficiently plenty to be shot at like wild beasts in
chains. Take him from before the mouth of the vault, boys, and spread
yourselves to your duty."

At the time Griffith issued from the cover, Manual was mechanically
employed in placing his men in order; and the marines, accustomed to do
everything in concert and array, lost the moment to advance. The
soldiers of Borroughcliffe reloaded their muskets, and fell back behind
different portions of the wall, where they could command the entrance to
the vault with their fire, without much exposure to themselves. This
disposition was very coolly reconnoitered by Manual in person, through
some of the crevices in the wall, and he hesitated to advance against
the force he beheld while so advantageously posted. In this situation
several shots were fired by either party, without effect, until
Borroughcliffe, perceiving the inefficacy of that mode of attack,
summoned the garrison of the vault to a parley.

"Surrender to the forces of his majesty, King George the Third," he
cried, "and I promise you quarter."

"Will you release your prisoner, and give us free passage to our
vessels?" asked Manual; "the garrison to march out with all the honors
of war, and officers to retain their side-arms?"

"Inadmissible," returned Borroughcliffe, with great gravity; "the honor
of his majesty's arms, and the welfare of the realm, forbid such a
treaty: but I offer you safe quarters and honorable treatment."

"Officers to retain their side-arms, your prisoner to be released, and
the whole party to return to America, on parole, not to serve until
exchanged?"

"Not granted," said Borroughcliffe. "The most that I can yield is a good
potation of the generous south-side; and if you are the man I take you
for, you will know how to prize such an offer."

"In what capacity do you summon us to yield? as men entitled to the
benefit of the laws of arms, or as rebels to your king?"

"Ye are rebels all, gentlemen," returned the deliberate Borroughcliffe,
"and as such ye must yield; though so far as good treatment and good
fare goes, you are sure of it while in my power; in all other respects
you lie at the mercy of his most gracious majesty."

"Then let his majesty show his gracious face, and come and take us, for
I'll be----"

The asseveration of the marine was interrupted by Griffith, whose blood
had sensibly cooled, and whose generous feelings were awakened in behalf
of his comrades, now that his own fate seemed decided.

"Hold, Manual," he cried, "make no rash oaths: Captain Borroughcliffe, I
am Edward Griffith, a lieutenant in the navy of the United American
States, and I pledge you my honor to a parole----"

"Release him," said Borroughcliffe.

Griffith advanced between the two parties, and spoke so as to be heard
by both:

I propose to descend to the vault, and ascertain the loss and present
strength of Captain Manual's party: if the latter be not greater than I
apprehend, I shall advise him to a surrender on the usual conditions of
civilized nations."

"Go," said the soldier; "but stay; is he a half-and-half--an
amphibious--pshaw! I mean a marine?"

"He is, sir, a captain in that corps----"

"The very man," interrupted Borroughcliffe; "I thought I recollected the
liquid sounds of his voice. It will be well to speak to him of the good
fare of St. Ruth; and you may add, that I know my man: I shall besiege,
instead of storming him, with the certainty of a surrender when his
canteen is empty. The vault he is in holds no such beverage as the
cellars of the Abbey."

Griffith smiled, in spite of the occasion and his vexation; and making a
slight inclination of his head he passed into the vault, giving notice
to his friends, by his voice, in order to apprise them who approached.

He found six of the marines, including the sentinel, lying dead on the
ragged pavement, and four others wounded, but stifling their groans, by
the order of their commander, that they might not inform the enemy of
his weakness. With the remainder of his command Manual had entrenched
himself behind the fragment of a wall that intersected the vault, and,
regardless of the dismaying objects before him, maintained as bold a
front, and as momentous an air, as if the fate of a walled town depended
on his resolution and ingenuity.

"You see, Mr. Griffith," he cried, when the young sailor approached this
gloomy but really formidable arrangement, "that nothing short of
artillery can dislodge me: as for that drinking Englishman above, let
him send down his men by platoons of eight or ten, and I'll pile them up
on those steps, four and five deep."

"But artillery can and will be brought, if it should be necessary," said
Griffith; "and there is not the least chance of your eventual escape: it
may be possible for you to destroy a few of the enemy, but you are too
humane to wish to do it unnecessarily."

"No doubt," returned Manual with a grim smile; "and yet methinks I could
find present pleasure in shooting seven of them--yes, just seven, which
is one more than they have struck off my roster."

"Remember your own wounded," added Griffith; "they suffer for want of
aid, while you protract a useless defence."

A few smothered groans from the sufferers seconded this appeal, and
Manual yielded, though with a very ill grace, to the necessity of the
case.

"Go, then, and tell him that we will surrender as prisoners of war," he
said, "on the conditions that he grants me my side-arms, and that
suitable care shall be taken of the sick--be particular to call them
sick--for some lucky accident may yet occur before the compact is
ratified, and I would not have him learn our loss."

Griffith, without waiting for a second bidding, hastened to
Borroughcliffe with his intelligence.

"His side-arms!" repeated the soldier, when the other had done; "what
are they, I pray thee--a marlinespike! For if his equipments be no
better than thine own, my worthy prisoner, there is little need to
quarrel about their ownership."

"Had I but ten of my meanest men, armed with such half-pikes, and
Captain Borroughcliffe and his party were put at deadly strife with us,"
retorted Griffith, "he might find occasion to value our weapons more
highly."

"Four such fiery gentlemen as yourself would have routed my command,"
returned Borroughcliffe, with undisturbed composure. "I trembled for my
ranks when I saw you coming out of the smoke like a blazing comet from
behind a cloud! and I shall never think of somersets without returning
inward thanks to their inventor. But our treaty is made; let your
comrades come forth and pile their arms."

Griffith communicated the result to the captain of marines, when the
latter led the remnant of his party out of his sunken fortress into the
open air.

The men, who had manifested throughout the whole business that cool
subordination and unyielding front, mixed with the dauntless spirit that
to this day distinguishes the corps of which they were members, followed
their commander in sullen silence, and stacked their arms with as much
regularity and precision as if they had been ordered to relieve
themselves after a march. When this necessary preliminary had been
observed, Borroughcliffe unmasked his forces, and our adventurers found
themselves once more in the power of the enemy, and under circumstances
which rendered the prospect of a speedy release from their captivity
nearly hopeless.




CHAPTER XX.

  If your father will do me any honor, so;
  If not, let him kill the next Percy himself:
  I look to be either earl or duke, I can assure you.
  Falstaff.


Manual cast sundry discontented and sullen looks from his captors to
the remnant of his own command, while the process of pinioning the
latter was conducted, with much discretion, under the directions of
Sergeant Drill, when meeting, in one of his dissatisfied glances, with
the pale and disturbed features of Griffith, he gave vent to his ill-
humor, by saying:

"This results from neglecting the precautions of military discipline.
Had the command been with men, who, I may say, without boasting, have
been accustomed to the duties of the field, proper pickets would have
been posted, and instead of being caught like so many rabbits in a
burrow, to be smoked out with brimstone, we should have had an open
field for the struggle; or we might have possessed ourselves of these
walls, which I could have made good for two hours at least, against the
best regiment that ever wore King George's facings."

"Defend the outworks before retreating to the citadel!" cried
Borroughcliffe; "'tis the game of war, and shows science: but had you
kept closer to your burrow, the rabbits might now have all been frisking
about in that pleasant abode. The eyes of a timid hind were greeted this
morning, while journeying near this wood, with a passing sight of armed
men in strange attire; and as he fled, with an intent of casting himself
into the sea, as fear will sometimes urge one of his kind to do, he
luckily encountered me on the cliffs, who humanely saved his life, by
compelling him to conduct us hither. There is often wisdom in science,
my worthy contemporary in arms; but there is sometimes safety in
ignorance."

"You have succeeded, sir, and have a right to be pleasant," said Manual,
seating himself gloomily on a fragment of the ruin, and fastening his
looks on the melancholy spectacle of the lifeless bodies, as they were
successively brought from the vault and placed at his feet; "but these
men have been my own children, and you will excuse me if I cannot retort
your pleasantries. Ah! Captain Borroughcliffe, you are a soldier, and
know how to value merit. I took those very fellows, who sleep on these
stones so quietly, from the hands of nature, and made them the pride of
our art. They were no longer men, but brave lads, who ate and drank,
wheeled and marched, loaded and fired, laughed or were sorrowful, spoke
or were silent, only at my will. As for soul, there was but one among
them all, and that was in my keeping! Groan, my children, groan freely
now; there is no longer a reason to be silent. I have known a single
musket-bullet cut the buttons from the coats of five of them in a row,
without raising the skin of a man! I could ever calculate, with
certainty, how many it would be necessary to expend in all regular
service; but this accursed banditti business has robbed me of the
choicest of my treasures. You stand at ease now, my children; groan, it
will soften your anguish."

Borroughcliffe appeared to participate, in some degree, in the feelings
of his captive, and he made a few appropriate remarks in the way of
condolence, while he watched the preparations that were making by his
own men to move. At length his orderly announced that substitutes for
barrows were provided to sustain the wounded, and inquired if it were
his pleasure to return to their quarters.

"Who has seen the horse?" demanded the captain; "which way did they
march? Have they gained any tidings of the discovery of this party of
the enemy?"

"Not from us, your honor," returned the sergeant; "they had ridden along
the coast before we left the cliffs, and it was said their officer
intended to scour the shore for several miles, and spread the alarm."

"Let him; it is all such gay gallants are good for. Drill, honor is
almost as scarce an article with our arms just now as promotion. We seem
but the degenerate children of the heroes of Poictiers;--you understand
me, sergeant?"

"Some battle fou't by his majesty's troops against the French, your
honor," returned the orderly, a little at a loss to comprehend the
expression of his officer's eye.

"Fellow, you grow dull on victory," exclaimed Borroughcliffe: "come
hither, I would give you orders. Do you think, Mister Drill, there is
more honor, or likely to be more profit, in this little morning's
amusement than you and I can stand under?"

"I should not, your honor: we have both pretty broad shoulders----"

"That are not weakened by undue burdens of this nature," Interrupted his
captain, significantly: "if we let the news of this affair reach the
ears of those hungry dragoons, they would charge upon us open-mouthed,
like a pack of famished beagles, and claim at least half the credit, and
certainly all the profit."

"But, your honor, there was not a man of them even----"

"No matter, Drill; I've known troops that have been engaged, and have
suffered, cheated out of their share of victory by a well-worded
despatch. You know, fellow, that in the smoke and confusion of a battle,
a man can only see what passes near him, and common prudence requires
that he only mention in his official letters what he knows can't be
easily contradicted. Thus your Indians, and, indeed, all allies, are not
entitled to the right of a general order, any more than to the right of
a parade. Now, I dare say, you have heard of a certain battle of
Blenheim?"

"Lord! your honor, 'tis the pride of the British army, that and the
Culloden! 'Twas when the great Corporal John beat the French king, and
all his lords and nobility, with half his nation in arms to back him."

"Ay! there is a little of the barrack readings in the account, but it is
substantially true; know you how many French were in the field that day,
Mister Drill?"

"I have never seen the totals of their muster, sir, in print; but,
judging by the difference betwixt the nations, I should suppose some
hundreds of thousands."

"And yet, to oppose this vast army, the duke had only ten or twelve
thousand well-fed Englishmen! You look astounded, sergeant!"

"Why, your honor, that does seem rather an over-match for an old soldier
to swallow; the random shot would sweep away so small a force."

"And yet the battle was fought, and the victory won! but the Duke of
Marlborough had a certain Mr. Eugene, with some fifty or sixty thousand
High-Dutchers, to back him. You never heard of Mr. Eugene?"

"Not a syllable, your honor; I always thought that Corporal John----"

"Was a gallant and great general; you thought right, Mister Drill. So
would a certain nameless gentleman be also, if his majesty would sign a
commission to that effect. However, a majority is on the high road to a
regiment, and with even a regiment a man is comfortable! In plain
English, Mister Drill, we must get our prisoners into the abbey with as
little noise as possible, in order that the horse may continue their
gambols along the coast, without coming to devour our meal. All the fuss
must be made at the war-office: for that trifle you may trust me; I
think I know who holds a quill that is as good in its way as the sword
he wears. Drill is a short name, and can easily be written within the
folds of a letter."

"Lord, your honor!" said the gratified halberdier, "I'm sure such an
honor is more--but your honor can ever command me!"

"I do; and it is to be close, and to make your men keep close, until it
shall be time to speak, when I pledge myself there shall be noise
enough." Borroughcliffe shook his head, with a grave air, as he
continued: "It has been a devil of a bloody fight, sergeant! look at the
dead and wounded; a wood on each flank--supported by a ruin in the
centre. Oh! ink--ink can be spilt on the details with great effect. Go,
fellow, and prepare to march."

Thus enlightened on the subject of his commander's ulterior views, the
non-commissioned agent of the captain's wishes proceeded to give
suitable instructions to the rest of the party, and to make the more
immediate preparations for a march. The arrangements were soon
completed. The bodies of the slain were left unsheltered, the seclusion
of the ruin being deemed a sufficient security against the danger of any
discovery, until darkness should favor their removal, In conformity with
Borroughcliffe's plan to monopolize the glory. The wounded were placed
on rude litters composed of the muskets and blankets of the prisoners,
when the conquerors and vanquished moved together in a compact body from
the ruin, in such a manner as to make the former serve as a mask to
conceal the latter from the curious gaze of any casual passenger. There
was but little, indeed, to apprehend on this head, for the alarm and
terror, consequent on the exaggerated reports that flew through the
country, effectually prevented any intruders on the usually quiet and
retired domains of St. Ruth.

The party was emerging from the wood, when the cracking of branches, and
rustling of dried leaves, announced, however, that an interruption of
some sort was about to occur.

"If it should be one of their rascally patrols!" exclaimed
Borroughcliffe, with very obvious displeasure; "they trample like a
regiment of cavalry! but, gentlemen, you will acknowledge yourselves,
that we were retiring from the field of battle when we met the
reinforcement, if it should prove to be such."

"We are not disposed, sir, to deny you the glory of having achieved your
victory single-handed," said Griffith, glancing his eyes uneasily in the
direction of the approaching sounds, expecting to see the Pilot issue
from the thicket in which he seemed to be entangled, instead of any
detachment of his enemies.

"Clear the way, Caesar!" cried a voice at no great distance from them;
"break through the accursed vines on my right, Pompey!--press forward,
my fine fellows, or we may be too late to smell even the smoke of the
fight."

"Hum!" ejaculated the captain, with his philosophic indifference of
manner entirely re-established, "this must be a Roman legion just awoke
from a trance of some seventeen centuries, and that the voice of a
centurion. We will halt, Mister Drill, and view the manner of an ancient
march!"

While the captain was yet speaking, a violent effort disengaged the
advancing party from the thicket of brambles in which they had been
entangled, when two blacks, each bending under a load of firearms,
preceded Colonel Howard, into the clear space where Borroughcliffe had
halted his detachment. Some little time was necessary to enable the
veteran to arrange his disordered dress, and to remove the perspiring
effects of the unusual toil from his features, before he could observe
the addition to the captain's numbers.

"We heard you fire," cried the old soldier, making, at the same time,
the most diligent application of his bandana, "and I determined to aid
you with a sortie, which, when judiciously timed, has been the means of
raising many a siege; though, had Montcalm rested quietly within his
walls, the plains of Abr'am might never have drunk his blood."

"Oh! his decision was soldierly, and according to all rules of war,"
exclaimed Manual; "and had I followed his example, this day might have
produced a different tale!"

"Why, who have we here!" cried the colonel, in astonishment; "who is it
that pretends to criticise battles and sieges, dressed in such a garb?"

"Tis a dux incognitorum, my worthy host," said Borroughcliffe; "which
means, in our English language, a captain of marines in the service of
the American Congress."

"What! have you then met the enemy? ay! and by the fame of the immortal
Wolfe, you have captured them!" cried the delighted veteran. "I was
pressing on with a part of my garrison to your assistance, for I had
seen that you were marching in this direction, and even the report of a
few muskets was heard."

"A few!" interrupted the conqueror; "I know not what you call a few, my
gallant and ancient friend: you may possibly have shot at each other by
the week in the days of Wolfe, and Abercrombie, and Braddock; but I too
have seen smart firing, and can hazard an opinion in such matters There
was as pretty a roll made by firearms at the battles on the Hudson as
ever rattled from a drum; it is all over, and many live to talk of it,
but this has been the most desperate affair, for the numbers, I ever was
engaged in! I speak always with a reference to the numbers. The wood is
pretty well sprinkled with dead; and we have contrived to bring off a
few of the desperately wounded with us, as you may perceive."

"Bless me!" exclaimed the surprised veteran, "that such an engagement
should happen within musket-shot of the abbey, and I know so little of
it! My faculties are on the wane, I fear, for the time has been when a
single discharge would rouse me from the deepest sleep."

"The bayonet is a silent weapon," returned the composed captain, with a
significant wave of his hand; "'tis the Englishman's pride, and every
experienced officer knows that one thrust from it is worth the fire of a
whole platoon."

"What, did you come to the charge!" cried the colonel; "by the Lord,
Borroughcliffe, my gallant young friend, I would have given twenty
tierces of rice, and two able-bodied negroes, to have seen the fray!"

"It would have been a pleasant spectacle to witness, sans disputation,"
returned the captain; "but victory is ours without the presence of
Achilles, this time. I have them, all that survive the affair; at least,
all that have put foot on English soil."

"Ay! and the king's cutter has brought in the schooner!" added Colonel
Howard. "Thus perish all rebellion for ever more! Where's Kit? my
kinsman, Mr. Christopher Dillon; I would ask him what the laws of the
realm next prescribe to loyal subjects. Here will be work for the jurors
of Middlesex, Captain Borroughcliffe, if not for a secretary of state's
warrant. Where is Kit, my kinsman; the ductile, the sagacious, the loyal
Christopher?"

"The Cacique 'non est,' as more than one bailiff has said of sundry
clever fellows in our regiment, when there has been a pressing occasion
for their appearance," said the soldier; "but the cornet of horse has
given me reason to believe that his provincial lordship, who repaired on
board the cutter to give intelligence of the position of the enemy,
continued there to share the dangers and honors of naval combat."

"Ay, 'tis like him!" cried the colonel, rubbing his hands with glee;
"'tis like him! he has forgotten the law and his peaceful occupations,
at the sounds of military preparation, and has carried the head of a
statesman into the fight, with the ardor and thoughtlessness of a boy."

"The Cacique is a man of discretion," observed the captain, with all his
usual dryness of manner, "and will, doubtless, recollect his obligations
to posterity and himself, though he be found entangled in the mazes of a
combat. But I marvel that he does not return, for some time has now
elapsed since the schooner struck her flag, as my own eyes have
witnessed."

"You will pardon me, gentlemen," said Griffith, advancing towards them
with uncontrollable interest; "but I have unavoidably heard part of your
discourse, and cannot think you will find it necessary to withhold the
whole truth from a disarmed captive: say you that a schooner has been
captured this morning?"

"It is assuredly true," said Borroughcliffe, with a display of nature
and delicacy in his manner that did his heart infinite credit; "but I
forbore to tell you, because I thought your own misfortunes would be
enough for one time. Mr. Griffith, this gentleman is Colonel Howard, to
whose hospitality you will be indebted for some favors before we
separate."

"Griffith!" echoed the colonel, in quick reply, "Griffith! what a sight
for my old eyes to witness!--the child of worthy, gallant, loyal Hugh
Griffith a captive, and taken in arms against his prince! Young man,
young man, what would thy honest father, what would his bosom friend, my
own poor brother Harry, have said, had it pleased God that they had
survived to witness this burning shame and lasting stigma on thy
respectable name?"

"Had my father lived, he would now have been upholding the independence
of his native land," said the young man, proudly. "I wish to respect
even the prejudices of Colonel Howard, and beg he will forbear urging a
subject on which I fear we never shall agree."

"Never, while thou art to be found in the ranks of rebellion!" cried the
colonel. "Oh! boy! boy! how I could have loved and cherished thee, if
the skill and knowledge obtained in the service of thy prince were now
devoted to the maintenance of his unalienable rights! I loved thy
father, worthy Hugh, even as I loved my own brother Harry."

"And his son should still be dear to you," interrupted Griffith, taking
the reluctant hand of the colonel into both his own.

"Ah, Edward, Edward!" continued the softened veteran, "how many of my
day-dreams have been destroyed by thy perversity! nay, I know not that
Kit, discreet and loyal as he is, could have found such a favor in my
eyes as thyself; there is a cast of thy father in that face and smile,
Ned, that might have won me to anything short of treason--and then
Cicely, provoking, tender, mutinous, kind affectionate, good Cicely,
would have been a link to unite us forever."

The youth cast a hasty glance at the deliberate Borroughcliffe, who, if
he had obeyed the impatient expression of his eye, would have followed
the party that was slowly bearing the wounded towards the abbey, before
he yielded to his feelings, and answered:

"Nay, sir; let this then be the termination of our misunderstanding--
your lovely niece shall be that link, and you shall be to me as your
friend Hugh would have been had he lived, and to Cecilia twice a
parent."

"Boy, boy," said the veteran, averting his face to conceal the working
of his muscles, "you talk idly; my word is now plighted to my kinsman
Kit, and thy scheme is impracticable."

"Nothing is impracticable, sir, to youth and enterprise, when aided by
age and experience like yours," returned Griffith; "this war must soon
terminate."

"This war!" echoed the colonel, shaking loose the grasp which Griffith
held on his arm; "ay! what of this war, young man? Is it not an accursed
attempt to deny the rights of our gracious sovereign, and to place
tyrants, reared in kennels, on the throne of princes! a scheme to
elevate the wicked at the expense of the good! a project to aid
unrighteous ambition, under the mask of sacred liberty and the popular
cry of equality! as if there could be liberty without order! or equality
of rights, where the privileges of the sovereign are not as sacred as
those of the people!"

"You judge us harshly, Colonel Howard," said Griffith.

"I judge you!" interrupted the old soldier, who, by this time, thought
the youth resembled any one rather than his friend Hugh; "it is not my
province to judge you at all; if it were!--but the time will come, the
time will come. I am a patient man, and can wait the course of things;
yes, yes, age cools the blood, and we learn to suppress the passions and
impatience of youth: but if the ministry would issue a commission of
justice for the colonies, and put the name of old George Howard in it, I
am a dog, if there should be a rebel alive in twelve months. Sir,"
turning sternly to Borroughcliffe, "in such a case, I could prove a
Roman, and hang--hang--yes, I do think, sir, I could hang my kinsman,
Mr. Christopher Dillon!"

"Spare the Cacique such unnatural elevation before his time," returned
the captain with a grave wave of the hand: "behold," pointing towards
the wood, "there is a more befitting subject for the gallows! Mr.
Griffith, yonder man calls himself your comrade?"

The eyes of Colonel Howard and Griffith followed the direction of his
finger, and the latter instantly recognized the Pilot, standing in the
skirts of the wood, with his arms folded, apparently surveying the
condition of his friends.

"That man," said Griffith, in confusion, and hesitating to utter even
the equivocal truth that suggested itself, "that man does not belong to
our ship's company."

"And yet he has been seen in _your_ company," returned the
incredulous Borroughcliffe; "he was the spokesman in last night's
examination, Colonel Howard, and, doubtless, commands the rear-guard of
the rebels."

"You say true," cried the veteran; "Pompey! Caesar! present! fire!"

The blacks started at the sudden orders of their master, of whom they
stood in the deepest awe; and, presenting their muskets, they averted
their faces, and, shutting their eyes, obeyed the bloody mandate.

"Charge!" shouted the colonel, flourishing the ancient sword with which
he had armed himself, and pressing forward with all the activity that a
recent fit of the gout would allow, "charge, and exterminate the dogs
with the bayonet! push on, Pompey--dress, boys, dress."

"If your friend stands this charge," said Borroughcliffe to Griffith,
with unmoved composure, "his nerves are made of iron; such a charge
would break the Coldstreams; with Pompey in the ranks!"

"I trust in God," cried Griffith, "he will have forbearance enough to
respect the weakness of Colonel Howard!--he presents a pistol!"

"But he will not fire; the Romans deem it prudent to halt; nay, by
heaven, they countermarch to the rear. Holla! Colonel Howard, my worthy
host, fall back on your reinforcements; the wood is full of armed men;
they cannot escape us; I only wait for the horse to cut off the
retreat."

The veteran, who had advanced within a short distance of the single man
who thus deliberately awaited the attack, halted at this summons; and by
a glance of his eye, ascertained that he stood alone. Believing the
words of Borroughcliffe to be true, he slowly retired, keeping his face
manfully towards his enemy, until he gained the support of the captain.

"Recall the troops, Borroughcliffe!" he cried, "and let us charge into
the wood; they will fly before his majesty's arms like guilty
scoundrels, as they are. As for the negroes, I'll teach the black
rascals to desert their master at such a moment. They say Fear is pale,
but, damme, Borroughcliffe, if I don't believe his skin is black."

"I have seen him of all colors; blue, white, black, and particolored,"
said the captain. "I must take the command of matters on myself,
however, my excellent host; let us retire into the abbey, and trust me
to cut off the remainder of the rebels."

In this arrangement the colonel reluctantly acquiesced, and the three
followed the soldier to the dwelling, at a pace that was adapted to the
infirmities of its master. The excitement of the onset, and the current
of his ideas, had united, however, to banish every amicable thought from
the breast of the colonel, and he entered the abbey with a resolute
determination of seeing justice dealt to Griffith and his companions,
even though it should push them to the foot of the gallows.

As the gentlemen disappeared from his view, among the shrubbery of the
grounds, the Pilot replaced the weapon that was hanging from his hand,
in his bosom, and, turning with a saddened and thoughtful brow, he
slowly re-entered the wood.




CHAPTER XXI

  ----"When these prodigies
  Do so conjointly meet, let not men say.
  These are their reasons,--They are natural,
  For, I believe they are portentous things
  Unto the climate that they point upon."
  _Casca._


The reader will discover, by referring to the time consumed in the
foregoing events, that the Ariel, with her prize, did not anchor in the
bay already mentioned, until Griffith and his party had been for several
hours in the custody of their enemies. The supposed capture of the rebel
schooner was an incident that excited but little interest, and no
surprise, among a people who were accustomed to consider their seamen as
invincible; and Barnstable had not found it a difficult task to practise
his deception on the few rustics whom curiosity induced to venture
alongside the vessels during the short continuance of daylight. When,
however, the fogs of evening began to rise along the narrow basin, and
the curvatures of its margin were lost in the single outline of its dark
and gloomy border, the young seaman thought it time to apply himself in
earnest to his duty. The Alacrity, containing all his own crew, together
with the Ariel's wounded, was gotten silently under way; and driving
easily before the heavy air that swept from the land, she drifted from
the harbor, until the open sea lay before her, when her sails were
spread, and she continued to make the best of her way in quest of the
frigate. Barnstable had watched this movement with breathless anxiety;
for on an eminence that completely commanded the waters to some
distance, a small but rude battery had been erected for the purpose of
protecting the harbor against the depredations and insults of the
smaller vessels of the enemy; and a guard of sufficient force to manage
the two heavy guns it contained was maintained in the work at all times.
He was ignorant how far his stratagem had been successful, and it was
only when he heard the fluttering of the Alacrity's canvas, as she
opened it to the breeze, he felt that he was yet secure.

"'Twill reach the Englishmen's ears," said the boy Merry, who stood on
the forecastle of the schooner, by the side of his commander, listening
with breathless interest to the sounds; "they set a sentinel on the
point, as the sun went down, and if he is a trifle better than a dead
man, or a marine asleep, he will suspect something is wrong."

"Never!" returned Barnstable, with a long breath, that announced all his
apprehensions were removed; "he will be more likely to believe it a
mermaid fanning herself this cool evening, than to suspect the real
fact. What say you, Master Coffin? will the soldier smell the truth?"

"They're a dumb race," said the cockswain, casting his eyes over his
shoulders, to ascertain that none of their own marine guard was near
him; "now, there was our sergeant, who ought to know something, seeing
that he has been afloat these four years, maintained, dead in the face
and eyes of what every man, who has ever doubled Good Hope, knows to be
true, that there was no such vessel to be fallen in with in them seas,
as the Flying Dutchman! and then, again, when I told him that he was a
'know-nothing,' and asked him if the Dutchman was a more unlikely thing
than that there should be places where the inhabitants split the year
into two watches, and had day for six months, and night the rest of the
time, the greenhorn laughed in my face, and I do believe he would have
told me I lied, but for one thing."

"And what might that be?" asked Barnstable, gravely.

"Why, sir," returned Tom, stretching his bony fingers, as he surveyed
his broad palm, by the little light that remained, "though I am a
peaceable man, I can be roused."

"And you have seen the Flying Dutchman?"

"I never doubled the east cape; though I can find my way through Le
Maire in the darkest night that ever fell from the heavens; but I have
seen them that have seen her, and spoken her, too."

"Well, be it so; you must turn flying Yankee, yourself, to-night, Master
Coffin. Man your boat at once, sir, and arm your crew."

The cockswain paused a moment before he proceeded to obey this
unexpected order, and, pointing towards the battery, he inquired, with
infinite phlegm:

"For shore-work, sir? Shall we take the cutlashes and pistols? or shall
we want the pikes?"

"There may be soldiers in our way, with their bayonets," said
Barnstable, musing; "arm as usual, but throw a few long pikes into the
boat; and harkye, Master Coffin, out with your tub and whale-line: for I
see you have rigged yourself anew in that way."

The cockswain, who was moving from the forecastle, turned short at this
new mandate, and with an air of remonstrance, ventured to say:

"Trust an old whaler, Captain Barnstable, who has been used to these
craft all his life. A whale-boat is made to pull with a tub and line in
it, as naturally as a ship is made to sail with ballast, and----"

"Out with it, out with it," interrupted the other, with an impatient
gesture, that his cockswain knew signified a positive determination.
Heaving a sigh at what he deemed his commander's prejudice, Tom applied
himself without further delay to the execution of the orders. Barnstable
laid his hand familiarly on the shoulder of the boy, and led him to the
stern of his little vessel, in profound silence. The canvas hood that
covered the entrance to the cabin was thrown partly aside; and by the
light of the lamp that was burning in the small apartment, it was easy
to overlook, from the deck, what was passing beneath them. Dillon sat
supporting his head with his two hands, in a manner that shaded his
face, but in an attitude that denoted deep and abstracted musing.

"I would that I could see the face of my prisoner," said Barnstable, in
an undertone, that was audible only to his companion. "The eye of a man
is a sort of lighthouse, to tell one how to steer into the haven of his
confidence, boy."

"And sometimes a beacon, sir, to warn you there is no safe anchorage
near him," returned the ready boy.

"Rogue!" muttered Barnstable, "your cousin Kate spoke there."

"If my cousin Plowden were here, Mr. Barnstable, I know that her opinion
of yon gentleman would not be at all more favorable."

"And yet, I have determined to trust him! Listen, boy, and tell me if I
am wrong; you have a quick wit, like some others of your family, and may
suggest something advantageous." The gratified midshipman swelled with
the conscious pleasure of possessing his commander's confidence, and
followed to the taffrail, over which Barnstable leaned, while he
delivered the remainder of his communication. "I have gathered from the
'longshoremen who have come off this evening, to stare at the vessel
which the rebels have been able to build, that a party of seamen and
marines have been captured in an old ruin near the Abbey of St. Ruth,
this very day."

"'Tis Mr. Griffith!" exclaimed the boy.

"Ay! the wit of your cousin Katherine was not necessary to discover
that. Now, I have proposed to this gentleman with the Savannah face,
that he should go into the abbey, and negotiate an exchange. I will give
him for Griffith, and the crew of the Alacrity for Manual's command and
the Tigers."

"The Tigers!" cried the lad, with emotion; "have they got my Tigers,
too? Would to God that Mr. Griffith had permitted me to land!"

"It was no boy's work they were about, and room was scarcer in their
boat than live lumber. But this Mr. Dillon has accepted my proposition,
and has pledged himself that Griffith shall return within an hour after
he is permitted to enter the Abbey; will he redeem his honor from the
pledge?"

"He may," said Merry, musing a moment; "for I believe he thinks the
presence of Mr. Griffith under the same roof with Miss Howard a thing to
be prevented, if possible; he may be true in this instance, though he
has a hollow look."

"He has bad-looking lighthouses, I will own," said Barnstable; "and yet
he is a gentleman, and promises fair; 'tis unmanly to suspect him in
such a matter, and I will have faith! Now listen, sir. The absence of
older heads must throw great responsibility on your young shoulders;
watch that battery as closely as if you were at the mast-head of your
frigate, on the lookout for an enemy; the instant you see lights moving
in it, cut, and run into the offing; you will find me somewhere under
the cliffs, and you will stand off and on, keeping the abbey in sight,
until you fall in with us."

Merry gave an attentive ear to these and divers other solemn injunctions
that he received from his commander, who, having sent the officer next
to himself in authority in charge of the prize (the third in command
being included in the list of the wounded), was compelled to entrust his
beloved schooner to the vigilance of a lad whose years gave no promise
of the experience and skill that he actually possessed.

When his admonitory instructions were ended, Barnstable stepped again to
the opening in the cabin-hood, and, for a single moment before he spoke,
once more examined the countenance of his prisoner, with a keen eye.
Dillon had removed his hands from before his sallow features; and, as if
conscious of the scrutiny his looks were to undergo, had concentrated
the whole expression of his forbidding aspect in a settled gaze of
hopeless submission to his fate. At least, so thought his captor, and
the idea touched some of the finer feelings in the bosom of the generous
young seaman. Discarding, instantly, every suspicion of his prisoner's
honor, as alike unworthy of them both, Barnstable summoned him, in a
cheerful voice, to the boat. There was a flashing of the features of
Dillon, at this call, which gave an indefinable expression to his
countenance, that again startled the sailor; but it was so very
transient, and could so easily be mistaken for a smile of pleasure at
his promised liberation, that the doubts it engendered passed away
almost as speedily as the equivocal expression itself. Barnstable was in
the act of following his companion into the boat, when he felt himself
detained by a slight hold of his arm.

"What would you have?" he asked of the midshipman, who had given him the
signal.

"Do not trust too much to that Dillon, sir," returned the anxious boy,
in a whisper; "if you had seen his face, as I did, when the binnacle
light fell upon it, as he came up the cabin ladder, you would put no
faith in him."

"I should have seen no beauty," said the generous lieutenant, laughing;
"but there is long Tom, as hard-featured a youth of two score and ten as
ever washed in brine, who has a heart as big, ay, bigger than that of a
kraaken. A bright watch to you, boy, and remember a keen eye on the
battery." As he was yet speaking, Barnstable crossed the gunwale of his
little vessel, and it was not until he was seated by the side of his
prisoner that he continued, aloud: "Cast the stops off your sails, Mr.
Merry, and see all clear to make a run of everything; recollect, you are
short-handed, sir. God bless ye! and d'ye hear? if there is a man among
you who shuts more than one eye at a time, I'll make him, when I get
back, open both wider than if Tom Coffin's friend, the Flying Dutchman,
was booming down upon him. God bless ye, Merry, my boy; give 'em the
square-sail, if this breeze off-shore holds on till morning:--shove
off."

As Barnstable gave the last order, he fell back on his seat, and,
drawing back his boat-cloak around him maintained a profound silence,
until they had passed the two small headlands that fanned the mouth of
the harbor. The men pulled, with muffled oars, their long, vigorous
strokes, and the boat glided with amazing rapidity past the objects that
could be yet indistinctly seen along the dim shore. When, however, they
had gained the open ocean, and the direction of their little bark was
changed to one that led them in a line with the coast, and within the
shadows of the cliffs, the cockswain, deeming that the silence was no
longer necessary to their safety, ventured to break it, as follows:

"A square-sail is a good sail to carry on a craft, dead afore it, and in
a heavy sea; but if fifty years can teach a man to know the weather,
it's my judgment that should the Ariel break ground after the night
turns at eight bells, she'll need her mainsail to hold her up to her
course."

The lieutenant started at this sudden interruption, and casting his
cloak from his shoulders, he looked abroad on the waters, as if seeking
those portentous omens which disturbed the imagination of his cockswain.

"How now, Tom," he said, sharply, "have ye turned croaker in your old
age? what see you, to cause such an old woman's ditty?"

"'Tis no song of an old woman," returned the cockswain with solemn
earnestness, "but the warning of an old man; and one who has spent his
days where there were no hills to prevent the winds of heaven from
blowing on him, unless they were hills of salt water and foam. I judge,
sir, there'll be a heavy northeaster setting in upon us afore the
morning watch is called."

Barnstable knew the experience of his old messmate too well not to feel
uneasiness at such an opinion, delivered in so confident a manner; but
after again surveying the horizon, the heavens, and the ocean, he said,
with a continued severity of manner:

"Your prophecy is idle, this time, Master Coffin; everything looks like
a dead calm. This swell is what is left from the last blow; the mist
overhead is nothing but the nightly fog, and you can see, with own eyes,
that it is driving seaward; even this land-breeze is nothing but the air
of the ground mixing with that of the ocean; it is heavy with dew and
fog, but it's as sluggish as a Dutch galliot."

"Ay, sir, it is damp, and there is little of it," rejoined Tom; "but as
it comes only from the shore, so it never goes far on the water, It is
hard to learn the true signs of the weather, Captain Barnstable, and
none get to know them well, but such as study little else or feel but
little else. There is only One who can see the winds of heaven, or who
can tell when a hurricane is to begin, or where it will end. Still, a
man isn't like a whale or a porpoise, that takes the, air in his
nostrils, and never knows whether it is a southeaster or a northwester
that he feeds upon. Look, broad-off to leeward, sir; see the streak of
clear sky shining under the mists; take an old seafaring man's word for
it, Captain Barnstable, that whenever the light shines out of the
heavens in that fashion, 'tis never done for nothing; besides, the sun
set in a dark bank of clouds, and the little moon we had was dry and
windy."

Barnstable listened attentively, and with increasing concern, for he
well knew that his cockswain possessed a quick and almost unerring
judgment of the weather, notwithstanding the confused medley of
superstitious omens and signs with which it was blended; but again
throwing himself back in his boat, he muttered:

"Then let it blow; Griffith is worth a heavier risk, and if the battery
can't be cheated, it can be carried."

Nothing further passed on the state of the weather. Dillon had not
ventured a single remark since he entered the boat, and the cockswain
had the discretion to understand that his officer was willing to be left
to his own thoughts. For nearly an hour they pursued their way with
diligence; the sinewy seamen, who wielded the oars, urging their light
boat along the edge of the surf with unabated velocity, and apparently
with untired exertions. Occasionally, Barnstable would cast an inquiring
glance at the little inlets that they passed, or would note, with a
seaman's eye, the small portions of sandy beach that were scattered here
and there along the rocky boundaries of the coast. One in particular, a
deeper inlet than common, where a run of fresh water was heard gurgling
as it met the tide, he pointed out to his cockswain, by significant but
silent gestures, as a place to be especially noted. Tom, who understood
the signal as intended for his own eye alone, made his observations on
the spot with equal taciturnity, but with all the minuteness that would
distinguish one long accustomed to find his way, whether by land or
water, by landmarks and the bearings of different objects. Soon after
this silent communication between the lieutenant and his cockswain, the
boat was suddenly turned, and was in the act of dashing upon the spit of
sand before it, when Barnstable checked the movement by his voice:

"Hold water!" he said; "'tis the sound of oars!"

The seamen held their boat at rest, while a deep attention was given to
the noise that had alarmed the ears of their commander.

"See, sir," said the cockswain, pointing towards the eastern horizon;
"it is just rising into the streak of light to seaward of us--now it
settles in the trough--ah! here you have it again!"

"By heavens!" cried Barnstable, "'tis a man-of-war's stroke it pulls; I
saw the oar-blades as they fell! and, listen to the sound! neither your
fisherman nor your smuggler pulls such a regular oar."

Tom had bowed his head nearly to the water, in the act of listening, and
now raising himself, he spoke with confidence:

"That is the Tiger; I know the stroke of her crew as well as I do of my
own. Mr. Merry has made them learn the new-fashioned jerk, as they dip
their blades, and they feather with such a roll in their rullocks! I
could swear to the stroke."

"Hand me the night-glass," said his commander, impatiently. "I can catch
them, as they are lifted into the streak. You are right, by every star
in our flag, Tom!--but there is only one man in her stern-sheets. By my
good eyes, I believe it is that accursed Pilot, sneaking from the land,
and leaving Griffith and Manual to die in English prisons. To shore with
you--beach her at once!"

The order was no sooner given than it was obeyed, and in less than two
minutes the impatient Barnstable, Dillon, and the cockswain, were
standing together on the sands.

The impression he had received, that his friends were abandoned to their
fate by the Pilot, urged the generous young seaman to hasten the
departure of his prisoner, as he was fearful every moment might
interpose some new obstacle to the success of his plans.

"Mr. Dillon," he said, the instant they were landed, "I exact no new
promise--your honor is already plighted----"

"If oaths can make it stronger," interrupted Dillon, "I will take them."

"Oaths cannot--the honor of a gentleman is, at all times, enough. I
shall send my cockswain with you to the abbey, and you will either
return with him, in person, within two hours, or give Mr. Griffith and
Captain Manual to his guidance. Proceed, sir, you are conditionally
free; there is an easy opening by which to ascend the cliffs."

Dillon once more thanked his generous captor, and then proceeded to
force his way up the rough eminence.

"Follow, and obey his instructions," said Barnstable to his cockswain,
aloud.

Tom, long accustomed to implicit obedience, handled his harpoon, and was
quietly following in the footsteps of his new leader, when he felt the
hand of the lieutenant on his shoulder.

"You saw where the brook emptied over the hillock of sand?" said
Barnstable, in an undertone.

Tom nodded assent.

"You will find us there riding without the surf--'Twill not do to trust
too much to an enemy."

The cockswain made a gesture of great significance with his weapon, that
was intended to indicate the danger their prisoner would incur should he
prove false; when, applying the wooden end of the harpoon to the rocks,
he ascended the ravine at a rate that soon brought him to the side of
his companion.




CHAPTER XXII

  "Ay marry, let me have him to sit under;
  He's like to be a cold soldier."
  _Falstaff_.


Barnstable lingered on the sands for a few minutes, until the footsteps
of Dillon and the cockswain were no longer audible, when he ordered his
men to launch their boat once more into the surf. While the seamen
pulled leisurely towards the place he had designated as the point where
he would await the return of Tom, the lieutenant first began to
entertain serious apprehensions concerning the good faith of his
prisoner. Now that Dillon was beyond his control, his imagination
presented, in very vivid colors, several little circumstances in the
other's conduct, which might readily excuse some doubts of his good
faith; and, by the time they had reached the place of rendezvous, and
had cast a light grapnel into the sea, his fears had rendered him
excessively uncomfortable. Leaving the lieutenant to his reflections on
this unpleasant subject, we shall follow Dillon and his fearless and
unsuspecting companion in their progress towards St. Ruth.

The mists to which Tom had alluded in his discussion with his commander
on the state of the weather appeared to be settling nearer to the earth,
and assuming more decidedly the appearance of a fog, hanging above them
in sluggish volumes, but little agitated by the air. The consequent
obscurity added deeply to the gloom of the night, and it would have been
difficult for one less acquainted than Dillon with the surrounding
localities to find the path which led to the dwelling of Colonel Howard.
After some little search, this desirable object was effected; and the
civilian led the way, with rapid strides, towards the abbey.

"Ay, ay!" said Tom, who followed his steps, and equaled his paces,
without any apparent effort, "you shore people have an easy way to find
your course and distance, when you get into the track. I was once left
by the craft I belonged to, in Boston, to find my way to Plymouth, which
is a matter of fifteen leagues, or thereaway; and so, finding nothing
was bound up the bay, after lying-by for a week, I concluded to haul
aboard my land tacks. I spent the better part of another week in a
search for some hooker, on board which I might work my passage across
the country, for money was as scarce then with old Tom Coffin as it is
now, and is likely to be, unless the fisheries get a good luff soon; but
it seems that nothing but your horse-flesh, and horned cattle, and
jackasses, are privileged to do the pulling and hauling in your shore-
hookers; and I was forced to pay a week's wages for a berth, besides
keeping a banyan on a mouthful of bread and cheese, from the time we
hove up in Boston, till we came to in Plymouth town."

"It was certainly an unreasonable exaction on the part of the wagoners,
from a man in your situation," said Dillon, in a friendly, soothing tone
of voice, that denoted a willingness to pursue the conversation.

"My situation was that of a cabin passenger," returned the cockswain;
"for there was but one hand forward, besides the cattle I mentioned--
that was he who steered--and an easy berth he had of it; for there his
course lay atween walls of stone and fences: and, as for his reckoning,
why, they had stuck up bits of stone on an end, with his day's work
footed up, ready to his hand, every half league or so. Besides, the
landmarks were so plenty, that a man with half an eye might steer her,
and no fear of getting to leeward,"

"You must have found yourself as it were in a new world," observed
Dillon.

"Why, to me it was pretty much the same as if I had been set afloat in a
strange country, though I may be said to be a native of those parts,
being born on the coast. I had often heard shoremen say, that there was
as much 'arth as water in the world, which I always set down as a rank
lie, for I've sailed with a flowing sheet months an-end without falling
in with as much land or rock as would answer a gull to lay its eggs on;
but I will own, that atween Boston and Plymouth, we were out of sight of
water for as much as two full watches!"

Dillon pursued this interesting subject with great diligence; and by the
time they reached the wall, which enclosed the large paddock that
surrounded the abbey, the cockswain was deeply involved in a discussion
of the comparative magnitude of the Atlantic Ocean and the continent of
America.

Avoiding the principal entrance to the building, through the great gates
which communicated with the court in front, Dillon followed the windings
of the wall until it led them to a wicket, which he knew was seldom
closed for the night until the hour for general rest had arrived. Their
way now lay in the rear of the principal edifice, and soon conducted
them to the confused pile which contained the offices. The cockswain
followed his companion with a confiding reliance on his knowledge and
good faith, that was somewhat increased by the freedom of communication
that had been maintained during their walk from the cliffs. He did not
perceive anything extraordinary in the other's stopping at the room,
which had been provided as a sort of barracks for the soldiers of
Captain Borroughcliffe. A conference which took place between Dillon and
the sergeant was soon ended, when the former beckoned to the cockswain
to follow, and taking a circuit round the whole of the offices, they
entered the abbey together, by the door through which the ladies had
issued when in quest of the three prisoners, as has been already
related.--After a turn or two among the narrow passages of that part of
the edifice, Tom, whose faith in the facilities of land navigation began
to be a little shaken, found himself following his guide through a long,
dark gallery, that was terminated at the end toward which they were
approaching, by a half-open door, that admitted a glimpse into a well-
lighted and comfortable apartment. To this door Dillon hastily advanced,
and, throwing it open, the cockswain enjoyed a full view of the very
scene that we described in introducing Colonel Howard to the
acquaintance of the reader, and under circumstances of great similitude.
The cheerful fire of coal, the strong and glaring lights, the tables of
polished mahogany, and the blushing fluids, were still the same in
appearance, while the only perceptible change was in the number of those
who partook of the cheer. The master of the mansion and Borroughcliffe
were seated opposite to each other, employed in discussing the events of
the day, and diligently pushing to and fro the glittering vessel, that
contained a portion of the generous liquor they both loved so well; a
task which each moment rendered lighter.

"If Kit would but return," exclaimed the veteran, whose back was to the
opening door, "bringing with, him his honest brows encircled, as they
will be or ought to be, with laurel, I should be the happiest old fool,
Borroughcliffe, in his majesty's realm of Great Britain!"

The captain, who felt the necessity for the unnatural restraint he had
imposed on his thirst to be removed by the capture of his enemies,
pointed towards the door with one hand, while he grasped the sparkling
reservoir of the "south side" with the other, and answered:

"Lo! the Cacique himself! his brow inviting the diadem--ha! who have we
in his highness' train? By the Lord, sir Cacique, if you travel with a
body-guard of such grenadiers, old Frederick of Prussia himself will
have occasion to envy you the corps! a clear six-footer in nature's
stockings! and the arms as unique as the armed!"

The colonel did not, however, attend to half of his companion's
exclamations, but turning, he beheld the individual he had so much
desired, and received him with a delight proportioned to the
unexpectedness of the pleasure. For several minutes, Dillon was
compelled to listen to the rapid questions of his venerable relative, to
all of which he answered with a prudent reserve, that might, in some
measure, have been governed by the presence of the cockswain. Tom stood
with infinite composure, leaning on his harpoon, and surveying, with a
countenance where wonder was singularly blended with contempt, the
furniture and arrangements of an apartment that was far more splendid
than any he had before seen. In the mean time, Borroughcliffe entirely
disregarded the private communications that passed between his host and
Dillon, which gradually became more deeply interesting, and finally drew
them to a distant corner of the apartment, but taking a most undue
advantage of the absence of the gentleman, who had so lately been his
boon companion, he swallowed one potation after another, as if a double
duty had devolved on him, in consequence of the desertion of the
veteran. Whenever his eye did wander from the ruby tints of his glass,
it was to survey with unrepressed admiration the inches of the
cockswain, about whose stature and frame there were numberless excellent
points to attract the gaze of a recruiting officer. From this double
pleasure, the captain was, however, at last summoned, to participate in
the councils of his friends.

Dillon was spared the disagreeable duty of repeating the artful tale he
had found it necessary to palm on the colonel, by the ardor of the
veteran himself, who executed the task in a manner that gave to the
treachery of his kinsman every appearance of a justifiable artifice and
of unshaken zeal in the cause of his prince. In substance, Tom was to be
detained as a prisoner, and the party of Barnstable were to be
entrapped, and of course to share a similar fate. The sunken eye of
Dillon cowered before the steady gaze which Borroughcliffe fastened on
him, as the latter listened to the plaudits the colonel lavished on his
cousin's ingenuity; but the hesitation that lingered in the soldier's
manner vanished when he turned to examine their unsuspecting prisoner,
who was continuing his survey of the apartment, while he innocently
imagined the consultations he witnessed were merely the proper and
preparatory steps to his admission into the presence of Mr. Griffith.

"Drill," said Borroughcliffe, aloud, "advance, and receive your orders."
The cockswain turned quickly at this sudden mandate, and, for the first
time, perceived that he had been followed into the gallery by the
orderly and two files of the recruits, armed. "Take this man to the
guard-room, and feed him, and see that he dies not of thirst."

There was nothing alarming in this order; and Tom was following the
soldiers, in obedience to a gesture from their captain, when their steps
were arrested in the gallery, by the cry of "Halt!"

"On recollection, Drill," said Borroughcliffe, in a tone from which all
dictatorial sounds were banished, "show the gentleman into my own room,
and see him properly supplied."

The orderly gave such an intimation of his comprehending the meaning of
his officer, as the latter was accustomed to receive, when
Borroughcliffe returned to his bottle, and the cockswain followed his
guide, with an alacrity and good will that were not a little increased
by the repeated mention of the cheer that awaited him.

Luckily for the impatience of Tom, the quarters of the captain were at
hand, and the promised entertainment by no means slow in making its
appearance. The former was an apartment that opened from a lesser
gallery, which communicated with the principal passage already
mentioned; and the latter was a bountiful but ungarnished supply of that
staple of the British Isles, called roast beef; of which the kitchen of
Colonel Howard was never without a due and loyal provision,--The
sergeant, who certainly understood one of the signs of his captain to
imply an attack on the citadel of the cockswain's brain, mingled, with
his own hands, a potation that he styled a rummer of grog, and which he
thought would have felled the animal itself that Tom was so diligently
masticating, had it been alive and in its vigor. Every calculation that
was made on the infirmity of the cockswain's intellect, under the
stimulus of Jamaica, was, however, futile. He swallowed glass after
glass, with prodigious relish, but, at the same time, with immovable
steadiness; and the eyes of the sergeant, who felt it incumbent to do
honor to his own cheer, were already glistening in his head, when,
happily for the credit of his heart, a tap at the door announced the
presence of his captain, and relieved him from the impending disgrace of
being drunk blind by a recruit.

As Borroughcliffe entered the apartment, he commanded his orderly to
retire, adding:

"Mr. Dillon will give you instructions, which you are implicitly to
obey."

Drill, who had sense enough remaining to apprehend the displeasure of
his officer, should the latter discover his condition, quickened his
departure, and the cockswain soon found himself alone with the captain.
The vigor of Tom's attacks on the remnant of the sirloin was now much
abated, leaving in its stead that placid quiet which is apt to linger
about the palate long after the cravings of the appetite have been
appeased. He had seated himself on one of the trunks of Borroughcliffe,
utterly disdaining the use of a chair; and, with the trencher in his
lap, was using his own jack-knife on the dilapidated fragment of the ox,
with something of that nicety with which the female ghoul of the Arabian
Tales might be supposed to pick her rice with the point of her bodkin.
The captain drew a seat nigh the cockswain; and, with a familiarity and
kindness infinitely condescending, when the difference in their several
conditions is considered, he commenced the following dialogue:

"I hope you have found your entertainment to your liking, Mr. a-a-I must
own my ignorance of your name."

"Tom," said the cockswain, keeping his eyes roaming over the contents of
the trencher; "commonly called long Tom, by my shipmates."

"You have sailed with discreet men, and able navigators, it will seem,
as they understood longitude so well," rejoined the captain; "but you
have a patronymic--I would say another name?"

"Coffin," returned the cockswain; "I'm called Tom, when there is any
hurry, such as letting go the haulyards, or a sheet; long Tom, when they
want to get to windward of an old seaman, by fair weather; and long Tom
Coffin, when they wish to hail me, so that none of my cousins of the
same name, about the islands, shall answer; for I believe the best man
among them can't measure much over a fathom, taking him from his
headworks to his heel."

"You are a most deserving fellow," cried Borroughcliffe, "and it is
painful to think to what a fate the treachery of Mr. Dillon has
consigned you."

The suspicions of Tom, if he ever entertained any, were lulled to rest
too effectually by the kindness he had received, to be awakened by this
equivocal lament; he therefore, after renewing his intimacy with the
rummer, contented himself by saying, with a satisfied simplicity:

"I am consigned to no one, carrying no cargo but this Mr. Dillon, who is
to give me Mr. Griffith in exchange, or go back to the Ariel himself, as
my prisoner."

"Ah! my good friend, I fear you will find, when the time comes to make
this exchange, that he will refuse to do either."

"But, I'll be d----d if he don't do one of them! My orders are to see it
done, and back he goes; or Mr. Griffith, who is as good a seaman, for
his years, as ever trod a deck, slips his cable from this here
anchorage."

Borroughcliffe affected to eye his companion with great commiseration;
an exhibition of compassion that was, however, completely lost on the
cockswain, whose nerves were strung to their happiest tension by his
repeated libations, while his wit was, if anything, quickened by the
same cause, though his own want of guile rendered him slow to comprehend
its existence in others. Perceiving it necessary to speak plainly, the
captain renewed the attack in a more direct manner:

"I am sorry to say that you will not be permitted to return to the
Ariel; and that your commander, Mr. Barnstable, will be a prisoner
within the hour; and, in fact, that your schooner will be taken before
the morning breaks."

"Who'll take her?" asked the cockswain with a grim smile, on whose
feelings, however, this combination of threatened calamities was
beginning to make some impression.

"You must remember that she lies immediately under the heavy guns of a
battery that can sink her in a few minutes; an express has already been
sent to acquaint the commander of the work with the Ariel's true
character; and as the wind has already begun to blow from the ocean, her
escape is impossible."

The truth, together with its portentous consequences, now began to glare
across the faculties of the cockswain. He remembered his own prognostics
on the weather, and the helpless situation of the schooner, deprived of
more than half her crew, and left to the keeping of a boy, while her
commander himself was on the eve of captivity. The trencher fell from
his lap to the floor, his head sunk on his knees, his face was concealed
between his broad palms, and, in spite of every effort the old seaman
could make to conceal his emotion, he fairly groaned aloud.

For a moment, the better feelings of Borroughcliffe prevailed, and he
paused as he witnessed this exhibition of suffering in one whose head
was already sprinkled with the marks of time; but his habits, and the
impressions left by many years passed in collecting victims for the
wars, soon resumed their ascendency, and the recruiting officer
diligently addressed himself to an improvement of his advantage.

"I pity from my heart the poor lads whom artifice or mistaken notions of
duty may have led astray, and who will thus be taken in arms against
their sovereign; but as they are found in the very island of Britain,
they must be made examples to deter others. I fear that, unless they can
make their peace with government, they will all be condemned to death."

"Let them make their peace with God, then; your government can do but
little to clear the log-account of a man whose watch is up for this
world."

"But, by making their peace with those who have the power, their lives
may be spared," said the captain, watching, with keen eyes, the effect
his words produced on the cockswain.

"It matters but little, when a man hears the messenger pipe his hammock
down for the last time; he keeps his watch in another world, though he
goes below in this. But to see wood and iron, that has been put together
after such moulds as the Ariel's, go into strange hands, is a blow that
a man may remember long after the purser's books have been squared
against his name for ever! I would rather that twenty shot should strike
my old carcass, than one should hull the schooner that didn't pass out
above her water-line."

Borroughcliffe replied, somewhat carelessly, "I may be mistaken, after
all; and, instead of putting any of you to death, they may place you all
on board the prison-ships, where you may yet have a merry time of it
these ten or fifteen years to come."

"How's that, shipmate!" cried the cockswain, with a start; "a prison-
ship, d'ye say? you may tell them they can save the expense of one man's
rations by hanging him, if they please, and that is old Tom Coffin."

"There is no answering for their caprice: to-day they may order a dozen
of you to be shot for rebels; to-morrow they may choose to consider you
as prisoners of war, and send you to the hulks for a dozen years."

"Tell them, brother, that I'm a rebel, will ye? and ye'll tell 'em no
lie--one that has fou't them since Manly's time, in Boston Bay, to this
hour. I hope the boy will blow her up! it would be the death of poor
Richard Barnstable to see her in the hands of the English!"

"I know of one way," said Borroughcliffe, affecting to muse, "and but
one, that will certainly avert the prison-ship; for, on second thoughts,
they will hardly put you to death."

"Name it, friend," cried the cockswain, rising from his seat in evident
perturbation, "and if it lies in the power of man, it shall be done."

"Nay," said the captain, dropping his hand familiarly on the shoulder of
the other, who listened with the most eager attention, "'tis easily
done, and no dreadful thing in itself; you are used to gunpowder, and
know its smell from otto of roses!"

"Ay, ay," cried the impatient old seaman; "I have had it flashing under
my nose by the hour; what then?"

"Why, then, what I have to propose will be nothing to a man like you--
you found the beef wholesome, and the grog mellow!"

"Ay, ay, all well enough; but what is that to an old sailor?" asked the
cockswain, unconsciously grasping the collar of Borroughcliffe's coat,
in his agitation; "what then?"

The captain manifested no displeasure at this unexpected familiarity,
but with suavity as he unmasked the battery, from behind which he had
hitherto carried on his attacks.

"Why, then, you have only to serve your king as you have before served
the Congress--and let me be the man to show you your colors."

The cockswain stared at the speaker intently, but it was evident he did
not clearly comprehend the nature of the proposition, and the captain
pursued the subject:

"In plain English, enlist in my company, my fine fellow, and your life
and liberty are both safe."

Tom did not laugh aloud, for that was a burst of feeling in which he was
seldom known to indulge; but every feature of his weatherbeaten visage
contracted into an expression of bitter, ironical contempt.
Borroughcliffe felt the iron fingers, that still grasped his collar,
gradually tightening about his throat, like a vice; and, as the arm
slowly contracted, his body was drawn, by a power that it was in vain to
resist, close to that of the cockswain, who, when their faces were
within a foot of each other, gave vent to his emotions in words:

"A messmate, before a shipmate; a shipmate, before a stranger; a
stranger, before a dog--but a dog before a soldier!"

As Tom concluded, his nervous arm was suddenly extended to the utmost,
the fingers relinquishing their grasp at the same time; and, when
Borroughcliffe recovered his disordered faculties, he found himself in a
distant corner of the apartment, prostrate among a confused pile of
chairs, tables, and wearing-apparel. In endeavoring to rise from this
humble posture, the hand of the captain fell on the hilt of his sword,
which had been included in the confused assemblage of articles produced
by his overthrow.

"How now, scoundrel!" he cried, baring the glittering weapon, and
springing on his feet; "you must be taught your distance, I perceive."

The cockswain seized the harpoon which leaned against the wall, and
dropped its barbed extremity within a foot of the breast of his
assailant, with an expression of the eye that denoted the danger of a
nearer approach. The captain, however, wanted not for courage, and stung
to the quick by the insult he had received, he made a desperate parry,
and attempted to pass within the point of the novel weapon of his
adversary. The slight shock was followed by a sweeping whirl of the
harpoon, and Borroughchffe found himself without arms, completely at the
mercy of his foe. The bloody intentions of Tom vanished with his
success; for, laying aside his weapon, he advanced upon his antagonist,
and seized him with an open palm. One more struggle, in which the
captain discovered his incompetency to make any defence against the
strength of a man who managed him as if he had been a child, decided the
matter. When the captain was passive in the hands of his foe, the
cockswain produced sundry pieces of sennit, marline, and ratlin-stuff,
from his pockets, which appeared to contain as great a variety of small
cordage as a boatswain's storeroom, and proceeded to lash the arms of
the conquered soldier to the posts of his bed, with a coolness that had
not been disturbed since the commencement of hostilities, a silence that
seemed inflexible, and a dexterity that none but a seaman could equal.
When this part of his plan was executed, Tom paused a moment, and gazed
around him as if in quest of something. The naked sword caught his eye,
and, with this weapon in his hand, he deliberately approached his
captive, whose alarm prevented his observing that the cockswain had
snapped the blade asunder from the handle, and that he had already
encircled the latter with marline.

"For God's sake," exclaimed Borroughcliffe, "murder me not in cold
blood!"

The silver hilt entered his mouth as the words issued from it, and the
captain found, while the line was passed and repassed in repeated
involutions across the back of his neck, that he was in a condition to
which he often subjected his own men, when unruly, and which is
universally called being "gagged." The cockswain now appeared to think
himself entitled to all the privileges of a conqueror; for, taking the
light in his hand, he commenced a scrutiny into the nature and quality
of the worldly effects that lay at his mercy. Sundry articles, that
belonged to the equipments of a soldier, were examined, and cast aside
with great contempt, and divers garments of plainer exterior were
rejected as unsuited to the frame of the victor. He, however, soon
encountered two articles, of a metal that is universally understood. But
uncertainty as to their use appeared greatly to embarrass him. The
circular prongs of these curiosities were applied to either hand, to the
wrists, and even to the nose, and the little wheels at their opposite
extremity were turned and examined with as much curiosity and care as a
savage would expend on a watch, until the idea seemed to cross the mind
of the honest seaman, that they formed part of the useless trappings of
a military man; and he cast them aside also, as utterly worthless.
Borroughcliffe, who watched every movement of his conqueror, with a
good-humor that would have restored perfect harmony between them, could
he but have expressed half what he felt, witnessed the safety of a
favorite pair of spurs with much pleasure, though nearly suffocated by
the mirth that was unnaturally repressed. At length, the cockswain found
a pair of handsomely mounted pistols, a sort of weapon with which he
seemed quite familiar. They were loaded, and the knowledge of that fact
appeared to remind Tom of the necessity of departing, by bringing to his
recollection the danger of his commander and of the Ariel. He thrust the
weapons into the canvas belt that encircled his body, and, grasping his
harpoon, approached the bed, where Borroughcliffe was seated in duresse.

"Harkye, friend," said the cockswain, "may the Lord forgive you, as I
do, for wishing to make a soldier of a seafaring man, and one who has
followed the waters since he was an hour old, and one who hopes to die
off soundings, and to be buried in brine. I wish you no harm, friend;
but you'll have to keep a stopper on your conversation till such time as
some of your messmates call in this way, which I hope will be as soon
after I get an offing as may be."

With these amicable wishes, the cockswain departed, leaving
Borroughcliffe the light, and the undisturbed possession of his
apartment, though not in the most easy or the most enviable situation
imaginable. The captain heard the bolt of his lock turn, and the key
rattle as the cockswain withdrew it from the door--two precautionary
steps, which clearly indicated that the vanquisher deemed it prudent to
secure his retreat, by insuring the detention of the vanquished for at
least a time.




CHAPTER XXIII.

  "Whilst vengeance, in the lurid air,
  Lifts her red arm, exposed and bare--
  Who, Fear, this ghastly train can see;
  And look not madly wild, like thee!"
  _Collins_.


It is certain that Tom Coffin had devised no settled plan of
operations, when he issued from the apartment of Borroughcliffe, if we
except a most resolute determination to make the best of his way to the
Ariel, and to share her fate, let it be either to sink or swim. But this
was a resolution much easier formed by the honest seaman than executed,
in his present situation. He would have found it less difficult to
extricate a vessel from the dangerous shoals of the "Devil's Grip," than
to thread the mazes of the labyrinth of passages, galleries, and
apartments, in which he found himself involved. He remembered, as he
expressed it to himself, in a low soliloquy, "to have run into a narrow
passage from the main channel, but whether he had sheered to the
starboard or larboard hand" was a material fact that had entirely
escaped his memory. Tom was in that part of the building that Colonel
Howard had designated as the "cloisters," and in which, luckily for him,
he was but little liable to encounter any foe, the room occupied by
Borroughcliffe being the only one in the entire wing that was not
exclusively devoted to the service of the ladies. The circumstance of
the soldier's being permitted to invade this sanctuary was owing to the
necessity, on the part of Colonel Howard, of placing either Griffith,
Manual, or the recruiting officer, in the vicinity of his wards, or of
subjecting his prisoners to a treatment that the veteran would have
thought unworthy of his name and character. This recent change in the
quarters of Borroughcliffe operated doubly to the advantage of Tom, by
lessening the chance of the speedy release of his uneasy captive, as
well as by diminishing his own danger. Of the former circumstance he
was, however, not aware: and the consideration of the latter was a sort
of reflection to which the cockswain was, in no degree, addicted.

Following, necessarily, the line of the wall, he soon emerged from the
dark and narrow passage in which he had first found himself, and entered
the principal gallery, that communicated with all the lower apartments
of that wing, as well as with the main body of the edifice. An open
door, through which a strong light was glaring, at a distant end of this
gallery, instantly caught his eye, and the old seaman had not advanced
many steps towards it, before he discovered that he was approaching the
very room which had so much excited his curiosity, and by the identical
passage through which he had entered the abbey. To turn, and retrace his
steps, was the most obvious course for any man to take who felt anxious
to escape; but the sounds of high conviviality, bursting from the
cheerful apartment, among which the cockswain thought he distinguished
the name of Griffith, determined Tom to advance and reconnoitre the
scene more closely. The reader will anticipate that when he paused in
the shadow, the doubting old seaman stood once more near the threshold
which he had so lately crossed, when conducted to the room of
Borroughcliffe. The seat of that gentleman was now occupied by Dillon,
and Colonel Howard had resumed his wonted station at the foot of the
table. The noise was chiefly made by the latter, who had evidently been
enjoying a more minute relation of the means by which his kinsman had
entrapped his unwary enemy.

"A noble ruse!" cried the veteran, as Tom assumed his post, in ambush;
"a most noble and ingenious ruse, and such a one as would have baffled
Caesar! He must have been a cunning dog, that Caesar; but I do think,
Kit, you would have been too much for him; hang me, if I don't think you
would have puzzled Wolfe himself, had you held Quebec, instead of
Montcalm! Ah, boy, we want you in the colonies, with the ermine over
your shoulders; such men as you, cousin Christopher, are sadly, sadly
wanted there to defend his majesty's rights."

"Indeed, dear sir, your partiality gives me credit for qualities I do
not possess," said Dillon, dropping his eyes, perhaps with a feeling of
conscious unworthiness, but with an air of much humility; "the little
justifiable artifice----"

"Ay! there lies the beauty of the transaction," interrupted the colonel,
shoving the bottle from him, with the free, open air of a man who never
harbored disguise; "you told no lie; no mean deception, that any dog,
however base and unworthy, might invent; but you practised a neat, a
military, a--a--yes, a classical deception on your enemy; a classical
deception, that is the very term for it! such a deception as Pompey, or
Mark Antony, or--or--you know those old fellows' names, better than I
do, Kit; but name the cleverest fellow that ever lived in Greece or
Rome, and I shall say he is a dunce compared to you. 'Twas a real
Spartan trick, both simple and honest."

It was extremely fortunate for Dillon, that the animation of his aged
kinsman kept his head and body in such constant motion, during this
apostrophe, as to intercept the aim that the cockswain was deliberately
taking at his head with one of Borroughcliffe's pistols; and perhaps the
sense of shame which induced him to sink his face on his hands was
another means of saving his life, by giving the indignant old seaman
time for reflection.

"But you have not spoken of the ladies," said Dillon, after a moment's
pause; "I should hope they have borne the alarm of the day like
kinswomen of the family of Howard."

The colonel glanced his eyes around him, as if to assure himself they
were alone, and dropped his voice, as he answered:

"Ah, Kit! they have come to, since this rebel scoundrel, Griffith, has
been brought into the abbey; we were favored with the company of even
Miss Howard, in the dining-room, to-day. There was a good deal of 'dear
uncleing,' and 'fears that my life might be exposed by the quarrels and
skirmishes of these desperadoes who have landed;' as if an old fellow,
who served through the whole war, from '56 to '63, was afraid to let his
nose smell gunpowder any more than if it were snuff! But it will be a
hard matter to wheedle an old soldier out of his allegiance! This
Griffith goes to the Tower, at least, Mr. Dillon."

"It would be advisable to commit his person to the civil authority,
without delay."

"To the constable of the Tower, the Earl Cornwallis, a good and loyal
nobleman, who is, at this moment, fighting the rebels in my own native
province, Christopher," interrupted the colonel; "that will be what I
call retributive justice; but," continued the veteran, rising with an
air of gentlemanly dignity, "it will not do to permit even the constable
of the Tower of London to surpass the master of St. Ruth in hospitality
and kindness to his prisoners. I have ordered suitable refreshments to
their apartments, and it is incumbent on me to see that my commands have
been properly obeyed. Arrangements must also be made for the reception
of this Captain Barnstable, who will, doubtless, soon be here."

"Within the hour, at farthest," said Dillon, looking uneasily at his
watch.

"We must be stirring, boy," continued the colonel, moving towards the
door that led to the apartments of his prisoners; "but there is a
courtesy due to the ladies, as well as to those unfortunate violators of
the laws--go, Christopher, convey my kindest wishes to Cecilia; she
don't deserve them, the obstinate vixen, but then she is my brother
Harry's child! and while there, you arch dog, plead your own cause. Mark
Antony was a fool to you at a 'ruse,' and yet Mark was one of your
successful suitors, too; there was that Queen of the Pyramids--"

The door closed on the excited veteran, at these words, and Dillon was
left standing by himself, at the side of the table, musing, as if in
doubt, whether to venture on the step that his kinsman had proposed, or
not.

The greater part of the preceding discourse was unintelligible to the
cockswain, who had waited its termination with extraordinary patience,
in hopes he might obtain some information that he could render of
service to the captives. Before he had time to decide on what was now
best for him to do, Dillon suddenly determined to venture himself in the
cloisters; and, swallowing a couple of glasses of wine in a breath, he
passed the hesitating cockswain, who was concealed by the opening door,
so closely as to brush his person, and moved down the gallery with those
rapid strides which men who act under the impulse of forced resolutions
are very apt to assume, as if to conceal their weakness from
themselves.--Tom hesitated no longer; but aiding the impulse given to
the door by Dillon, as he passed, so as to darken the passage, he
followed the sounds of the other's footsteps, while he trod in the
manner already described, the stone pavement of the gallery. Dillon
paused an instant at the turning that led to the room of Borroughcliffe,
but whether irresolute which way to urge his steps, or listening to the
incautious and heavy tread of the cockswain, is not known; if the
latter, he mistook them for the echoes of his own footsteps, and moved
forward again without making any discovery.

The light tap which Dillon gave on the door of the withdrawing-room of
the cloisters was answered by the soft voice of Cecilia Howard herself,
who bid the applicant enter. There was a slight confusion evident in the
manner of the gentleman as he complied with the bidding, and in its
hesitancy, the door was, for an instant, neglected.

"I come, Miss Howard," said Dillon, "by the commands of your uncle, and,
permit me to add, by my own--"

"May Heaven shield us!" exclaimed Cecilia, clasping her hands in
affright, and rising involuntarily from her couch, "are we, too, to be
imprisoned and murdered?"

"Surely Miss Howard will not impute to me--" Dillon paused, observing
that the wild looks, not only of Cecilia, but of Katherine and Alice
Dunscombe, also, were directed at some other object, and turning, to his
manifest terror he beheld the gigantic frame of the cockswain,
surmounted by an iron visage fixed in settled hostility, in possession
of the only passage from the apartment.

"If there's murder to be done," said Tom, after surveying the astonished
group with a stern eye, "it's as likely this here liar will be the one
to do it, as another; but you have nothing to fear from a man who has
followed the seas too long, and has grappled with too many monsters,
both fish and flesh, not to know how to treat a helpless woman. None,
who know him, will say that Thomas Coffin ever used uncivil language, or
unseamanlike conduct, to any of his mother's kind."

"Coffin!" exclaimed Katherine, advancing with a more confident air, from
the corner into which terror had driven her with her companions.

"Ay, Coffin," continued the old sailor, his grim features gradually
relaxing, as he gazed on her bright looks; "'tis a solemn word, but it's
a word that passes over the shoals, among the islands, and along the
cape, oftener than any other. My father was a Coffin, and my mother was
a Joy; and the two names can count more flukes than all the rest in the
island together; though the Worths, and the Gar'ners, and the Swaines,
dart better harpoons, and set truer lances, than any men who come from
the weather-side of the Atlantic."

Katherine listened to this digression in honor of the whalers of
Nantucket, with marked complacency; and, when he concluded, she repeated
slowly:

"Coffin! this, then, is long Tom!"

"Ay, ay, long Tom, and no sham in the name either," returned the
cockswain, suffering the stern indignation that had lowered around his
hard visage to relax into a low laugh as he gazed on her animated
features; "the Lord bless your smiling face and bright black eyes, young
madam! you have heard of old long Tom, then? Most likely, 'twas
something about the blow he strikes at the fish--ah! I'm old and I'm
stiff, now, young madam, but afore I was nineteen, I stood at the head
of the dance, at a ball on the cape, and that with a partner almost as
handsome as yourself--ay! and this was after I had three broad flukes
logg'd against my name."

"No," said Katherine, advancing in her eagerness a step or two nigher to
the old tar, her cheeks flushing while she spoke, "I had heard of you as
an instructor in a seaman's duty, as the faithful cockswain, nay, I may
say, as the devoted companion and friend, of Mr. Richard Barnstable--
but, perhaps, you come now as the bearer of some message or letter from
that gentleman."

The sound of his commander's name suddenly revived the recollection of
Coffin, and with it all the fierce sternness of his manner returned.
Bending his eyes keenly on the cowering form of Dillon, he said, in
those deep, harsh tones, that seem peculiar to men who have braved the
elements, until they appear to have imbided some of their roughest
qualities:

"Liar! how now? what brought old Tom Coffin into these shoals and narrow
channels? was it a letter? Ha! but by the Lord that maketh the winds to
blow, and teacheth the lost mariner how to steer over the wide waters,
you shall sleep this night, villain, on the planks of the Ariel; and if
it be the will of God that beautiful piece of handicraft is to sink at
her moorings, like a worthless hulk, ye shall still sleep in her; ay,
and a sleep that shall not end, till they call all hands, to foot up the
day's work of this life, at the close of man's longest voyage."

The extraordinary vehemence, the language, the attitude of the old
seaman, commanding in its energy, and the honest indignation that shone
in every look of his keen eyes, together with the nature of the address,
and its paralyzing effect on Dillon, who quailed before it like the
stricken deer, united to keep the female listeners, for many moments,
silent through amazement. During this brief period, Tom advanced upon
his nerveless victim, and lashing his arms together behind his back, he
fastened him, by a strong cord, to the broad canvas belt that he
constantly wore around his own body, leaving to himself, by this
arrangement, the free use of his arms and weapons of offence, while he
secured his captive.

"Surely," said Cecilia, recovering her recollection the first of the
astonished group, "Mr. Barnstable has not commissioned you to offer this
violence to my uncle's kinsman, under the roof of Colonel Howard?--Miss
Plowden, your friend has strangely forgotten himself in this
transaction, if this man acts in obedience to his order!"

"My friend, my cousin Howard," returned Katharine, "would never
commission his cockswain, or any one, to do an unworthy deed. Speak,
honest sailor; why do you commit this outrage on the worthy Mr. Dillon,
Colonel Howard's kinsman, and a cupboard cousin of St. Ruth's Abbey?"

"Nay, Katherine--"

"Nay, Cecilia, be patient, and let the stranger have utterance; he may
solve the difficulty altogether."

The cockswain, understanding that an explanation was expected from his
lips, addressed himself to the task with an energy suitable both to the
subject and to his own feelings. In a very few words, though a little
obscured by his peculiar diction, he made his listeners understand the
confidence that Barnstable had reposed in Dillon, and the treachery of
the latter. They heard him with increased astonishment, and Cecilia
hardly allowed him time to conclude, before she exclaimed:

"And did Colonel Howard, could Colonel Howard listen to this treacherous
project!"

"Ay, they spliced it together among them," returned Tom; "though one
part of this cruise will turn out but badly."

"Even Borroughcliffe, cold and hardened as he appears to be by habit,
would spurn at such dishonor," added Miss Howard.

"But Mr. Barnstable?" at length Katherine succeeded in saying, when her
feelings permitted her utterance, "said you not that soldiers were in
quest of him?"

"Ay, ay, young madam," the cockswain replied, smiling with grim
ferocity, "they are in chase, but he has shifted his anchorage, and even
if they should find him, his long pikes would make short work of a dozen
redcoats. The Lord of tempests and calms have mercy, though, on the
schooner! Ah, young madam she, is as lovely to the eyes of an old
seafaring man as any of your kind can be to human nature!"

"But why this delay?--away then, honest Tom, and reveal the treachery to
your commander; you may not yet be too late--why delay a moment?"

"The ship tarries for want of a pilot.--I could carry three fathom over
the shoals of Nantucket, the darkest night that ever shut the windows of
heaven, but I should be likely to run upon breakers in this navigation.
As it was, I was near getting into company that I should have had to
fight my way out of."

"If that be all, follow me," cried the ardent Katherine; "I will conduct
you to a path that leads to the ocean, without approaching the
sentinels."

Until this moment, Dillon had entertained a secret expectation of a
rescue, but when he heard this proposal he felt his blood retreating to
his heart, from every part of his agitated frame, and his last hope
seemed wrested from him. Raising himself from the abject shrinking
attitude, in which both shame and dread had conspired to keep him as
though he had been fettered to the spot, he approached Cecilia, and
cried, in tones of horror:

"Do not, do not consent, Miss Howard, to abandon me to the fury of this
man! Your uncle, your honorable uncle, even now applauded and united
with me in my enterprise, which is no more than a common artifice in
war."

"My uncle would unite, Mr. Dillon, in no project of deliberate treachery
like this," said Cecilia, coldly.

"He did, I swear by----"

"Liar!" interrupted the deep tones of the cockswain.

Dillon shivered with agony and terror, while the sounds of this
appalling voice sunk into his inmost soul; but as the gloom of the
night, the secret ravines of the cliffs, and the turbulence of the ocean
flashed across his imagination, he again yielded to a dread of the
horrors to which he should be exposed, in encountering them at the mercy
of his powerful enemy, and he continued his solicitations:

"Hear me, once more hear me--Miss Howard, I beseech you, hear me! Am I
not of your own blood and country? will you see me abandoned to the
wild, merciless, malignant fury of this man, who will transfix me with
that--oh, God! if you had but seen the sight I beheld in the Alacrity!
--hear me. Miss Howard; for the love you bear your Maker, intercede for
me! Mr. Griffith shall be released----"

"Liar!" again interrupted the cockswain.

"What promises he?" asked Cecilia, turning her averted face once more at
the miserable captive.

"Nothing at all that will be fulfilled," said Katherine; "follow, honest
Tom, and I, at least, will conduct you in good faith."

"Cruel, obdurate Miss Plowden; gentle, kind Miss Alice, you will not
refuse to raise your voice in my favor; your heart is not hardened by
any imaginary dangers to those you love."

"Nay, address not me," said Alice, bending her meek eyes to the floor;
"I trust your life is in no danger; and I pray that he who has the power
will have the mercy to see you unharmed."

"Away," said Tom, grasping the collar of the helpless Dillon, and rather
carrying than leading him into the gallery: "if a sound, one-quarter as
loud as a young porpoise makes when he draws his first breath, comes
from you, villain, you shall see the sight of the Alacrity over again.
My harpoon keeps its edge well, and the old arm can yet drive it to the
seizing."

This menace effectually silenced even the hard, perturbed breathings of
the captive, who, with his conductor, followed the light steps of
Katherine through some of the secret mazes of the building, until, in a
few minutes, they issued through a small door into the open air. Without
pausing to deliberate, Miss Plowden led the cockswain through the
grounds, to a different wicket from the one by which he had entered the
paddock, and pointing to the path, which might be dimly traced along the
faded herbage, she bade God bless him, in a voice that discovered her
interest in his safety, and vanished from his sight like an aerial
being.

Tom needed no incentive to his speed, now that his course lay so plainly
before him, but loosening his pistols in his belt, and poising his
harpoon, he crossed the fields at a gait that compelled his companion to
exert his utmost powers, in the way of walking, to equal. Once or twice,
Dillon ventured to utter a word or two; but a stern "silence" from the
cockswain warned him to cease, until perceiving that they were
approaching the cliffs, he made a final effort to obtain his liberty, by
hurriedly promising a large bribe. The cockswain made no reply, and the
captive was secretly hoping that his scheme was producing its wonted
effects, when he unexpectedly felt the keen cold edge of the barbed iron
of the harpoon pressing against his breast, through the opening of his
ruffles, and even raising the skin.

"Liar!" said Tom; "another word, and I'll drive it through your heart!"

From that moment, Dillon was as silent as the grave. They reached the
edge of the cliffs, without encountering the party that had been sent in
quest of Barnstable, and at a point near where they had landed. The old
seaman paused an instant on the verge of the precipice, and cast his
experienced eyes along the wide expanse of water that lay before him.
The sea was no longer sleeping, but already in heavy motion, and rolling
its surly waves against the base of the rocks on which he stood,
scattering their white crests high in foam. The cockswain, after bending
his looks along the whole line of the eastern horizon, gave utterance to
a low and stifled groan; and then, striking the staff of his harpoon
violently against the earth, he pursued his way along the very edge of
the cliffs, muttering certain dreadful denunciations, which the
conscience of his appalled listener did not fail to apply to himself. It
appeared to the latter, that his angry and excited leader sought the
giddy verge of the precipice with a sort of wanton recklessness, so
daring were the steps that he took along its brow, notwithstanding the
darkness of the hour, and the violence of the blasts that occasionally
rushed by them, leaving behind a kind of reaction, that more than once
brought the life of the manacled captive in imminent jeopardy. But it
would seem the wary cockswain had a motive for this apparently
inconsiderate desperation. When they had made good quite half the
distance between the point where Barnstable had landed and that where he
had appointed to meet his cockswain, the sounds of voices were brought
indistinctly to their ears, in one of the momentary pauses of the
rushing winds, and caused the cockswain to make a dead stand in his
progress. He listened intently for a single minute, when his resolution
appeared to be taken. He turned to Dillon and spoke; though his voice
was suppressed and low, it was deep and resolute.

"One word, and you die; over the cliffs! You must take a seaman's
ladder: there is footing on the rocks, and crags for your hands. Over
the cliff, I bid ye, or I'll cast ye into the sea, as I would a dead
enemy!"

"Mercy, mercy!" implored Dillon; "I could not do it in the day; by this
light I shall surely perish."

"Over with ye!" said Tom, "or----"

Dillon waited for no more, but descended, with trembling steps, the
dangerous precipice that lay before him. He was followed by the
cockswain, with a haste that unavoidably dislodged his captive from the
trembling stand he had taken on the shelf of a rock, who, to his
increased horror found himself dangling in the air, his body impending
over the sullen surf, that was tumbling in with violence upon the rocks
beneath him. An involuntary shriek burst from Dillon, as he felt his
person thrust from the narrow shelf; and his cry sounded amidst the
tempest, like the screechings of the spirit of the storm.

"Another such a call, and I cut your tow-line, villain," said the
determined seaman, "when nothing short of eternity will bring you up."

The sounds of footsteps and voices were now distinctly audible, and
presently a party of armed men appeared on the edges of the rocks,
directly above them.

"It was a human voice," said one of them, "and like a man in distress."

"It cannot be the men we are sent in search of," returned Sergeant
Drill; "for no watchword that I ever heard sounded like that cry."

"They say that such cries are often heard in storms along this coast,"
said a voice that was uttered with less of military confidence than the
two others: "and they are thought to come from drowned seamen."

A feeble laugh arose among the listeners, and one or two forced jokes
were made at the expense of their superstitious comrade; but the scene
did not fail to produce its effect on even the most sturdy among the
unbelievers in the marvelous; for, after a few more similar remarks, the
whole party retired from the cliffs, at a pace that might have been
accelerated by the nature of their discourse. The cockswain, who had
stood all this time, firm as the rock which supported him, bearing up
not only his own weight, but the person of Dillon also, raised his head
above the brow of the precipice, as they withdrew, to reconnoitre, and
then, drawing up the nearly insensible captive, and placing him in
safety on the bank, he followed himself. Not a moment was wasted in
unnecessary explanations, but Dillon found himself again urged forward,
with the same velocity as before. In a few minutes they gained the
desired ravine, down which Tom plunged with a seaman's nerve, dragging
his prisoner after him, and directly they stood where the waves rose to
their feet, as they flowed far and foaming across the sands.--The
cockswain stooped so low as to bring the crest of the billows in a line
with the horizon, when he discovered the dark boat, playing in the outer
edge of the surf.

"What hoa! Ariels there!" shouted Tom, in a voice that the growing
tempest carried to the ears of the retreating soldiers, who quickened
their footsteps, as they listened to sounds which their fears taught
them to believe supernatural.

"Who hails?" cried the well-known voice of Barnstable.

"Once your master, now your servant," answered the cockswain with a
watchword of his own invention.

"'Tis he," returned the lieutenant; "veer away, boys, veer away. You
must wade into the surf."

Tom caught Dillon in his arms; and throwing him, like a cork, across his
shoulder, he dashed into the streak of foam that was bearing the boat on
its crest, and before his companion had time for remonstrance or
entreaty, he found himself once more by the side of Barnstable.

"Who have we here?" asked the lieutenant; "this is not Griffith!"

"Haul out and weigh your grapnel," said the excited cockswain; "and
then, boys, if you love the Ariel, pull while the life and the will is
left in you."

Barnstable knew his man, and not another question was asked, until the
boat was without the breakers, now skimming the rounded summits of the
waves, or settling into the hollows of the seas, but always cutting the
waters asunder, as she urged her course, with amazing velocity, towards
the haven where the schooner had been left at anchor. Then, in a few but
bitter sentences, the cockswain explained to his commander the treachery
of Dillon, and the danger of the schooner.

"The soldiers are slow at a night muster," Tom concluded; "and from what
I overheard, the express will have to make a crooked course, to double
the head of the bay, so that, but for this northeaster, we might weather
upon them yet; but it's a matter that lies altogether in the will of
Providence. Pull, my hearties, pull--everything depends on your oars to-
night."

Barnstable listened in deep silence to this unexpected narration, which
sounded in the ears of Dillon like his funeral knell. At length, the
suppressed voice of the lieutenant was heard, also, uttering:

"Wretch! if I should cast you into the sea, as food for the fishes, who
could blame me? But if my schooner goes to the bottom, she shall prove
your coffin!"




CHAPTER XXIV.

  "Had I been any god of power, I would
  Have sunk the sea within the earth, ere
  It should the good ship so have swallowed."
  _Tempest_.


The arms of Dillon were released from their confinement by the
cockswain, as a measure of humane caution against accidents, when they
entered the surf; and the captive now availed himself of the
circumstance to bury his features in the folds of his attire, when he
brooded over the events of the last few hours with that mixture of
malignant passion and pusillanimous dread of the future, that formed the
chief ingredients in his character. From this state of apparent quietude
neither Barnstable nor Tom seemed disposed to rouse him by their
remarks, for both were too much engaged with their own gloomy
forebodings, to indulge in any unnecessary words. An occasional
ejaculation from the former, as if to propitiate the spirit of the
storm, as he gazed on the troubled appearance of the elements, or a
cheering cry from the latter to animate his crew, alone were heard amid
the sullen roaring of the waters, and the mournful whistling of the
winds that swept heavily across the broad waste of the German Ocean.
There might have been an hour consumed thus, in a vigorous struggle
between the seamen and the growing billows, when the boat doubled the
northern headland of the desired haven, and shot, at once, from its
boisterous passage along the margin of the breakers into the placid
waters of the sequestered bay, The passing blasts were still heard
rushing above the high lands that surrounded, and, in fact, formed, the
estuary; but the profound stillness of deep night pervaded the secret
recesses, along the unruffled surface of its waters. The shadows of the
hills seemed to have accumulated, like a mass of gloom, in the centre of
the basin, and though every eye involuntarily turned to search, it was
in vain that the anxious seamen endeavored to discover their little
vessel through its density. While the boat glided into this quiet scene,
Barnstable anxiously observed:

"Everything is as still as death."

"God send it is not the stillness of death!" ejaculated the cockswain.
"Here, here," he continued, speaking in a lower tone, as if fearful of
being overheard, "here she lies, sir, more to port; look into the streak
of clear sky above the marsh, on the starboard hand of the wood, there;
that long black line is her maintopmast; I know it by the rake; and
there is her night-pennant fluttering about that bright star; ay, ay,
sir, there go our own stars aloft yet, dancing among the stars in the
heavens! God bless her! God bless her! she rides as easy and as quiet as
a gull asleep!"

"I believe all in her sleep too," returned his commander. "Ha! by
heaven, we have arrived in good time: the soldiers are moving!"

The quick eye of Barnstable had detected the glimmering of passing
lanterns, as they flitted across the embrasures of the battery, and at
the next moment the guarded but distinct sounds of an active bustle on
the decks of the schooner were plainly audible. The lieutenant was
rubbing his hands together, with a sort of ecstasy, that probably will
not be understood by the great majority of our readers, while long Tom
was actually indulging in a paroxysm of his low spiritless laughter, as
these certain intimations of the safety of the Ariel, and of the
vigilance of her crew, were conveyed to their ears; when the whole hull
and taper spars of their floating home became unexpectedly visible, and
the sky, the placid basin, and the adjacent hills, were illuminated by a
flash as sudden and as vivid as the keenest lightning. Both Barnstable
and his cockswain seemed instinctively to strain their eyes towards the
schooner, with an effort to surpass human vision; but ere the rolling
reverberations of the report of a heavy piece of ordnance from the
heights had commenced, the dull, whistling rush of the shot swept over
their heads, like the moaning of a hurricane, and was succeeded by the
plash of the waters, which was followed, in a breath, by the rattling of
the mass of iron, as it bounded with violent fury from rock to rock,
shivering and tearing the fragments that lined the margin of the bay.

"A bad aim with the first gun generally leaves your enemy clean decks,"
said the cockswain, with his deliberate sort of philosophy; "smoke makes
but dim spectacles; besides, the night always grows darkest as you call
off the morning watch."

"That boy is a miracle for his years!" rejoined the delighted
lieutenant. "See, Tom, the younker has shifted his berth in the dark,
and the Englishmen have fired by the day-range they must have taken, for
we left him in a direct line between the battery and yon hummock! What
would have become of us, if that heavy fellow had plunged upon our
decks, and gone out below the water-line?"

"We should have sunk into English mud, for eternity, as sure as our
metal and kentledge would have taken us down," responded Tom; "such a
point-blanker would have torn off a streak of our wales, outboard, and
not even left the marines time to say a prayer!--tend bow there!"

It is not to be supposed that the crew of the whale-boat continued idle
during this interchange of opinions between the lieutenant and his
cockswain; on the contrary, the sight of their vessel acted on them like
a charm, and, believing that all necessity for caution was now over,
they had expended their utmost strength in efforts that had already
brought them, as the last words of Tom indicated, to the side of the
Ariel. Though every nerve of Barnstable was thrilling with the
excitement produced by his feelings passing from a state of the most
doubtful apprehension to that of a revived and almost confident hope of
effecting his escape, he assumed the command of his vessel with all that
stern but calm authority, that seamen find is most necessary to exert in
the moments of extremest danger. Any one of the heavy shot that their
enemies continued to hurl from their heights into the darkness of the
haven he well knew must prove fatal to them, as it would, unavoidably,
pass through the slight fabric of the Ariel, and open a passage to the
water that no means he possessed could remedy.--His mandates were,
therefore, issued with a full perception of the critical nature of the
emergency, but with that collectedness of manner, and intonation of
voice, that were best adapted to enforce a ready and animated obedience.
Under this impulse, the crew of the schooner soon got their anchor freed
from the bottom, and, seizing their sweeps, they forced her by their
united efforts directly in the face of the battery, under that shore
whose summit was now crowned with a canopy of smoke, that every
discharge of the ordnance tinged with dim colors, like the faintest
tints that are reflected from the clouds towards a setting sun. So long
as the seamen were enabled to keep their little bark under the cover of
the hill, they were, of course, safe; but Barnstable perceived, as they
emerged from its shadow, and were drawing nigh the passage which led
into the ocean, that the action of his sweeps would no longer avail them
against the currents of air they encountered, neither would the darkness
conceal their movements from his enemy, who had already employed men on
the shore to discern the position of the schooner. Throwing off at once,
therefore, all appearance of disguise, he gave forth the word to spread
the canvas of his vessel, in his ordinary cheerful manner.

"Let them do their worst now, Merry," he added; "we have brought them to
a distance that I think will keep their iron above water, and we have no
dodge about us, younker!"

"It must be keener marksmen than the militia, or volunteers, or
fencibles, or whatever they call themselves, behind yon grass-bank, to
frighten the saucy Ariel from the wind," returned the reckless boy; "but
why have you brought Jonah aboard us again, sir? Look at him by the
light of the cabin lamp; he winks at every gun, as if he expected the
shot would hull his own ugly yellow physiognomy. And what tidings have
we, sir, from Mr. Griffith and the marine?"

"Name him not," said Barnstable, pressing the shoulder on which he
lightly leaned, with a convulsive grasp, that caused the boy to yield
with pain; "name him not, Merry; I want my temper and my faculties at
this moment undisturbed, and thinking of the wretch unfits me for my
duty. But, there will come a time! Go forward, sir; we feel the wind,
and have a narrow passage to work through."

The boy obeyed a mandate which was given in the usual prompt manner of
their profession, and which, he well understood, was intended to
intimate that the distance which years and rank had created between
them, but which Barnstable often chose to forget while communing with
Merry, was now to be resumed. The sails had been loosened and set; and,
as the vessel approached the throat of the passage, the gale, which was
blowing with increasing violence, began to make a very sensible
impression on the light bark. The cockswain, who, in the absence of most
of the inferior officers, had been acting, on the forecastle, the part
of one who felt, from his years and experience, that he had some right
to advise, if not to command, at such a juncture, now walked to the
station which his commander had taken, near the helmsman, as if willing
to place himself in the way of being seen.

"Well, Master Coffin," said Barnstable, who well understood the
propensity his old shipmate had to commune with him on all important
occasions, "what think you of the cruise now? Those gentlemen on the
hill make a great noise, but I have lost even the whistling of their
shot; one would think they could see our sails against the broad band of
light which is opening to seaward."

"Ay, ay, sir, they see us, and mean to hit us too; but we are running
across their fire, and that with a ten-knot breeze; but, when we heave
in stays, and get in a line with their guns, we shall see, and it may be
feel, more of their work than we do now; a thirty-two an't trained as
easily as a fowling-piece or a ducking-gun."

Barnstable was struck with the truth of this observation; but as there
existed an immediate necessity for placing the schooner in the very
situation to which the other alluded, he gave his orders at once, and
the vessel came about, and ran with her head pointing towards the sea,
in as short a time as we have taken to record it.

"There, they have us now, or never," cried the lieutenant, when the
evolution was completed. "If we fetch to windward off the northern
point, we shall lay out into the offing, and in ten minutes we might
laugh at Queen Anne's pocket-piece, which, you know, old boy, sent a
ball from Dover to Calais."

"Ay, sir, I've heard of the gun," returned the grave seaman, "and a
lively piece it must have been, if the straits were always of the same
width they are now. But I see that, Captain Barnstable, which is more
dangerous than a dozen of the heaviest cannon that were ever cast can
be, at half a league's distance. The water is bubbling through our lee
scuppers, already, sir."

"And what of that? hav'n't I buried her guns often, and yet kept every
spar in her without crack or splinter?"

"Ay, ay, sir, you have done it, and can do it again, where there is sea-
room, which is all that a man wants for comfort in this life. But when
we are out of these chops, we shall be embayed, with a heavy northeaster
setting dead into the bight; it is that which I fear, Captain
Barnstable, more than all the powder and ball in the whole island."

"And yet, Tom, the balls are not to be despised, either; those fellows
have found out their range, and send their iron within hail again: we
walk pretty fast, Mr. Coffin; but a thirty-two can cut-travel us, with
the best wind that ever blew."

Tom threw a cursory glance towards the battery, which had renewed its
fire with a spirit that denoted they saw their object, as he answered:

"It is never worth a man's while to strive to dodge a shot; for they are
all commissioned to do their work, the same as a ship is commissioned to
cruise in certain latitudes: but for the winds and the weather, they are
given for a seafaring man to guard against, by making or shortening
sail, as the case may be. Now, the headland to the southward stretches
full three leagues to windward, and the shoals lie to the north; among
which God keep us from ever running this craft again!"

"We will beat her out of the bight, old fellow," cried the lieutenant;
"we shall have a leg of three leagues in length to do it in."

"I have known longer legs too short," returned the cockswain, shaking
his head; "a tumbling sea, with a lee-tide, on a lee-shore, makes a sad
lee-way."

The lieutenant was in the act of replying to this saying with a cheerful
laugh, when the whistling of a passing shot was instantly succeeded by a
crash of splintered wood; and at the next moment the head of the
mainmast, after tottering for an instant in the gale, fell towards the
deck, bringing with it the mainsail, and the long line of topmast, that
had been bearing the emblems of America, as the cockswain had expressed
it, among the stars of the heavens.

"That was a most unlucky hit!" Barnstable suffered to escape him in the
concern of the moment; but, instantly resuming all his collectedness of
manner and voice, he gave his orders to clear the wreck, and secure the
fluttering canvas.

The mournful forebodings of Tom seemed to vanish with the appearance of
a necessity for his exertions, and he was foremost among the crew in
executing the orders of their commander. The loss of all the sail on the
mainmast forced the Ariel so much from her course, as to render it
difficult to weather the point, that jutted, under her lee, for some
distance into the ocean. This desirable object was, however, effected by
the skill of Barnstable, aided by the excellent properties of his
vessel; and the schooner, borne down by the power of the gale, from
whose fury she had now no protection, passed heavily along the land,
heading as far as possible from the breakers, while the seamen were
engaged in making their preparations to display as much of their
mainsail as the stump of the mast would allow them to spread. The firing
from the battery ceased, as the Ariel rounded the little promontory; but
Barnstable, whose gaze was now bent intently on the ocean, soon
perceived that, as his cockswain had predicted, he had a much more
threatening danger to encounter, in the elements. When their damages
were repaired, so far as circumstances would permit, the cockswain
returned to his wonted station near the lieutenant; and after a
momentary pause, during which his eyes roved over the rigging with a
seaman's scrutiny, he resumed the discourse.

"It would have been better for us that the best man in the schooner
should have been dubb'd of a limb, by that shot, than that the Ariel
should have lost her best leg; a mainsail close-reefed may be prudent
canvas as the wind blows, but it holds a poor luff to keep a craft to
windward."

"What would you have, Tom Coffin?" retorted his commander. "You see she
draws ahead, and off-shore; do you expect a vessel to fly in the very
teeth of the gale? or would you have me ware and beach her at once?"

"I would have nothing, nothing, Captain Barnstable," returned the old
seaman, sensibly touched at his commander's displeasure; "you are as
able as any man that ever trod a plank to work her into an offing; but,
sir, when that soldier-officer told me of the scheme to sink the Ariel
at her anchor, there were such feelings come athwart my philosophy as
never crossed it afore. I thought I saw her a wrack, as plainly, ay, as
plainly as you may see the stump of that mast; and, I will own it, for
it's as natural to love the craft you sail in as it is to love one's
self, I will own that my manhood fetched a heavy lee-lurch at the
sight."

"Away with ye, ye old sea-croaker! forward with ye, and see that the
head-sheets are trimmed flat. But hold! Come hither, Tom; if you have
sights of wrecks, and sharks, and other beautiful objects, keep them
stowed in your own silly brain; don't make a ghost-parlor of my
forecastle. The lads begin to look to leeward, now, oftener than I would
have them. Go, sirrah, go, and take example from Mr. Merry, who is
seated on your namesake there, and is singing as if he were a chorister
in his father's church."

"Ah, Captain Barnstable, Mr. Merry is a boy, and knows nothing, so fears
nothing. But I shall obey your orders, sir; and if the men fall astarn
this gale, it sha'n't be for anything they'll hear from old Tom Coffin."

The cockswain lingered a moment, notwithstanding his promised obedience,
and then ventured to request that:

"Captain Barnstable would please call Mr. Merry from the gun; for I
know, from having followed the seas my natural life, that singing in a
gale is sure to bring the wind down upon a vessel the heavier; for He
who rules the tempests is displeased that man's voice shall be heard
when he chooses to send his own breath on the water."

Barnstable was at a loss whether to laugh at his cockswain's infirmity,
or to yield to the impression which his earnest and solemn manner had a
powerful tendency to produce, amid such a scene. But making an effort to
shake off the superstitious awe that he felt creeping around his own
heart, the lieutenant relieved the mind of the worthy old seaman so far
as to call the careless boy from his perch, to his own side; where
respect for the sacred character of the quarter-deck instantly put an
end to the lively air he had been humming. Tom walked slowly forward,
apparently much relieved by the reflection that he had effected so
important an object.

The Ariel continued to struggle against the winds and ocean for several
hours longer, before the day broke on the tempestuous scene, and the
anxious mariners were enabled to form a more accurate estimate of their
real danger. As the violence of the gale increased, the canvas of the
schooner had been gradually reduced, until she was unable to show more
than was absolutely necessary to prevent her driving helplessly on the
land. Barnstable watched the appearance of the weather, as the light
slowly opened upon them, with an intense anxiety, which denoted that the
presentiments of the cockswain were no longer deemed idle. On looking to
windward, he beheld the green masses of water that were rolling in
towards the land, with a violence that seemed irresistible, crowned with
ridges of foam; and there were moments when the air appeared filled with
sparkling gems, as the rays of the rising sun fell upon the spray that
was swept from wave to wave. Towards the land the view was still more
appalling. The cliffs, but a short half-league under the lee of the
schooner, were, at all times, nearly hid from the eye by the pyramids of
water, which the furious element, so suddenly restrained in its
violence, cast high into the air, as if seeking to overleap the
boundaries that nature had fixed to its dominion. The whole coast, from
the distant headland at the south to the well-known shoals that
stretched far beyond their course in the opposite direction, displayed a
broad belt of foam, into which it would have been certain destruction
for the proudest ship that ever swam to enter. Still the Ariel floated
on the billows, lightly and in safety, though yielding to the impulses
of the waters, and, at times, appearing to be engulfed in the yawning
chasm which apparently opened beneath her to receive the little fabric.
The low rumor of acknowledged danger had found its way through the
schooner, and the seamen, after fastening their hopeless looks on the
small spot of canvas that they were still able to show to the tempest,
would turn to view the dreary line of coast, that seemed to offer so
gloomy an alternative. Even Dillon, to whom the report of their danger
had found its way, crept from his place of concealment in the cabin, and
moved about the decks unheeded, devouring, with greedy ears, such
opinions as fell from the lips of the sullen mariners.

At this moment of appalling apprehension, the cockswain exhibited the
calmest resignation. He knew all had been done that lay in the power of
man, to urge their little vessel from the land, and it was now too
evident to his experienced eyes that it had been done in vain; but,
considering himself as a sort of fixture in the schooner, he was quite
prepared to abide her fate, be it for better or for worse. The settled
look of gloom that gathered around the frank brow of Barnstable was in
no degree connected with any considerations of himself; but proceeded
from that sort of parental responsibility, from which the sea-commander
is never exempt. The discipline of the crew, however, still continued
perfect and unyielding. There had, it is true, been a slight movement
made by one or two of the older seamen, which indicated an intention to
drown the apprehensions of death in ebriety; but Barnstable had called
for his pistols, in a tone that checked the procedure instantly, and,
although the fatal weapons were, untouched by him, left to lie exposed
on the capstan, where they had been placed by his servant, not another
symptom of insubordination appeared among the devoted crew. There was
even what to a landsman might seem an appalling affectation of attention
to the most trifling duties of the vessel; and the men who, it should
seem, ought to be devoting the brief moments of their existence to the
mighty business of the hour, were constantly called to attend to the
most trivial details of their profession. Ropes were coiled, and the
slightest damages occasioned by the waves, which, at short intervals,
swept across the low decks of the Ariel, were repaired, with the same
precision and order as if she yet lay embayed in the haven from which
she had just been driven. In this manner the arm of authority was kept
extended over the silent crew, not with the vain desire to preserve a
lingering though useless exercise of power, but with a view to maintain
that unity of action that now could alone afford them even a ray of
hope.

"She can make no head against this sea, under that rag of canvas," said
Barnstable, gloomily, addressing the cockswain, who, with folded arms
and an air of cool resignation, was balancing his body on the verge of
the quarter-deck, while the schooner was plunging madly into waves that
nearly buried her in their bosom: "the poor little thing trembles like a
frightened child, as she meets the water."

Tom sighed heavily, and shook his head, before he answered:

"If we could have kept the head of the mainmast an hour longer, we might
have got an offing, and fetched to windward of the shoals; but as it is,
sir, mortal man can't drive a craft to windward--she sets bodily in to
land, and will be in the breakers in less than an hour, unless God wills
that the wind shall cease to blow."

"We have no hope left us, but to anchor; our ground tackle may yet bring
her up."

Tom turned to his commander, and replied, solemnly, and with that
assurance of manner that long experience only can give a man in moments
of great danger:

"If our sheet-cable was bent to our heaviest anchor, this sea would
bring it home, though nothing but her launch was riding by it. A
northeaster in the German Ocean must and will blow itself out; nor shall
we get the crown of the gale until the sun falls over the land. Then,
indeed, it may lull; for the winds do often seem to reverence the glory
of the heavens too much to blow their might in its very face!"

"We must do our duty to ourselves and the country," returned Barnstable.
"Go, get the two bowers spliced, and have a kedge bent to a hawser:
we'll back our two anchors together, and veer to the better end of two
hundred and forty fathoms; it may yet bring her up. See all clear there
for anchoring and cutting away the mast! we'll leave the wind nothing
but a naked hull to whistle over."

"Ay, if there was nothing but the wind, we might yet live to see the sun
sink behind them hills," said the cockswain; "but what hemp can stand
the strain of a craft that is buried, half the time, to her foremast in
the water?"

The order was, however, executed by the crew, with a sort of desperate
submission to the will of their commander; and when the preparations
were completed, the anchors and kedge were dropped to the bottom, and
the instant that the Ariel tended to the wind, the axe was applied to
the little that was left of her long, raking masts. The crash of the
falling spars, as they came, in succession, across the decks of the
vessel, appeared to produce no sensation amid that scene of complicated
danger; but the seamen proceeded in silence to their hopeless duty of
clearing the wrecks. Every eye followed the floating timbers, as the
waves swept them away from the vessel, with a sort of feverish
curiosity, to witness the effect produced by their collision with those
rocks that lay so fearfully near them; but long before the spars entered
the wide border of foam, they were hid from view by the furious element
in which they floated. It was now felt by the whole crew of the Ariel,
that their last means of safety had been adopted; and, at each desperate
and headlong plunge the vessel took into the bosom of the seas that
rolled upon her forecastle, the anxious seamen thought that they could
perceive the yielding of the iron that yet clung to the bottom, or could
hear the violent surge of the parting strands of the cable, that still
held them to their anchors. While the minds of the sailors were agitated
with the faint hopes that had been excited by the movements of their
schooner, Dillon had been permitted to wander about the deck unnoticed:
his rolling eyes, hard breathing, and clenched hands excited no
observation among the men, whose thoughts were yet dwelling on the means
of safety. But now, when, with a sort of frenzied desperation, he would
follow the retiring waters along the decks, and venture his person nigh
the group that had collected around and on the gun of the cockswain,
glances of fierce or of sullen vengeance were cast at him, that conveyed
threats of a nature that he was too much agitated to understand.

"If ye are tired of this world, though your time, like my own, is
probably but short in it," said Tom to him, as he passed the cockswain
in one of his turns, "you can go forward among the men; but if ye have
need of the moments to foot up the reck'ning of your doings among men,
afore ye're brought to face your Maker, and hear the log-book of Heaven,
I would advise you to keep as nigh as possible to Captain Barnstable or
myself."

"Will you promise to save me if the vessel is wrecked?" exclaimed
Dillon, catching at the first sounds of friendly interest that had
reached his ears since he had been recaptured; "Oh! If you will, I can
secure your future ease, yes, wealth, for the remainder of your days!"

"Your promises have been too ill kept afore this, for the peace of your
soul," returned the cockswain, without bitterness, though sternly; "but
it is not in me to strike even a whale that is already spouting blood."

The intercessions of Dillon were interrupted by a dreadful cry, that
arose among the men forward, and which sounded with increased horror,
amid the roarings of the tempest. The schooner rose on the breast of a
wave at the same instant, and, falling off with her broadside to the
sea, she drove in towards the cliffs, like a bubble on the rapids of a
cataract.

"Our ground-tackle has parted," said Tom, with his resigned patience of
manner undisturbed; "she shall die as easy as man can make her!"--While
he yet spoke, he seized the tiller, and gave to the vessel such a
direction as would be most likely to cause her to strike the rocks with
her bows foremost.

There was, for one moment, an expression of exquisite anguish betrayed
in the dark countenance of Barnstable; but, at the next, it passed away,
and he spoke cheerfully to his men:

"Be steady, my lads, be calm; there is yet a hope of life for
_you_--our light draught will let us run in close to the cliffs,
and it is still falling water--see your boats clear, and be steady."

The crew of the whale-boat, aroused by this speech from a sort of
stupor, sprang into their light vessel, which was quickly lowered into
the sea, and kept riding on the foam, free from the sides of the
schooner, by the powerful exertions of the men. The cry for the
cockswain was earnest and repeated, but Tom shook his head, without
replying, still grasping the tiller, and keeping his eyes steadily bent
on the chaos of waters into which they were driving. The launch, the
largest boat of the two, was cut loose from the "gripes," and the bustle
and exertion of the moment rendered the crew insensible to the horror of
the scene that surrounded them. But the loud hoarse call of the
cockswain, to "look out--secure yourselves!" suspended even their
efforts, and at that instant the Ariel settled on a wave that melted
from under her, heavily on the rocks. The shock was so violent, as to
throw all who disregarded the warning cry from their feet, and the
universal quiver that pervaded the vessel was like the last shudder of
animated nature. For a time long enough to breathe, the least
experienced among the men supposed the danger to be past; but a wave of
great height followed the one that had deserted them, and raising the
vessel again, threw her roughly still farther on the bed of rocks, and
at the same time its crest broke over her quarter, sweeping the length
of her decks with a fury that was almost resistless. The shuddering
seamen beheld their loosened boat driven from their grasp, and dashed
against the base of the cliffs, where no fragment of her wreck could be
traced, at the receding of the waters. But the passing billow had thrown
the vessel into a position which, in some measure, protected her decks
from the violence of those that succeeded it.

"Go, my boys, go," said Barnstable, as the moment of dreadful
uncertainty passed; "you have still the whale-boat, and she, at least,
will take you nigh the shore. Go into her, my boys. God bless you, God
bless you all! You have been faithful and honest fellows, and I believe
he will not yet desert you; go, my friends, while there is a lull."

The seamen threw themselves, in a mass, into the light vessel, which
nearly sank under the unusual burden; but when they looked around them,
Barnstable and Merry, Dillon and the cockswain, were yet to be seen on
the decks of the Ariel. The former was pacing, in deep and perhaps
bitter melancholy, the wet planks of the schooner, while the boy hung,
unheeded, on his arm, uttering disregarded petitions to his commander to
desert the wreck. Dillon approached the side where the boat lay, again
and again, but the threatening countenances of the seamen as often drove
him back in despair. Tom had seated himself on the heel of the bowsprit,
where he continued, in an attitude of quiet resignation, returning no
other answers to the loud and repeated calls of his shipmates, than by
waving his hand towards the shore.

"Now hear me," said the boy, urging his request, to tears; "if not for
my sake, or for your own sake, Mr. Barnstable, or for the hope of God's
mercy, go into the boat, for the love of my cousin Katherine."

The young lieutenant paused in his troubled walk, and for a moment he
cast a glance of hesitation at the cliffs; but, at the next instant, his
eyes fell on the ruin of his vessel, and he answered:

"Never, boy, never; if my hour has come, I will not shrink from my
fate."

"Listen to the men, dear sir; the boat will be swamped, alongside the
wreck, and their cry is, that without you they will not let her go."

Barnstable motioned to the boat, to bid the boy enter it, and turned
away in silence.

"Well," said Merry, with firmness, "if it be right that a lieutenant
shall stay by the wreck, it must also be right for a midshipman; shove
off; neither Mr. Barnstable nor myself will quit the vessel."

"Boy, your life has been entrusted to my keeping, and at my hands will
it be required," said his commander, lifting the struggling youth, and
tossing him into the arms of the seamen. "Away with ye, and God be with
you; there is more weight in you now than can go safe to land."

Still the seamen hesitated, for they perceived the cockswain moving,
with a steady tread, along the deck, and they hoped he had relented, and
would yet persuade the lieutenant to join his crew. But Tom, imitating
the example of his commander, seized the latter suddenly in his powerful
grasp, and threw him over the bulwarks with an irresistible force. At
the same moment he cast the fast of the boat from the pin that held it,
and, lifting his broad hands high into the air, his voice was heard in
the tempest:

"God's will be done with me," he cried. "I saw the first timber of the
Ariel laid, and shall live just long enough to see it turn out of her
bottom; after which I wish to live no longer."

But his shipmates were swept far beyond the sounds of his voice, before
half these words were uttered. All command of the boat was rendered
impossible, by the numbers it contained, as well as the raging of the
surf; and, as it rose on the white crest of a wave, Tom saw his beloved
little craft for the last time. It fell into a trough of the sea, and in
a few moments more its fragments were ground into splinters on the
adjacent rocks. The cockswain still remained where he had cast off the
rope, and beheld the numerous heads and arms that appeared rising, at
short intervals, on the waves; some making powerful and well-directed
efforts to gain the sands, that were becoming visible as the tide fell,
and others wildly tossed in the frantic movements of helpless despair.
The honest old seaman gave a cry of joy, as he saw Barnstable issue from
the surf, bearing the form of Merry in safety to the sands, where, one
by one, several seamen soon appeared also, dripping and exhausted. Many
others of the crew were carried, in a similar manner, to places of
safety; though, as Tom returned to his seat on the bowsprit, he could
not conceal from his reluctant eyes the lifeless forms that were, in
other spots, driven against the rocks with a fury that soon left them
but few of the outward vestiges of humanity.

Dillon and the cockswain were now the sole occupants of their dreadful
station. The former stood in a kind of stupid despair, a witness of the
scene we have related; but as his curdled blood began again to flow more
warmly through his heart, he crept close to the side of Tom, with that
sort of selfish feeling that makes even hopeless misery more tolerable,
when endured in participation with another.

"When the tide falls," he said, in a voice that betrayed the agony of
fear, though his words expressed the renewal of hope, "we shall be able
to walk to land."

"There was One and only One to whose feet the waters were the same as a
dry dock," returned the cockswain; "and none but such as have his power
will ever be able to walk from these rocks to the sands." The old seaman
paused, and turning his eyes, which exhibited a mingled expression of
disgust and compassion, on his companion, he added, with reverence: "Had
you thought more of Him in fair weather, your case would be less to be
pitied in this tempest."

"Do you still think there is much danger?" asked Dillon.

"To them that have reason to fear death. Listen! do you hear that hollow
noise beneath ye?"

"'Tis the wind driving by the vessel!"

"'Tis the poor thing herself," said the affected cockswain, "giving her
last groans. The water is breaking up her decks, and, in a few minutes
more, the handsomest model that ever cut a wave will be like the chips
that fell from her timbers in framing!"

"Why then did you remain here!" cried Dillon, wildly.

"To die in my coffin, if it should be the will of God," returned Tom.
"These waves, to me, are what the land is to you; I was born on them,
and I have always meant that they should be my grave."

"But I--I," shrieked Dillon, "I am not ready to die!--I cannot die!--I
will not die!"

"Poor wretch!" muttered his companion; "you must go, like the rest of
us; when the death-watch is called, none can skulk from the muster."

"I can swim," Dillon continued, rushing with frantic eagerness to the
side of the wreck. "Is there no billet of wood, no rope, that I can take
with me?"

"None; everything has been cut away, or carried off by the sea. If ye
are about to strive for your life, take with ye a stout heart and a
clean conscience, and trust the rest to God!"

"God!" echoed Dillon, in the madness of his frenzy; "I know no God!
there is no God that knows me!"

"Peace!" said the deep tones of the cockswain, in a voice that seemed to
speak in the elements; "blasphemer, peace!"

The heavy groaning, produced by the water in the timbers of the Ariel,
at that moment added its impulse to the raging feelings of Dillon, and
he cast himself headlong into the sea.

The water, thrown by the rolling of the surf on the beach, was
necessarily returned to the ocean, in eddies, in different places
favorable to such an action of the element. Into the edge of one of
these countercurrents, that was produced by the very rocks on which the
schooner lay, and which the watermen call the "undertow," Dillon had,
unknowingly, thrown his person; and when the waves had driven him a
short distance from the wreck, he was met by a stream that his most
desperate efforts could not overcome. He was a light and powerful
swimmer, and the struggle was hard and protracted. With the shore
immediately before his eyes, and at no great distance, he was led, as by
a false phantom, to continue his efforts, although they did not advance
him a foot. The old seaman, who at first had watched his motions with
careless indifference, understood the danger of his situation at a
glance; and, forgetful of his own fate, he shouted aloud, in a voice
that was driven over the struggling victim to the ears of his shipmates
on the sands:

"Sheer to port, and clear the undertow! Sheer to the southward!"

Dillon heard the sounds, but his faculties were too much obscured by
terror to distinguish their object; he, however, blindly yielded to the
call, and gradually changed his direction, until his face was once more
turned towards the vessel. The current swept him diagonally by the
rocks, and he was forced into an eddy, where he had nothing to contend
against but the waves, whose violence was much broken by the wreck. In
this state, he continued still to struggle, but with a force that was
too much weakened to overcome the resistance he met. Tom looked around
him for a rope, but all had gone over with the spars, or been swept away
by the waves. At this moment of disappointment, his eyes met those of
the desperate Dillon. Calm and inured to horrors as was the veteran
seaman, he involuntarily passed his hand before his brow, to exclude the
look of despair he encountered; and when, a moment afterwards, he
removed the rigid member, he beheld the sinking form of the victim as it
gradually settled in the ocean, still struggling, with regular but
impotent strokes of the arms and feet, to gain the wreck, and to
preserve an existence that had been so much abused in its hour of
allotted probation.

"He will soon know his God, and learn that his God knows him!" murmured
the cockswain to himself. As he yet spoke, the wreck of the Ariel
yielded to an overwhelming sea, and, after an universal shudder, her
timbers and planks gave way, and were swept towards the cliffs, bearing
the body of the simple-hearted cockswain among the ruins.




CHAPTER XXV.

  "Let us think of them that sleep
  Full many a fathom deep,
  By the wild and stormy steep,
  Elsinore!"
  _Campbell_.


Long and dreary did the hours appear to Barnstable, before the falling
tide had so far receded as to leave the sands entirely exposed to his
search for the bodies of his lost shipmates. Several had been rescued
from the wild fury of the waves themselves; and one by one, as the
melancholy conviction that life had ceased was forced on the survivors,
they had been decently interred in graves dug on the very margin of that
element on which they had passed their lives. But still the form longest
known and most beloved was missing, and the lieutenant paced the broad
space that was now left between the foot of the cliffs and the raging
ocean, with hurried strides and a feverish eye, watching and following
those fragments of the wreck that the sea still continued to cast on the
beach. Living and dead, he now found that of those who had lately been
in the Ariel, only two were missing. Of the former he could muster but
twelve, besides Merry and himself, and his men had already interred more
than half that number of the latter, which, together, embraced all who
had trusted their lives to the frail keeping of the whale-boat.

"Tell me not, boy, of the impossibility of his being safe," said
Barnstable, in deep agitation, which he in vain struggled to conceal
from the anxious youth, who thought it unnecessary to follow the uneasy
motions of his commander, as he strode along the sands. "How often have
men been found floating on pieces of wreck, days after the loss of their
vessel? and you can see, with your own eyes, that the falling water has
swept the planks this distance; ay, a good half-league from where she
struck. Does the lookout from the top of the cliffs make no signal of
seeing him yet?"

"None, sir, none; we shall never see him again. The men say that he
always thought it sinful to desert a wreck, and that he did not even
strike out once for his life, though he has been known to swim an hour,
when a whale has stove his boat. God knows, sir," added the boy, hastily
dashing a tear from his eye, by a stolen movement of his hand, "I loved
Tom Coffin better than any foremast man in either vessel. You seldom
came aboard the frigate but we had him in the steerage among us reefers,
to hear his long yarns, and share our cheer. We all loved him, Mr.
Barnstable; but love cannot bring the dead to life again."

"I know it, I know it," said Barnstable, with a huskiness in his voice
that betrayed the depth of his emotion. "I am not so foolish as to
believe in impossibilities; but while there is a hope of his living, I
will never abandon poor Tom Coffin to such a dreadful fate. Think, boy,
he may, at this moment, be looking at us, and praying to his Maker that
he would turn our eyes upon him; ay, praying to his God, for Tom often
prayed, though he did it in his watch, standing, and in silence."

"If he had clung to life so strongly," returned the midshipman, "he
would have struggled harder to preserve it."

Barnstable stopped short in his hurried walk, and fastened a look of
opening conviction on his companion; but, as he was about to speak in
reply, the shouts of the seamen reached his ears, and, turning, they saw
the whole party running along the beach, and motioning, with violent
gestures, to an intermediate point in the ocean. The lieutenant and
Merry hurried back, and, as they approached the men, they distinctly
observed a human figure, borne along by the waves, at moments seeming to
rise above them, and already floating in the last of the breakers. They
had hardly ascertained so much, when a heavy swell carried the inanimate
body far upon the sands, where it was left by the retiring waters.

"'Tis my cockswain!" cried Barnstable, rushing to the spot. He stopped
suddenly, however, as he came within view of the features, and it was
some little time before he appeared to have collected his faculties
sufficiently to add, in tones of deep horror: "What wretch is this, boy!
His form is unmutilated, and yet observe the eyes! they seem as if the
sockets would not contain them, and they gaze as wildly as if their
owner yet had life--the hands are open and spread, as though they would
still buffet the waves!"

"The Jonah! the Jonah!" shouted the seamen, with savage exultation, as
they successively approached the corpse; "away with his carrion into the
sea again! give him to the sharks! let him tell his lies in the claws of
the lobsters!"

Barnstable had turned away from the revolting sight, in disgust; but
when he discovered these indications of impotent revenge in the remnant
of his crew, he said, in that voice which all respected and still
obeyed:

"Stand back! back with ye, fellows! Would you disgrace your manhood and
seamanship, by wreaking your vengeance on him whom God has already in
judgment!" A silent, but significant, gesture towards the earth
succeeded his words, and he walked slowly away.

"Bury him in the sands, boys," said Merry, when his commander was at
some little distance; "the next tide will unearth him."

The seamen obeyed his orders, while the midshipman rejoined his
commander, who continued to pace along the beach, occasionally halting
to throw his uneasy glances over the water, and then hurrying onward, at
a rate that caused his youthful companion to exert his greatest power to
maintain the post he had taken at his side. Every effort to discover the
lost cockswain was, however, after two hours' more search, abandoned as
fruitless; and with reason, for the sea was never known to give up the
body of the man who might be emphatically called its own dead.

"There goes the sun, already dropping behind the cliffs," said the
lieutenant, throwing himself on a rock; "and the hour will soon arrive
to set the dog-watches; but we have nothing left to watch over, boy; the
surf and rocks have not even left us a whole plank that we may lay our
heads on for the night."

"The men have gathered many articles on yon beach, sir," returned the
lad; "they have found arms to defend ourselves with, and food to give us
strength to use them."

"And who shall be our enemy?" asked Barnstable, bitterly; "shall we
shoulder our dozen pikes, and carry England by boarding?"

"We may not lay the whole island under contribution," continued the boy,
anxiously, watching the expression of his commander's eye; "but we may
still keep ourselves in work until the cutter returns from the frigate.
I hope, sir, you do not think our case so desperate, as to intend
yielding as prisoners."

"Prisoners!" exclaimed the lieutenant; "no, no, lad, it has not got to
that, yet! England has been able to wreck my craft, I must concede; but
she has, as yet, obtained no other advantage over us. She was a precious
model, Merry! the cleanest run, and the neatest entrance, that art ever
united on the stem and stern of the same vessel! Do you remember the
time, younker, when I gave the frigate my top-sails, in beating out of
the Chesapeake? I could always do it, in smooth water, with a whole-sail
breeze. But she was a frail thing! a frail thing, boy, and could bear
but little."

"A mortar-ketch would have thumped to pieces where she lay," returned
the midshipman.

"Ay, it was asking too much of her, to expect she could hold together on
a bed of rocks. Merry, I loved her; dearly did I love her; she was my
first command, and I knew and loved every timber and bolt in her
beautiful frame!"

"I believe it is as natural, sir, for a seaman to love the wood and iron
in which he has floated over the depths of the ocean for so many days
and nights," rejoined the boy, "as it is for a father to love the
members of his own family."

"Quite, quite, ay, more so," said Barnstable, speaking as if he were
choked by emotion. Merry felt the heavy grasp of the lieutenant on his
slight arm, while his commander continued, in a voice that gradually
increased in power, as his feelings predominated; "and yet, boy, a human
being cannot love the creature of his own formation as he does the works
of God. A man can never regard his ship as he does his shipmates. I
sailed with him, boy, when everything seemed bright and happy, as at
your age; when, as he often expressed it, I knew nothing and feared
nothing. I was then a truant from an old father and a kind mother, and
he did that for me which no parents could have done in my situation--he
was my father and mother on the deep!--hours, days, even months, has he
passed in teaching me the art of our profession; and now, in my manhood,
he has followed me from ship to ship, from sea to sea, and has only
quitted me to die, where I should have died--as if he felt the disgrace
of abandoning the poor Ariel to her fate, by herself!"

"No--no--no--'twas his superstitious pride!" interrupted Merry, but
perceiving that the head of Barnstable had sunk between his hands, as if
he would conceal his emotion, the boy added no more; but he sat
respectfully watching the display of feeling that his officer in vain
endeavored to suppress. Merry felt his own form quiver with sympathy at
the shuddering which passed through Barnstable's frame; and the relief
experienced by the lieutenant himself was not greater than that which
the midshipman felt, as the latter beheld large tears forcing their way
through the other's fingers, and falling on the sands at his feet. They
were followed by a violent burst of emotion, such as is seldom exhibited
in the meridian of life; but which, when it conquers the nature of one
who has buffeted the chances of the world with the loftiness of his sex
and character, breaks down every barrier, and seems to sweep before it,
like a rushing torrent, all the factitious defences which habit and
education have created to protect the pride of manhood. Merry had often
beheld the commanding severity of the lieutenant's manner in moments of
danger, with deep respect; he had been drawn towards him by kindness and
affection, in times of gayety and recklessness: but he now sat for many
minutes profoundly silent, regarding his officer with sensations that
were nearly allied to awe. The struggle with himself was long and severe
in the bosom of Barnstable; but, at length, the calm of relieved
passions succeeded to his emotion. When he arose from the rock, and
removed his hands from his features, his eye was hard and proud, his
brow lightly contracted, and he spoke in a voice so harsh, that it
startled his companion:

"Come, sir; why are we here and idle? are not yon poor fellows looking
up to us for advice and orders how to proceed in this exigency? Away,
away, Mr. Merry; it is not a time to be drawing figures, in the sand
with your dirk; the flood-tide will soon be in, and we may be glad to
hide our heads in some cavern among these rocks. Let us be stirring,
sir, while we have the sun, and muster enough food and arms to keep life
in us, and our enemies off us, until we can once more get afloat."

The wondering boy, whose experience had not yet taught him to appreciate
the reaction of the passions, started at this unexpected summons to his
duty, and followed Barnstable towards the group of distant seamen. The
lieutenant, who was instantly conscious how far pride had rendered him
unjust, soon moderated his long strides, and continued in milder tones,
which were quickly converted into his usual frank communications, though
they still remained tinged with a melancholy, that time only could
entirely remove:

"We have been unlucky, Mr. Merry, but we need not despair--these lads
have gotten together abundance of supplies, I see; and, with our arms,
we can easily make ourselves masters of some of the enemy's smaller
craft, and find our way back to the frigate, when this gale has blown
itself out. We must keep ourselves close, though, or we shall have the
redcoats coming down upon us, like so many sharks around a wreck. Ah!
God bless her, Merry! There is not such a sight to be seen on the whole
beach as two of her planks holding together."

The midshipman, without adverting to this sudden allusion to their
vessel, prudently pursued the train of ideas in which his commander had
started.

"There is an opening into the country, but a short distance south of us,
where a brook empties into the sea," he said. "We might find a cover in
it, or in the wood above, into which it leads, until we can have a
survey of the coast, or can seize some vessel to carry us off."

"There would be a satisfaction in waiting till the morning watch, and
then carrying that accursed battery, which took off the better leg of
the poor Ariel!" said the lieutenant--"the thing might be done, boy, and
we could hold the work, too, until the Alacrity and the frigate draw in
to land."

"If you prefer storming works to boarding vessels, there is a fortress
of stone, Mr. Barnstable, which lies directly on our beam. I could see
it through the haze, when I was on the cliffs, stationing the lookout--
and----

"And what, boy? speak without a fear; this is a time for free
consultation."

"Why, sir, the garrison might not all be hostile--we should liberate Mr.
Griffith and the marines; besides----"

"Besides what, sir?"

"I should have an opportunity, perhaps, of seeing my cousin Cecilia and
my cousin Katherine."

The countenance of Barnstable grew animated as he listened, and he
answered with something of his usual cheerful manner:

"Ay, that, indeed, would be a work worth carrying! And the rescuing of
our shipmates, and the marines, would read like a thing of military
discretion--ha! boy! all the rest would be incidental, younker; like the
capture of the fleet, after you have whipped the convoy."

"I do suppose, sir, that if the abbey be taken, Colonel Howard will own
himself a prisoner of war."

"And Colonel Howard's wards! now there is good sense in this scheme of
thine, Master Merry, and I will give it proper reflection. But here are
our poor fellows; speak cheeringly to them, sir, that we may hold them
in temper for our enterprise."

Barnstable and the midshipman joined their shipwrecked companions, with
that air of authority which is seldom wanting between the superior and
the inferior, in nautical intercourse, but at the same time with a
kindness of speech and looks, that might have been a little increased by
their critical situation. After partaking of the food which had been
selected from among the fragments that still lay scattered, for more
than a mile, along the beach, the lieutenant directed the seamen to arm
themselves with such weapons as offered, and also to make sufficient
provision, from the schooner's stores, to last them for four-and-twenty
hours longer. These orders were soon executed; and the whole party, led
by Barnstable and Merry, proceeded along the foot of the cliffs, in
quest of the opening in the rocks, through which the little rivulet
found a passage to the ocean. The weather contributed, as much as the
seclusion of the spot to prevent any discovery of the small party, which
pursued its object with a disregard of caution that might, under other
circumstances, have proved fatal to its safety. Barnstable paused in his
march when they had all entered the deep ravine, and ascended nearly to
the brow of the precipice, that formed one of its sides, to take a last
and more scrutinizing survey of the sea. His countenance exhibited the
abandonment of all hope, as his eye moved slowly from the northern to
the southern boundary of the horizon, and he prepared to pursue his
march, by moving, reluctantly, up the stream, when the boy, who still
clung to his side, exclaimed joyously:

"Sail ho!--It must be the frigate in the offing!"

"A sail!" repeated his commander; "where away do you see a sail in this
tempest? Can there be another as hardy and unfortunate as ourselves!"

"Look to the starboard hand of the point of rock to windward!" cried the
boy; "now you lose it--ah! now the sun falls upon it! 'tis a sail, sir,
as sure as canvas can be spread in such a gale!"

"I see what you mean," returned the other, "but it seems a gull,
skimming the sea! nay, now it rises, indeed, and shows itself like a
bellying topsail: pass up that glass, lads; here is a fellow in the
offing who may prove a friend."

Merry waited the result of the lieutenant's examination with youthful
impatience, and did not fail to ask immediately:

"Can you make it out, sir? is it the ship or the cutter?"

"Come, there seemeth yet some hope left for us, boy," returned
Barnstable, closing the glass; "'tis a ship lying-to under her
maintopsail. If one might but dare to show himself on these heights, he
would raise her hull, and make sure of her character! But I think I know
her spars, though even her topsail dips, at times, when there is nothing
to be seen but her bare poles; and they shortened by her top-
gallantmasts."

"One would swear," said Merry, laughing, as much through the excitement
produced by this intelligence, as at his conceit, "that Captain Munson
would never carry wood aloft, when he can't carry canvas. I remember,
one night, Mr. Griffith was a little vexed, and said, around the
capstan, he believed the next order would be to rig in the bowsprit, and
house lowermasts!"

"Ay, ay, Griffith is a lazy dog, and sometimes gets lost in the fogs of
his own thoughts," said Barnstable; "and I suppose old Moderate was in a
breeze. However, this looks as if he were in earnest; he must have kept
the ship away, or she would never have been where she is; I do verily
believe the old gentleman remembers that he has a few of his officers
and men on this accursed island. This is well, Merry; for should we take
the abbey, we have a place at hand in which to put our prisoners."

"We must have patience till the morning," added the boy, "for no boat
would attempt to land in such a sea."

"No boat could land! The best boat that ever floated, boy, has sunk in
these breakers! But the wind lessens, and before morning the sea will
fall. Let us on, and find a berth for our poor lads, where they can be
made more comfortable."

The two officers now descended from their elevation, and led the way
still farther up the deep and narrow dell, until, as the ground rose
gradually before them, they found themselves in a dense wood, on a level
with the adjacent country.

"Here should be a ruin at hand, if I have a true reckoning, and know my
courses and distances," said Barnstable; "I have a chart about me that
speaks of such a landmark."

The lieutenant turned away from the laughing expression of the boy's
eye, as the latter archly inquired:

"Was it made by one who knows the coast well, sir? Of was it done by
some schoolboy, to learn his maps, as the girls work samplers?"

"Come, younker, no sampler of your impudence. But look ahead; can you
see any habitation that has been deserted?"

"Ay, sir, here is a pile of stones before us, that looks as dirty and
ragged as if it was a soldier's barrack; can this be what you seek?"

"Faith, this has been a whole town in its day! we should call it a city
in America, and furnish it with a mayor, aldermen, and recorder--you
might stow old Faneuil Hall in one of its lockers."

With this sort of careless dialogue, which Barnstable engaged in, that
his men might discover no alteration in his manner, they approached the
mouldering walls that had proved so frail a protection to the party
under Griffith.

A short time was passed in examining the premises, when the wearied
seamen took possession of one of the dilapidated apartments, and
disposed themselves to seek that rest of which they had been deprived by
the momentous occurrences of the past night.

Barnstable waited until the loud breathing of the seamen assured him
that they slept, when he aroused the drowsy boy, who was fast losing his
senses in the same sort of oblivion, and motioned him to follow. Merry
arose, and they stole together from the apartment, with guarded steps,
and penetrated more deeply into the gloomy recesses of the place.




CHAPTER XXVI.

  _Mercury_. "I permit thee to be Sosia again."
  _Dryden,_


We must leave the two adventurers winding their way among the broken
piles, and venturing boldly beneath the tottering arches of the ruin, to
accompany the reader, at the same hour, within the more comfortable
walls of the abbey; where, it will be remembered, Borroughcliffe was
left in a condition of very equivocal ease. As the earth had, however,
in the interval, nearly run its daily round, circumstances had
intervened to release the soldier from his confinement--and no one,
ignorant of the fact, would suppose that the gentleman who was now
seated at the hospitable board of Colonel Howard, directing, with so
much discretion, the energies of his masticators to the delicacies of
the feast, could read, in his careless air and smiling visage, that
those foragers of nature had been so recently condemned, for four long
hours, to the mortification of discussing the barren subject of his own
sword-hilt. Borroughcliffe, however, maintained not only his usual post,
but his well-earned reputation at the table, with his ordinary coolness
of demeanor; though at times there were fleeting smiles that crossed his
military aspect, which sufficiently indicated that he considered the
matter of his reflection to be of a particularly ludicrous character. In
the young man who sat by his side, dressed in the deep-blue jacket of a
seaman, with the fine white linen of his collar contrasting strongly
with the black silk handkerchief that was tied with studied negligence
around his neck, and whose easy air and manner contrasted still more
strongly with this attire, the reader will discover Griffith. The
captive paid much less devotion to the viands than his neighbor, though
he affected more attention to the business of the table than he actually
be stowed, with a sort of consciousness that it would relieve the
blushing maiden who presided. The laughing eyes of Katherine Plowden
were glittering by the side of the mild countenance of Alice Dunscombe,
and, at times, were fastened in droll interest on the rigid and upright
exterior that Captain Manual maintained, directly opposite to where she
was seated. A chair had, also, been placed for Dillon--of course it was
vacant.

"And so, Borroughcliffe," cried Colonel Howard, with a freedom of voice,
and a vivacity in his air, that announced the increasing harmony of the
repast, "the sea-dog left you nothing to chew but the cud of your
resentment!"

"That and my sword-hilt," returned the immovable recruiting officer.
"Gentlemen, I know not how your Congress rewards military achievements;
but if that worthy fellow were in my company, he should have a halberd
within a week--spurs I would not offer him, for he affects to spurn
their use."

Griffith smiled, and bowed in silence to the liberal compliment of
Borroughcliffe; but Manual took on himself the task of replying:

"Considering the drilling the man has received, the conduct has been
well enough, sir; though a well-trained soldier would not only have made
prisoners, but he would have secured them."

"I perceive, my good comrade, that your thoughts are running on the
exchange," said Borroughcliffe, good-humoredly; "we will fill, sir, and,
by permission of the ladies, drink to a speedy restoration of rights to
both parties--the status quo ante bellum!"

"With all my heart!" cried the colonel; "and Cicely and Miss Katherine
will pledge the sentiment in a woman's sip; will ye not, my fair wards?
--Mr. Griffith, I honor this proposition of yours, which will not only
liberate yourself, but restore to us my kinsman, Mr. Christopher Dillon.
Kit had imagined the thing well; ha! Borroughcliffe! 'twas ingeniously
contrived, but the fortune of war interposed itself to his success; and
yet it is a deep and inexplicable mystery to me, how Kit should have
been conveyed from the abbey with so little noise, and without raising
the alarm."

"Christopher is a man who understands the philosophy of silence, as well
as that of rhetoric," returned Borroughcliffe, "and must have learned in
his legal studies, that it is sometimes necessary to conduct matters sub
silentio. You smile at my Latin, Miss Plowden; but really, since I have
become an inhabitant of this monkish abode, my little learning is
stimulated to unwonted efforts--nay, you are pleased to be yet more
merry! I used the language, because silence is a theme in which you
ladies take but little pleasure."

Katherine, however, disregarded the slight pique that was apparent in
the soldier's manner; but, after following the train of her own thoughts
in silent enjoyment for a moment longer, she seemed to yield to their
drollery, and laughed until her dark eyes flashed with merriment.
Cecilia did not assume the severe gravity with which she sometimes
endeavored to repress, what she thought, the unseasonable mirth of her
cousin; and the wondering Griffith fancied, as he glanced his eye from
one to the other, that he could discern a suppressed smile playing among
the composed features of Alice Dunscombe. Katherine, however, soon
succeeded in repressing the paroxysm, and, with an air of infinitely
comic gravity, she replied to the remark of the soldier:

"I think I have heard of such a process in nautical affairs as towing;
but I must appeal to Mr. Griffith for the correctness of the term."

"You could not speak with more accuracy," returned the young sailor,
with a look that sent the conscious blood to the temples of the lady,
"though you had made marine terms your study."

"The profession requires less thought, perhaps, than you imagine, sir;
but is this towing often done, as Captain Borroughcliffe--I beg his
pardon--as the monks have it, sub silentio?"

"Spare me, fair lady," cried the captain, "and we will establish a
compact of mutual grace; you to forgive my learning, and I to suppress
my suspicions."

"Suspicions, sir, is a word that a lady must defy."

"And defiance a challenge that a soldier can never receive; so I must
submit to talk English, though the fathers of the church were my
companions. I suspect that Miss Plowden has it in her power to explain
the manner of Mr. Christopher Dillon's departure."

The lady did not reply, but a second burst of merriment succeeded, of a
liveliness and duration quite equal to the former.

"How's this?" exclaimed the colonel; "permit me to say, Miss Plowden,
your mirth is very extraordinary! I trust no disrespect has been offered
to my kinsman? Mr. Griffith, our terms are, that the exchange shall only
be made on condition that equally good treatment has been extended to
the parties!"

"If Mr. Dillon can complain of no greater evil than that of being
laughed at by Miss Plowden, sir, he has reason to call himself a happy
fellow."

"I know not, sir; God forbid that I should forget what is due to my
guests, gentlemen!--but ye have entered my dwelling as foes to my
prince."

"But not to Colonel Howard, sir."

"I know no difference, Mr. Griffith. King George or Colonel Howard--
Colonel Howard or King George. Our feelings, our fortunes, and our fate,
are as one; with the mighty odds that Providence has established between
the prince and his people! I wish no other fortune than to share, at an
humble distance, the weal or woe of my sovereign!"

"You are not called upon, dear sir, to do either, by the thoughtlessness
of us ladies," said Cecilia, rising; "but here comes one who should turn
our thoughts to a more important subject--our dress."

Politeness induced Colonel Howard, who both loved and respected his
niece, to defer his remarks to another time: and Katherine, springing
from her chair with childish eagerness, flew to the side of her cousin,
who was directing a servant that had announced the arrival of one of
those erratic venders of small articles, who supply, in remote districts
of the country, the places of more regular traders, to show the lad into
the dining-parlor. The repast was so far ended as to render this
interruption less objectionable; and as all felt the object of Cecilia
to be the restoration of harmony, the boy was ushered into the room
without further delay. The contents of his small basket, consisting
chiefly of essences, and the smaller articles of female economy, were
playfully displayed on the table by Katherine, who declared herself the
patroness of the itinerant youth, and who laughingly appealed to the
liberality of the gentlemen in behalf of her protege.

"You perceive, my dear guardian, that the boy must be loyal; for he
offers, here, perfume, that is patronized by no less than two royal
dukes: do suffer me to place a box aside, for your especial use: you
consent; I see it in your eye. And, Captain Borroughcliffe, as you
appear to be forgetting the use of your own language, here is even a
hornbook for you! How admirably provided he seems to be. You must have
had St. Ruth in view, when you laid in your stock, child?"

"Yes, my lady," the boy replied, with a bow that was studiously awkward;
"I have often heard of the grand ladies that dwell in the old abbey, and
I have journeyed a few miles beyond my rounds, to gain their custom."

"And surely they cannot disappoint you. Miss Howard, that is a palpable
hint to your purse; and I know not that even Miss Alice can escape
contribution, in these troublesome times. Come, aid me, child; what have
you to recommend, in particular, to the favor of these ladies?"

The lad approached the basket, and rummaged its contents, for a moment,
with the appearance of deep mercenary interest; and then, without
lifting his hand from the confusion he had caused, he said, while he
exhibited something within the basket to the view of his smiling
observer:

"This, my lady."

Katharine started, and glanced her eyes, with a piercing look, at the
countenance of the boy, and then turned them uneasily from face to face,
with conscious timidity. Cecilia had effected her object, and had
resumed her seat in silent abstraction--Alice was listening to the
remarks of Captain Manual and the host, as they discussed the propriety
of certain military usages--Griffith seemed to hold communion with his
mistress, by imitating her silence; but Katharine, in her stolen
glances, met the keen look of Borroughcliffe, fastened on her face, in a
manner that did not fail instantly to suspend the scrutiny.

"Come, Cecilia," she cried, after a pause of a moment, "we trespass too
long on the patience of the gentlemen; not only to keep possession of
our seats, ten minutes after the cloth has been drawn! but even to
introduce our essences, and tapes, and needles, among the Madeira, and--
shall I add, cigars, colonel?"

"Not while we are favored with the company of Miss Plowden, certainly."

"Come, my coz; I perceive the colonel is growing particularly polite,
which is a never-failing sign that he tires of our presence."

Cecilia rose, and was leading the way to the door, when Katherine turned
to the lad, and added:

"You can follow us to the drawing-room, child, where we can make our
purchases, without exposing the mystery of our toilets."

"Miss Plowden has forgotten my hornbook, I believe," said
Borroughcliffe, advancing from the standing group who surrounded the
table; "possibly I can find some work in the basket of the boy, better
fitted for the improvement of a grown-up young gentleman than this
elementary treatise."

Cecilia, observing him to take the basket from the lad, resumed her
seat, and her example was necessarily followed by Katherine; though not
without some manifest indications of vexation.

"Come hither, boy, and explain the uses of your wares. This is soap, and
this a penknife, I know; but what name do you affix to this?"

"That? that is tape," returned the lad, with an impatience that might
very naturally be attributed to the interruption that was thus given to
his trade.

"And this?"

"That?" repeated the stripling, pausing, with a hesitation between
sulkiness and doubt; "that?--"

"Come, this is a little ungallant!" cried Katherine; "to keep three
ladies dying with impatience to possess themselves of their finery,
while you detain the boy, to ask the name of a tambouring-needle!"

"I should apologize for asking questions that are so easily answered;
but perhaps he will find the next more difficult to solve," returned
Borroughcliffe, placing the subject of his inquiries in the palm of his
hand, in such a manner as to conceal it from all but the boy and
himself, "This has a name too; what is it?"

"That?--that--is sometimes called--white-line."

"Perhaps you mean a white lie?"

"How, sir!" exclaimed the lad, a little fiercely, "a lie!"

"Only a white one," returned the captain. "What do you call this. Miss
Dunscombe?"

"We call it bobbin, sir, generally, in the north," said the placid
Alice.

"Ay, bobbin, or white-line; they are the same thing," added the young
trader.

"They are? I think, now, for a professional man, you know but little of
the terms of your art," observed Borroughcliffe, with an affectation of
irony; "I never have seen a youth of your years who knew less. What
names, now, would you affix to this, and this, and this?"

While the captain was speaking he drew from his pockets the several
instruments that the cockswain had made use of the preceding night to
secure his prisoner.

"That," exclaimed the lad, with the eagerness of one who would vindicate
his reputation, "is rattlin-stuff; and this is marline; and that is
sennit."

"Enough, enough," said Borroughcliffe; "you have exhibited sufficient
knowledge to convince me that you _do_ know something of your
_trade_, and nothing of these articles. Mr. Griffith, do you claim
this boy?"

"I believe I must, sir," said the young sea-officer, who had been
intently listening to the examination. "On whatever errand you have now
ventured here, Mr. Merry, it is useless to affect further concealment."

"Merry!" exclaimed Cecilia Howard; "is it you, then, my cousin? Are you,
too, fallen into the power of your enemies! was it not enough that--"

The young lady recovered her recollection in time to suppress the
remainder of the sentence, though the grateful expression of Griffith's
eye sufficiently indicated that he had, in his thoughts, filled the
sentence with expressions abundantly flattering to his own feelings.

"How's this, again!" cried the colonel; "my two wards embracing and
fondling a vagrant, vagabond peddler, before my eyes! Is this treason,
Mr. Griffith? Or what means the extraordinary visit of this young
gentleman?"

"Is it extraordinary, sir," said Merry himself, losing his assumed
awkwardness in the ease and confidence of one whose faculties had been
early exercised, "that a boy like myself, destitute of mother and
sisters, should take a like risk on himself, to visit the only two
female relatives he has in the world?"

"Why this disguise, then? surely, young gentleman, it was unnecessary to
enter the dwelling of old George Howard on such an errand clandestinely,
even though your tender years have been practised on, to lead you astray
from your allegiance. Mr. Griffith and Captain Manual must pardon me, if
I express sentiments, at my own table, that they may find unpleasant;
but this business requires us to be explicit."

"The hospitality of Colonel Howard is unquestionable," returned the boy;
"but he has a great reputation for his loyalty to the crown."

"Ay, young gentleman; and, I trust, with some justice."

"Would it, then, be safe, to entrust my person in the hands of one who
might think it his duty to detain me?"

"This is plausible enough, Captain Borroughcliffe, and I doubt not the
boy speaks with candor. I would, now, that my kinsman, Mr. Christopher
Dillon, were here, that I might learn if it would be misprision of
treason to permit this youth to depart, unmolested, and without
exchange?"

"Inquire of the young gentleman, after the Cacique," returned the
recruiting officer, who, apparently satisfied in producing the exposure
of Merry, had resumed his seat at the table; "perhaps he is, in verity,
an ambassador, empowered to treat on behalf of his highness."

"How say you?" demanded the colonel; "do you know anything of my
kinsman?"

The anxious eyes of the whole party were fastened on the boy for many
moments, witnessing the sudden change from careless freedom to deep
horror expressed in his countenance. At length he uttered in an
undertone the secret of Dillon's fate.

"He is dead."

"Dead!" repeated every voice in the room.

"Yes, dead!" said the boy, gazing at the pallid faces of those who
surrounded him.

A long and fearful silence succeeded the announcement of this
intelligence, which was only interrupted by Griffith, who said:

"Explain the manner of his death, sir, and where his body lies."

"His body lies interred in the sands," returned Merry, with a
deliberation that proceeded from an opening perception that, if he
uttered too much, he might betray the loss of the Ariel, and,
consequently, endanger the liberty of Barnstable.

"In the sands?" was echoed from every part of the room.

"Ay, in the sands; but how he died, I cannot explain."

"He has been murdered!" exclaimed Colonel Howard, whose command of
utterance was now amply restored to him; "he has been treacherously, and
dastardly, and basely murdered!"

"He has _not_ been murdered," said the boy, firmly; "nor did he
meet his death among those who deserve the name either of traitors or of
dastards."

"Said you not that he was dead? that my kinsman was buried in the sands
of the seashore?"

"Both are true, sir--"

"And you refuse to explain how he met his death, and why he has been
thus ignominiously interred?"

"He received his interment by my orders, sir; and if there be ignominy
about his grave, his own acts have heaped it on him. As to the manner of
his death, I cannot, and will not speak."

"Be calm, my cousin," said Cecilia, in an imploring voice; "respect the
age of my uncle, and remember his strong attachment to Mr. Dillon."

The veteran had, however, so far mastered his feelings, as to continue
the dialogue with more recollection.

"Mr. Griffith," he said, "I shall not act hastily--you and your
companions will be pleased to retire to your several apartments. I will
so far respect the son of my brother Harry's friend as to believe your
parole will be sacred. Go, gentlemen; you are unguarded."

The two prisoners bowed low to the ladies and their host, and retired.
Griffith, however, lingered a moment on the threshold, to say:

"Colonel Howard, I leave the boy to your kindness and consideration. I
know you will not forget that his blood mingles with that of one who is
most dear to you."

"Enough, enough, sir," said the veteran, waving his hand to him to
retire: "and you, ladies; this is not a place for you, either."

"Never will I quit this child," said Katherine, "while such a horrid
imputation lies on him. Colonel Howard, act your pleasure on us both,
for I suppose you have the power; but his fate shall be my fate."

"There is, I trust, some misconception in this melancholy affair," said
Borroughcliffe, advancing into the centre of the agitated group; "and I
should hope, by calmness and moderation, all may yet be explained; young
gentleman, you have borne arms, and must know, notwithstanding your
youth, what it is to be in the power of your enemies?"

"Never," returned the proud boy; "I am a captive for the first time."

"I speak, sir, in reference to our power."

"You may order me to a dungeon; or, as I have entered the abbey in
disguise, possibly to a gibbet."

"And is that a fate to be met so calmly by one so young?"

"You dare not do it, Captain Borroughcliffe," cried Katherine,
involuntarily throwing an arm around the boy, as if to shield him from
harm; "you would blush to think of such a cold-blooded act of vengeance,
Colonel Howard."

"If we could examine the young man, where the warmth of feeling which
these ladies exhibit might not be excited," said the captain, apart to
his host, "we should gain important intelligence."

"Miss Howard, and you, Miss Plowden," said the veteran, in a manner that
long habit had taught his wards to respect, "your young kinsman is not
in the keeping of savages, and you can safely confide him to my custody.
I am sorry that we have so long kept Miss Alice standing, but she will
find relief on the couches of your drawing-room, Cecilia."

Cecilia and Katherine permitted themselves to be conducted to the door
by their polite but determined guardian, where he bowed to their
retiring persons, with the exceeding courtesy that he never failed to
use, when in the least excited.

"You appear to know your danger, Mr. Merry," said Borroughcliffe, after
the door was closed; "I trust you also know what duty would dictate to
one in my situation."

"Do it, sir," returned the boy; "you have a king to render an account
to, and I have a country."

"I may have a country also," said Borroughcliffe, with a calmness that
was not in the least disturbed by the taunting air with which the youth
delivered himself. "It is possible for me, however, to be lenient, even
merciful, when the interests of that prince, to whom you allude, are
served--you came not on this enterprise alone, sir?"

"Had I come better attended, Captain Borroughcliffe might have heard
these questions, instead of putting them."

"I am happy, sir, that your retinue has been so small: and yet even the
rebel schooner called the Ariel might have furnished you with a more
becoming attendance. I cannot but think that you are not far distant
from your friends."

"He is near his enemies, your honor," said Sergeant Drill, who had
entered the room unobserved; "for here is a boy who says he has been
seized in the old ruin, and robbed of his goods and clothes; and, by his
description, this lad should be the thief."

Borroughcliffe signed to the boy, who stood in the background, to
advance; and he was instantly obeyed, with all that eagerness which a
sense of injury on the part of the sufferer could excite. The tale of
this unexpected intruder was soon told, and was briefly this:

He had been assaulted by a man and a boy (the latter was in presence),
while arranging his effects, in the ruin, preparatory to exhibiting them
to the ladies of the abbey, and had been robbed of such part of his
attire as the boy had found necessary for his disguise, together with
his basket of valuables. He had been put into an apartment of an old
tower, by the man, for safe keeping; but as the latter frequently
ascended to its turret, to survey the country, he had availed himself of
this remissness, to escape; and, to conclude, he demanded a restoration
of his property, and vengeance for his wrongs.

Merry heard his loud and angry details with scornful composure, and
before the offended peddler was through his narrative, he had divested
himself of the borrowed garments, which he threw to the other with
singular disdain.

"We are beleaguered, mine host! beset! besieged!" cried Borroughcliffe,
when the other had ended. "Here is a rare plan to rob us of our laurels!
ay, and of our rewards! but, hark ye, Drill! they have old soldiers to
deal with, and we shall look into the matter. One would wish to triumph
on foot; you understand me?--there was no horse in the battle. Go,
fellow, I see you grow wiser; take this young gentleman--and remember
_he is_ a young gentleman--put him in safe keeping, but see him
supplied with all he wants."

Borroughcliffe bowed politely to the haughty bend of the body with which
Merry, who now began to think himself a martyr to his country, followed
the orderly from the room.

"There is mettle in the lad!" exclaimed the captain; "and if he live to
get a beard, 'twill be a hardy dog who ventures to pluck it. I am glad,
mine host, that this 'wandering Jew' has arrived, to save the poor
fellow's feelings, for I detest tampering with such a noble spirit. I
saw, by his eye, that he had squinted oftener over a gun than through a
needle!"

"But they have murdered my kinsman!--the loyal, the learned, the
ingenious Mr. Christopher Dillon!"

"If they have done so, they shall be made to answer it," said
Borroughcliffe, reseating himself at the table, with a coolness that
furnished an ample pledge of the impartiality of his judgment; "but let
us learn the facts, before we do aught hastily."

Colonel Howard was fain to comply with so reasonable a proposition, and
he resumed his chair, while his companion proceeded to institute a close
examination of the peddler boy.

We shall defer, until the proper time may arrive, recording the result
of his inquiries; but shall so satisfy the curiosity of our readers, as
to tell them that the captain learned sufficient to convince him a very
serious attempt was meditated on the abbey; and, as he thought, enough
also to enable him to avert the danger.




CHAPTER XXVII.

  --"I have not seen
  So likely an ambassador of love."
  _Merchant of Venice._


Cecilia and Katherine separated from Alice Dunscombe in the lower
gallery of the cloisters; and the cousins ascended to the apartment
which was assigned them as a dressing-room. The intensity of feeling
that was gradually accumulating in the breasts of the ladies, as
circumstances brought those in whom their deepest interests were centred
into situations of extreme delicacy, if not of actual danger, perhaps,
in some measure, prevented them from experiencing all that concern which
the detection and arrest of Merry might be supposed to excite. The boy,
like themselves, was an only child of one of those three sisters, who
caused the close connection of so many of our characters; and his tender
years had led his cousins to regard him with an affection that exceeded
the ordinary interest of such an affinity; but they knew that in the
hands of Colonel Howard his person was safe, though his liberty might be
endangered. When the first emotions, therefore, which were created by
his sudden appearance after so long an absence had subsided, their
thoughts were rather occupied by the consideration of what consequences,
to others, might proceed from his arrest, than by any reflections on the
midshipman's actual condition. Secluded from the observations of any
strange eyes, the two maidens indulged their feelings, without
restraint, according to their several temperaments. Katherine moved to
and fro in the apartment, with feverish anxiety, while Miss Howard, by
concealing her countenance under the ringlets of her luxuriant dark
hair, and shading her eyes with a fair hand, seemed to be willing to
commune with her thoughts more quietly.

"Barnstable cannot be far distant," said the former, after a few minutes
had passed; "for he never would have sent that child on such an errand,
by himself!"

Cecilia raised her mild blue eyes to the countenance of her cousin, as
she answered:

"All thoughts of an exchange must now be abandoned; and perhaps the
persons of the prisoners will be held as pledges, to answer for the life
of Dillon."

"Can the wretch be dead? or is it merely a threat, or some device of
that urchin? He is a forward child, and would not hesitate to speak and
act boldly, on emergency."

"He is dead!" returned Cecilia, veiling her face again in horror; "the
eyes of the boy, his whole countenance, confirmed his words! I fear,
Katherine, that Mr. Barnstable has suffered his resentment to overcome
his discretion, when he learned the treachery of Dillon; surely, surely,
through the hard usages of war may justify so dreadful a revenge on an
enemy, it was unkind to forget the condition of his own friends!"

"Mr. Barnstable has done neither, Miss Howard," said Katherine, checking
her uneasy footsteps, her light form swelling with pride; "Mr.
Barnstable is equally incapable of murdering an enemy or of deserting a
friend!"

"But retaliation is neither deemed nor called murder, by men in arms."

"Think it what you will, call it what you will, Cecilia Howard, I will
pledge my life, that Richard Barnstable has to answer for the blood of
none but the open enemies of his country."

"The miserable man may have fallen a sacrifice to the anger of that
terrific seaman, who led him hence as a captive!"

"That terrific seaman, Miss Howard, has a heart as tender as your own.
He is----"

"Nay, Katherine," interrupted Cecilia, "you chide me unkindly; let us
not add to our unavoidable misery, by such harsh contention."

"I do not contend with you, Cecilia; I merely defend the absent and the
innocent from your unkind suspicions, my cousin."

"Say, rather, your sister," returned Miss Howard, their hands
involuntarily closing upon each other, "for we are surely sisters! But
let us strive to think of something less horrible. Poor, poor Dillon!
now that he has met a fate so terrible, I can even fancy him less artful
and more upright than we had thought him! You agree with me, Katherine,
I see by your countenance, and we will dwell no longer on the subject.--
Katherine! my cousin Kate, what see you?"

Miss Plowden, as she relinquished her pressure of the hand of Cecilia,
had renewed her walk with a more regulated step; but she was yet making
her first turn across the room, when her eyes became keenly set on the
opposite window, and her whole frame was held in an attitude of absorbed
attention. The rays of the setting sun fell bright upon her dark
glances, which seemed fastened on some distant object, and gave an
additional glow to the mantling color that was slowly stealing, across
her cheeks, to her temples. Such a sudden alteration in the manner and
appearance of her companion had not failed to catch the attention of
Cecilia, who, in consequence, interrupted herself by the agitated
question we have related. Katherine slowly beckoned her companion to her
side, and, pointing in the direction of the wood that lay in view, she
said:

"See yon tower, in the ruin! Do you observe those small spots of pink
and yellow that are fluttering above its walls?"

"I do. They are the lingering remnants of the foliage of some tree; but
they want the vivid tints which grace the autumn of our own dear
America!"

"One is the work of God, and the other has been produced by the art of
man. Cecilia, those are no leaves, but they are my own childish signals,
and without doubt Barnstable himself is on that ruined tower. Merry
cannot, will not, betray him!"

"My life should be a pledge for the honor of our little cousin," said
Cecilia. "But you have the telescope of my uncle at hand, ready for such
an event! one look through it will ascertain the truth--"

Katherine sprang to the spot where the instrument stood, and with eager
hands she prepared it for the necessary observation.

"It is he!" she cried, the instant her eye was put to the glass. "I even
see his head above the stones. How unthinking to expose himself so
unnecessarily!"

"But what says he, Katherine?" exclaimed Cecilia; "you alone can
interpret his meaning."

The little book which contained the explanations of Miss Plowden's
signals was now hastily produced, and its leaves rapidly run over in
quest of the necessary number.

"Tis only a question to gain my attention. I must let him know he is
observed."

When Katherine, as much to indulge her secret propensities as with any
hope of its usefulness, had devised this plan for communicating with
Barnstable, she had, luckily, not forgotten to arrange the necessary
means to reply to his interrogatories. A very simple arrangement of some
of the ornamental cords of the window-curtains enabled her to effect
this purpose; and her nimble fingers soon fastened the pieces of silk to
the lines, which were now thrown into the air, when these signals in
miniature were instantly displayed in the breeze.

"He sees them!" cried Cecilia, "and is preparing to change his flags."

"Keep then your eye on him, my cousin, and tell me the colors that he
shows, with their order, and I will endeavor to read his meaning."

"He is as expert as yourself! There are two more of them fluttering
above the stones again: the upper is white, and the lower black."

"White over black," repeated Katherine, rapidly, to herself, as she
turned the leaves of her book.--"'_My messenger: has he been
seen?_'--To that we must answer the unhappy truth. Here it is--
yellow, white, and red--'_He is a prisoner._' How fortunate that I
should have prepared such a question and answer. What says he, Cecilia,
to this news?"

"He is busy making his changes, dear. Nay, Katherine, you shake so
violently as to move the glass! Now he is done; 'tis yellow over black,
this time."

"'_Griffith, or who?_' He does not understand us; but I had thought
of the poor boy, in making out the numbers--ah! here it is; yellow,
green, and red--'_My cousin Merry_'--he cannot fail to understand
us now."

"He has already taken in his flags. The news seems to alarm him, for he
is less expert than before. He shows them now--they are green, red, and
yellow."

"The question is, '_Am I safe?_' 'Tis that which made him tardy,
Miss Howard," continued Katherine. "Barnstable is ever slow to consult
his safety. But how shall I answer him? should we mislead him now, how
could we ever forgive ourselves!"

"Of Andrew Merry there is no fear," returned Cecilia; "and I think if
Captain Borroughcliffe had any intimation of the proximity of his
enemies, he would not continue at the table."

"He will stay there while wine will sparkle, and man can swallow," said
Katherine; "but we know, by sad experience, that he is a soldier on an
emergency; and yet, I'll trust to his ignorance this time--here, I have
an answer: '_You are yet safe, but be wary_.'"

"He reads your meaning with a quick eye, Katherine; and he is ready with
his answer too: he shows green over white, this time. Well! do you not
hear me? 'tis green over white. Why, you are dumb--what says he, dear?"

Still Katherine answered not, and her cousin raised her eyes from the
glass, and beheld her companion gazing earnestly at the open page, while
the glow which excitement had before brought to her cheek was increased
to a still deeper bloom.

"I hope your blushes and his signals are not ominous, Kate," added
Cecilia; "can green imply his jealousy, as white does your purity? what
says he, coz?"

"He talks, like yourself, much nonsense," said Katherine, turning to her
flags, with a pettish air, that was singularly contradicted by her
gratified countenance; "but the situation of things requires that I
should talk to Barnstable more freely."

"I can retire," said Cecilia, rising from her chair with a grave manner.

"Nay, Cecilia, I do not deserve these looks--'tis you who exhibit levity
now! But you can perceive for yourself that evening is closing in, and
that some other medium for conversation, besides the eyes, may be
adopted.--Here is a signal, which will answer: _'When the abbey clock
strikes nine, come with care to the wicket, which opens, at the east
side of the paddock, on the road: until then, keep secret.'_ I had
prepared this very signal, in case an interview should be necessary."

"Well, he sees it," returned Cecilia, who had resumed her place by the
telescope, "and seems disposed to obey you, for I no longer discern his
flags or his person."

Miss Howard now arose from before the glass, her observations being
ended; but Katherine did not return the instrument to its corner,
without fastening one long and anxious look through it, on what now
appeared to be the deserted tower. The interest and anxiety produced by
this short and imperfect communication between Miss Plowden and her
lover did not fail to excite reflections in both the ladies, that
furnished materials to hold them in earnest discourse, until the
entrance of Alice Dunscombe announced that their presence was expected
below. Even the unsuspecting Alice, on entering, observed a change in
the countenances and demeanor of the two cousins, which betrayed that
their secret conference had not been entirely without contention. The
features of Cecilia were disturbed and anxious, and their expression was
not unlike melancholy; while the dark flashing eye, flushed temples, and
proud, determined step of Katherine exhibited in an equal, if not a
greater degree, a very different emotion. As no reference to the subject
of their conversation was, however, made by either of the young ladies
after the entrance of Alice, she led the way, in silence, to the
drawing-room.

The ladies were received, by Colonel Howard and Borroughcliffe, with
marked attention. In the former there were moments when a deep gloom
would, in spite of his very obvious exertions to the contrary, steal
over his open, generous countenance; but the recruiting officer
maintained an air of immovable coolness and composure. Twenty times did
he detect the piercing looks of Katherine fastened on him, with an
intentness that a less deliberative man might have had the vanity to
misinterpret; but even this flattering testimonial of his power to
attract failed to disturb his self-possession. It was in vain that
Katherine endeavored to read his countenance, where everything was fixed
in military rigidity, though his deportment appeared more than usually
easy and natural. Tired at length with her fruitless scrutiny, the
excited girl turned her gaze upon the clock: to her amazement, she
discovered that it was on the stroke of nine, and, disregarding a
deprecating glance from her cousin, she arose and quitted the apartment.
Borroughcliffe opened the door for her exit, and, while the lady civilly
bowed her head in acknowledgment of his attention, their eyes once more
met; but she glided quickly by him, and found herself alone in the
gallery. Katherine hesitated, more than a minute, to proceed, for she
thought she had detected in that glance a lurking expression, that
manifested conscious security mingled with secret design. It was not her
nature, however, to hesitate, when circumstances required that she
should be both prompt and alert; and, throwing over her slight person a
large cloak, that was in readiness for the occasion, she stole warily
from the building.

Although Katherine suspected most painfully that Borroughcliffe had
received intelligence that might prove dangerous to her lover, she
looked around her in vain, on gaining the open air, to discover any
alteration in the arrangements for the defence of the abbey, which might
confirm her suspicions, or the knowledge of which might enable her to
instruct Barnstable how to avoid the secret danger. Every disposition
remained as it had been since the capture of Griffith and his companion.
She heard the heavy, quick steps of the sentinel, who was posted beneath
their windows, endeavoring to warm himself on his confined post; and as
she paused to listen, she also detected the rattling of arms from the
soldier who, as usual, guarded the approach of that part of the building
where his comrades were quartered. The night had set in cloudy and dark,
although the gale had greatly subsided towards the close of the day;
still the wind swept heavily, and, at moments, with a rushing noise,
among the irregular walls of the edifice; and it required the utmost
nicety of ear to distinguish even these well-known sounds, among such
accompaniments. When Katherine, however, was satisfied that her organs
had not deceived her, she turned an anxious eye in the direction of what
Borroughcliffe called his "barracks." Everything in that direction
appeared so dark and still as to create a sensation of uneasiness, by
its very quiet. It might be the silence of sleep that now pervaded the
ordinarily gay and mirthful apartment! or it might be the stillness of a
fearful preparation! There was no time, however, for further hesitation,
and Katherine drew her cloak more closely about her form, and proceeded
with light and guarded steps to the appointed spot. As she approached
the wicket the clock struck the hour, and she again paused, while the
mournful sounds were borne by her on the wind, as if expecting that each
stroke on the bell would prove a signal to unmask some secret design of
Borroughcliffe. As the last vibration melted away, she opened the little
gate, and issued on the highway. The figure of a man sprang forward from
behind an angle of the wall, as she appeared; and while her heart was
still throbbing with the suddenness of the alarm, she found herself in
the arms of Barnstable. After the first few words of recognition and
pleasure which the young sailor uttered, he acquainted his mistress with
the loss of his schooner, and the situation of the survivors.

"And now, Katherine," he concluded, "you have come, I trust, never to
quit me; or, at most, to return no more to that old abbey, unless it be
to aid in liberating Griffith, and then to join me again forever."

"Why, truly, there is so much to tempt a young woman to renounce her
home and friends, in the description you have just given of your
condition, that I hardly know how to refuse your request, Barnstable.
You are very tolerably provided with a dwelling in the ruin; and I
suppose certain predatory schemes are to be adopted to make it
habitable! St. Ruth is certainly well supplied with the necessary
articles, but whether we should not be shortly removed to the Castle at
York, or the jail at Newcastle, is a question that I put to your
discretion."

"Why yield your thoughts to such silly subjects, lovely trifler!" said
Barnstable, "when the time and the occasion both urge us to be in
earnest?"

"It is a woman's province to be thrifty, and to look after the comforts
of domestic life," returned his mistress; "and I would discharge my
functions with credit. But I feel you are vexed, for to see your dark
countenance is out of the question, on such a night. When do you propose
to commence housekeeping, if I should yield to your proposals?"

"I have not concluded relating my plans, and your provoking wit annoys
me! The vessel I have taken will unquestionably come into the land, as
the gale dies; and I intend making my escape in her, after beating this
Englishman, and securing the liberty of Miss Howard and yourself. I
could see the frigate in the offing, even before we left the cliffs."

"This certainly sounds better!" rejoined Katherine, in a manner that
indicated she was musing on their prospects; "and yet there may exist
some difficulties in the way that you little suspect."

"Difficulties there are none--there can be none."

"Speak not irreverently of the mazes of love, Mr. Barnstable. When was
it ever known to exist unfettered or unembarrassed? Even I have an
explanation to ask of you, that I would much rather let alone.

"Of me! ask what you will, or how you will; I am a careless, unthinking
fellow, Miss Plowden; but to you I have little to answer for--unless a
foolish sort of adoration be an offence against your merits."

Barnstable felt the little hand that was supported on his arm, pressing
the limb, as Katharine replied, in a tone so changed from its former
forced levity, that he started as the first sounds reached his ears.
"Merry has brought in a horrid report!" she said; "I would I could
believe it untrue! but the looks of the boy, and the absence of Dillon,
both confirm it."

"Poor Merry! he too has fallen into the trap! but they shall yet find
one who is too cunning for them. Is it to the fate of that wretched
Dillon that you allude?"

"He _was_ a wretch," continued Katherine, in the same voice, "and
he deserved much punishment at your hands, Barnstable; but life is the
gift of God, and is not to be taken whenever human vengeance would
appear to require a victim."

"His life was taken by Him who bestowed it," said the sailor. "Is it
Katherine Plowden who would suspect me of the deed of a dastard!"

"I do not suspect you--I did not suspect you," cried Katherine; "I will
never suspect any evil of you again. You are not, you cannot be angry
with me, Barnstable? Had you heard the cruel suspicions of my cousin
Cecilia, and had your imagination been busy in portraying your wrongs
and the temptations to forget mercy, like mine, even while my tongue
denied your agency in the suspected deed, you would--you would at least
have learned how much easier it is to defend those we love against the
open attacks of others, than against our own jealous feelings."

"Those words, love and jealousy, will obtain your acquittal," cried
Barnstable, in his natural voice; and, after uttering a few more
consoling assurances to Katherine, whose excited feelings found vent in
tears, he briefly related the manner of Dillon's death.

"I had hoped I stood higher in the estimation of Miss Howard than to be
subjected to even her suspicions," he said, when he had ended his
explanation. "Griffith has been but a sorry representative of our trade,
if he has left such an opinion of its pursuits."

"I do not know that Mr. Griffith would altogether have escaped my
conjectures, had he been the disappointed commander, and you the
prisoner," returned Katherine; "you know not how much we have both
studied the usages of war, and with what dreadful pictures of hostages,
retaliations, and military executions our minds are stored! but a
mountain is raised off my spirits, and I could almost say that I am now
ready to descend the valley of life in your company."

"It is a discreet determination, my good Katherine, and God bless you
for it; the companion may not be so good as you deserve, but you will
find him ambitious of your praise. Now let us devise means to effect our
object."

"Therein lies another of my difficulties. Griffith, I much fear, will
not urge Cecilia to another flight, against her--her--what shall I call
it, Barnstable--her caprice, or her judgment? Cecilia will never consent
to desert her uncle, and I cannot muster the courage to abandon my poor
cousin, in the face of the world, in order to take shelter with even Mr.
Richard Barnstable!"

"Speak you from the heart now, Katherine?"

"Very nearly--if not exactly."

"Then have I been cruelly deceived! It is easier to find a path in the
trackless ocean, without chart or compass, than to know the windings of
a woman's heart!"

"Nay, nay, foolish man; you forget that I am but small, and how very
near my head is to my heart; too nigh, I fear, for the discretion of
their mistress! but is there no method of forcing Griffith and Cecilia
to their own good, without undue violence?"

"It cannot be done; he is my senior in rank, and the instant I release
him he will claim the command. A question might be raised, at a leisure
moment, on the merits of such a claim--but even my own men are, as you
know, nothing but a draft from the frigate, and they would not hesitate
to obey the orders of the first lieutenant, who is not a man to trifle
on matters of duty."

"Tis vexatious, truly," said Katherine, "that all my well-concerted
schemes in behalf of this wayward pair should be frustrated by their own
willful conduct! But after all, have you justly estimated your strength,
Barnstable? are you certain that you would be successful, and that
without hazard, too, if you should make the attempt?"

"Morally, and what is better, physically certain. My men are closely
hid, where no one suspects an enemy to lie; they are anxious for the
enterprise, and the suddenness of the attack will not only make the
victory sure, but it will be rendered bloodless. You will aid us in our
entrance, Katherine; I shall first secure this recruiting officer, and
his command will then surrender without striking a blow. Perhaps, after
all, Griffith will hear reason; if he do not, I will not yield my
authority to a released captive, without a struggle."

"God send that there shall be no fighting!" murmured his companion, a
little appalled at the images his language had raised before her
imagination; "and, Barnstable, I enjoin you, most solemnly, by all your
affection for me, and by everything you deem most sacred, to protect the
person of Colonel Howard at every hazard. There must be no excuse, no
pretence, for even an insult to my passionate, good, obstinate, but kind
old guardian. I believe I have given him already more trouble than I am
entitled to give any one, and Heaven forbid that I should cause him any
serious misfortune!"

"He shall be safe, and not only he, but all that are with him, as you
will perceive, Katherine, when you hear my plan. Three hours shall not
pass over my head before you will see me master of that old abbey.
Griffith, ay, Griffith, must be content to be my inferior, until we get
afloat again."

"Attempt nothing unless you feel certain of being able to maintain your
advantage, not only against your enemies, but also against your
friends," said the anxious Katherine. "Rely on it, both Cecilia and
Griffith are refining so much on their feelings, that neither will be
your ally."

"This comes of passing the four best years of his life within walls of
brick, poring over Latin grammars and syntaxes, and such other nonsense,
when he should have been rolling them away in a good box of live-oak,
and studying, at most, how to sum up his day's work, and tell where his
ship lies after a blow. Your college learning may answer well enough for
a man who has to live by his wits, but it can be of little use to one
who is never afraid to read human nature, by looking his fellow-
creatures full in the face, and whose hand is as ready as his tongue. I
have generally found the eye that was good at Latin was dull at a
compass, or in a night squall: and yet, Griff is a seaman; though I have
heard him even read the Testament in Greek! Thank God, I had the wisdom
to run away from school the second day they undertook to teach me a
strange tongue, and I believe I am the more honest man, and the better
seaman, for my ignorance!"

"There is no telling what you might have been, Barnstable, under other
circumstances," retorted his mistress, with a playfulness of manner that
she could not always repress, though it was indulged at the expense of
him she most loved; "I doubt not but, under proper training, you would
have made a reasonably good priest."

"If you talk of priests, Katherine, I shall remind you that we carry one
in the ship. But listen to my plan: we may talk further of priestcraft
when an opportunity may offer."

Barnstable then proceeded to lay before his mistress a project he had
formed for surprising the abbey that night, which was so feasible that
Katharine, notwithstanding her recent suspicions of Borroughcliffe's
designs, came gradually to believe it would succeed. The young seaman
answered her objections with the readiness of an ardent mind, bent on
executing its purposes, and with a fertility of resources that proved he
was no contemptible enemy, in matters that required spirited action. Of
Merry's remaining firm and faithful he had no doubt; and although he
acknowledged the escape of the peddler boy, he urged that the lad had
seen no other of his party besides himself, whom he mistook for a common
marauder.

As the disclosure of these plans was frequently interrupted by little
digressions, connected with the peculiar motions of the lovers, more
than an hour flew by, before they separated. But Katherine at length
reminded him how swiftly the time was passing, and how much remained to
be done, when he reluctantly consented to see her once more through the
wicket, where they parted.

Miss Plowden adopted the same precaution in returning to the house she
had used on leaving it; and she was congratulating herself on its
success, when her eye caught a glimpse of the figure of a man, who was
apparently following at some little distance, in her footsteps, and
dogging her motions. As the obscure form, however, paused also when she
stopped to give it an alarmed, though inquiring look, and then slowly
retired towards the boundary of the paddock, Katherine, believing it to
be Barnstable watching over her safety, entered the abbey, with every
idea of alarm entirely lost in the pleasing reflection of her lover's
solicitude.




CHAPTER XXVIII.

  "He looks abroad, and soon appears,
  O'er Horncliffe-hill, a plump of spears,
  Beneath a pennon gay."
  _Marmion._


The sharp sounds of the supper-bell were ringing along the gallery, as
Miss Plowden gained the gloomy passage; and she quickened her steps to
join the ladies, in order that no further suspicions might be excited by
her absence.--Alice Dunscombe was already proceeding to the dining
parlor, as Katherine passed through the door of the drawing-room; but
Miss Howard had loitered behind, and was met by her cousin alone.

"You have then been so daring as to venture, Katherine!" exclaimed
Cecilia.

"I have," returned the other, throwing herself into a chair, to recover
her agitation--"I have, Cecilia; and I have met Barnstable, who will
soon be in the abbey, and its master."

The blood which had rushed to the face of Cecilia on first seeing her
cousin now retreated to her heart, leaving every part of her fine
countenance of the whiteness of her polished temples, as she said:

"And we are to have a night of blood!"

"We are to have a night of freedom, Miss Howard; freedom to you, and to
me: to Andrew Merry, to Griffith and to his companion!"

"What freedom more than we now enjoy Katherine, is needed by two young
women? Think you I can remain silent, and see my uncle betrayed before
my eyes? his life perhaps endangered!"

"Your own life and person will not be held more sacred, Cecilia Howard,
than that of your uncle. If you will condemn Griffith to a prison, and
perhaps to a gibbet, betray Barnstable, as you have threatened--an
opportunity will not be wanting at the supper-table, whither I shall
lead the way, since the mistress of the house appears to forget her
duty."

Katharine arose, and with a firm step and proud eye she moved along the
gallery to the room where their presence was expected by the rest of the
family. Cecilia followed in silence, and the whole party immediately
took their several places at the board.

The first few minutes were passed in the usual attentions of the
gentlemen to the ladies, and the ordinary civilities of the table;
during which Katherine had so far regained the equanimity of her
feelings, as to commence a watchful scrutiny of the manners and looks of
her guardian and Borroughcliffe, in which she determined to persevere
until the eventful hour when she was to expect Barnstable should arrive.
Colonel Howard had, however, so far got the command of himself, as no
longer to betray his former abstraction. In its place Katherine fancied,
at moments, that she could discover a settled look of conscious
security, mingled a little with an expression of severe determination;
such as, in her earlier days, she had learned to dread as sure
indications of the indignant, but upright, justice of an honorable mind.
Borroughcliffe, on the other hand, was cool, polite, and as attentive to
the viands as usual, with the alarming exception of discovering much
less devotion to the Pride of the Vineyards than he commonly manifested
on such occasions. In this manner the meal passed by, and the cloth was
removed, though the ladies appeared willing to retain their places
longer than was customary. Colonel Howard, filling up the glasses of
Alice Dunscombe and himself, passed the bottle to the recruiting
officer, and, with a sort of effort that was intended to rouse the
dormant cheerfulness of his guests, cried:

"Come Borroughcliffe, the ruby lips of your neighbors would be still
more beautiful, were they moistened with this rich cordial, and that,
too, accompanied by some loyal sentiment. Miss Alice is ever ready to
express her fealty to her sovereign; in her name, I can give the health
of his most sacred majesty, with defeat and death to all traitors!"

"If the prayers of an humble subject, and one of a sex that has but
little need to mingle in the turmoil of the world, and that has less
right to pretend to understand the subtleties of statesmen, can much
avail a high and mighty prince like him who sits on the throne, then
will he never know temporal evil," returned Alice, meekly; "but I cannot
wish death to any one, not even to my enemies, if any I have, and much
less to a people who are the children of the same family with myself."

"Children of the same family!" the colonel repeated, slowly, and with a
bitterness of manner that did not fail to attract the painful interest
of Katherine: "children of the same family! Ay! even as Absalom was the
child of David, or as Judas was of the family of the holy Apostles! But
let it pass unpledged--let it pass. The accursed spirit of rebellion has
invaded my dwelling, and I no longer know where to find one of my
household that has not been assailed by its malign influence!"

"Assailed I may have been among others," returned Alice; "but not
corrupted, if purity, in this instance, consists in loyalty--"

"What sound is that?" interrupted the colonel, with startling
suddenness. "Was it not the crash of some violence, Captain
Borroughcliffe?"

"It may have been one of my rascals who has met with a downfall in
passing from the festive board--where you know I regale them to-night,
in honor of our success--to his blanket," returned the captain, with
admirable indifference; "or it may be the very spirit of whom you have
spoken so freely, my host, that has taken umbrage at your remarks, and
is passing from the hospitable walls of St. Ruth into the open air,
without submitting to the small trouble of ascertaining the position of
doors. In the latter case there may be some dozen perches or so of wall
to replace in the morning."

The colonel, who had risen, glanced his eyes uneasily from the speaker
to the door, and was evidently but little disposed to enter into the
pleasantry of his guest.

"There are unusual noises, Captain Borroughcliffe, in the grounds of the
abbey, if not in the building itself," he said advancing with a fine
military air from the table to the centre of the room, "and as master of
the mansion I will inquire who it is that thus unseasonably disturbs
these domains. If as friends, they shall have welcome, though their
visit be unexpected; and if enemies, they shall also meet with such a
reception as will become an old soldier!"

"No, no," cried Cecilia, entirely thrown off her guard by the manner and
language of the veteran and rushing into his arms. "Go not out, my
uncle; go not into the terrible fray, my kind, my good uncle! you are
old, you have already done more than your duty; why should you be
exposed to danger?"

"The girl is mad with terror, Borroughcliffe," cried the colonel,
bending his glistening eyes fondly on his niece, "and you will have to
furnish my good-for-nothing, gouty old person with a corporal's guard,
to watch my nightcap, or the silly child will have an uneasy pillow,
till the sun rises once more. But you do not stir, sir?"

"Why should I?" cried the captain; "Miss Plowden yet deigns to keep me
company, and it is not in the nature of one of the --th to desert his
bottle and his standard at the same moment. For, to a true soldier, the
smiles of a lady are as imposing in the parlor as the presence of his
colors in the field."

"I continue undisturbed, Captain Borroughcliffe," said Katherine,
"because I have not been an inhabitant, for so many months, of St. Ruth,
and not learned to know the tunes which the wind can play among its
chimneys and pointed roofs. The noise which has taken Colonel Howard
from his seat, and which has so unnecessarily alarmed my cousin Cicely,
is nothing but the Aolian harp of the abbey sounding a double bass."

The captain fastened on her composed countenance, while she was
speaking, a look of open admiration, that brought, though tardily, the
color more deeply to her cheeks: and he answered with something
extremely equivocal, both in his emphasis and his air:

"I have avowed my allegiance, and I will abide by it. So long as Miss
Plowden will deign to bestow her company, so long will she find me among
her most faithful and persevering attendants, come who may, or what
will."

"You compel me to retire," returned Katherine, rising, "whatever may
have been my gracious intentions in the matter; for even female vanity
must crimson, at an adoration so profound as that which can chain
Captain Borroughcliffe to a supper-table! As your alarm has now
dissipated, my cousin, will you lead the way? Miss Alice and myself
attend you."

"But not into the paddock, surely, Miss Plowden," said the captain; "the
door, the key of which you have just turned, communicates with the
vestibule. This is the passage to the drawing-room."

The lady faintly laughed, as if in derision of her own forgetfulness,
while she bowed her acknowledgment, and moved towards the proper
passage: she observed:

"The madness of fear has assailed some, I believe, who have been able to
affect a better disguise than Miss Howard."

"Is it the fear of present danger, or of that which is in reserve?"
asked the captain; "but, as you have stipulated so generously in behalf
of my worthy host here, and of one, also, who shall be nameless, because
he has not deserved such a favor at your hands, your safety shall be one
of my especial duties in these times of peril."

"There is peril, then!" exclaimed Cecilia; "your looks announce it.
Captain Borroughcliffe! The changing countenance of my cousin tells me
that my fears are too true!"

The soldier had now risen also, and, casting aside the air of badinage,
which he so much delighted in, he came forward into the centre of the
apartment, with the manner of one who felt it was time to be serious.

"A soldier is ever in peril, when the enemies of his king are at hand,
Miss Howard," he answered: "and that such is now the case, Miss Plowden
can testify, if she will. But you are the allies of both parties--
retire, then, to your own apartments, and await the result of the
struggle which is at hand."

"You speak of danger and hidden perils," said Alice Dunscombe; "know ye
aught that justifies your fears?"

"I know all," Borroughcliffe coolly replied.

"All!" exclaimed Katherine.

"All!" echoed Alice, in tones of horror, "If, then, you know all, you
must know his desperate courage, and powerful hand, when opposed--yield
in quiet, and he will not harm ye. Believe me, believe one who knows his
very nature, that no lamb can be more gentle than he would be with
unresisting women; nor any lion more fierce, with his enemies!"

"As we happen not to be of the feminine gender," returned
Borroughcliffe, with an air somewhat splenetic, "we must abide the fury
of the king of beasts. His paw is, even now, at the outer door; and, if
my orders have been obeyed, his entrance will be yet easier than that of
the wolf to the respectable female ancestor of the little Red-riding-
hood."

"Stay your hand for one single moment!" said Katherine, breathless with
interest; "you are the master of my secret, Captain Borroughcliffe, and
bloodshed may be the consequence. I can yet go forward, and, perhaps,
save many inestimable lives. Pledge to me your honor, that they who come
hither as your enemies, this night, shall depart in peace, and I will
pledge to you my life for the safety of the abbey,"

"Oh! hear her, and shed not human blood!" cried Cecilla.

A loud crash interrupted further speech, and the sounds of heavy
footsteps were heard in the adjoining room, as if many men were
alighting on its floor, in quick succession. Borroughcliffe drew back,
with great coolness, to the opposite side of the large apartment, and
took a sheathed sword from the table where it had been placed; at the
same moment the door was burst open, and Barnstable entered alone, but
heavily armed.

"You are my prisoners, gentlemen," said the sailor, as he advanced;
"resistance is useless, and without it you shall receive favor. Ha, Miss
Plowden! my advice was that you should not be present at this scene."

"Barnstable, we are betrayed!" cried the agitated Katherine. "But it is
not yet too late. Blood has not yet been spilt, and you can retire,
without that dreadful alternative, with honor. Go, then, delay not
another moment; for should the soldiers of Captain Borroughcliffe come
to the rescue of their commander, the abbey would be a scene of horror!"

"Go you away; go, Katherine," said her lover, with impatience; "this is
no place for such as you. But, Captain Borroughcliffe, if such be your
name, you must perceive that resistance is in vain. I have ten good
pikes in this outer room, in twenty better hands, and it will be madness
to fight against such odds."

"Show me your strength," said the captain, "that I may take counsel with
mine honor."

"Your honor shall be appeased, my brave soldier, for such is your
bearing, though your livery is my aversion, and your cause most unholy!
Heave ahead, boys! but hold your hands for orders."

The party of fierce-looking sailors whom Barnstable led, on receiving
this order, rushed into the room in a medley; but, notwithstanding the
surly glances, and savage characters of their dress and equipments, they
struck no blow, nor committed any act of hostility. The ladies shrank
back appalled, as this terrific little band took possession of the hall;
and even Borroughcliffe was seen to fall back towards a door which, in
some measure, covered his retreat. The confusion of this sudden movement
had not yet subsided, when sounds of strife were heard rapidly
approaching from a distant part of the building, and presently one of
the numerous doors of the apartment was violently opened, when two of
the garrison of the abbey rushed into the hall, vigorously pressed by
twice their number of seamen, seconded by Griffith, Manual, and Merry,
who were armed with such weapons of offence as had presented themselves
to their hands, at their unexpected liberation. There was a movement on
the part of the seamen who were already in possession of the room, that
threatened instant death to the fugitives; but Barnstable beat down
their pikes with his sword, and sternly ordered them to fall back.
Surprise produced the same pacific result among the combatants; and as
the soldiers hastily sought a refuge behind their own officers, and the
released captives, with their liberators, joined the body of their
friends, the quiet of the hall, which had been so rudely interrupted,
was soon restored.

"You see, sir," said Barnstable, after grasping the hands of Griffith
and Manual in a warm and cordial pressure, "that all my plans have
succeeded. Your sleeping guard are closely watched in their barracks by
one party; our officers are released and your sentinels cut off by
another; while, with a third, I hold the centre of the abbey, and am,
substantially, in possession of your own person. In consideration,
therefore, of what is due to humanity, and to the presence of these
ladies, let there be no struggle! I shall impose no difficult terms, nor
any long imprisonment."

The recruiting officer manifested a composure throughout the whole scene
that would have excited some uneasiness in his invaders, had there been
opportunity for minute observation; but his countenance now gradually
assumed an appearance of anxiety, and his head was frequently turned, as
if listening for further and more important interruptions. He answered,
however, to this appeal with his ordinary deliberation.

"You speak of conquests, sir, before they are achieved. My venerable
host and myself are not so defenceless as you may chose to imagine."
While speaking he threw aside the cloth of a side table, from beneath
which the colonel and himself were instantly armed with a brace of
pistols each. "Here are the death-warrants of four of your party, and
these brave fellows at my back can account for two more. I believe, my
transatlantic warrior, that we are now something in the condition of
Cortes and the Mexicans, when the former overran part of your continent
--I being Cortes, armed with artificial thunder and lightning, and you
the Indians, with nothing but your pikes and sling, and such other
antediluvian inventions. Shipwrecks and seawater are fatal dampers of
gunpowder!"

"That we are unprovided with firearms, I will not deny," said
Barnstable; "but we are men who are used, from infancy, to depend on our
good right arms for life and safety, and we know how to use them, though
we should even grapple with death! As for the trifles in your hands,
gentlemen, you are not to suppose that men who are trained to look in at
one end of a thirty-two pounder, loaded with grape, while the match is
put to the other, will so much as wink at their report, though you fired
them by fifties. What say you, boys, is a pistol a weapon to repel
boarders?"

The discordant and disdainful laughs that burst from the restrained
seamen were a sufficient pledge of their indifference to so trifling a
danger. Borroughcliffe noted their hardened boldness, and taking the
supper bell, which was lying near him, he rang it, for a minute, with
great violence. The heavy tread of trained footsteps soon followed this
extraordinary summons; and presently the several doors of the apartment
were opened, and filled with armed soldiers, wearing the livery of the
English crown.

"If you hold these smaller weapons in such vast contempt," said the
recruiting officer, when he perceived that his men had possessed
themselves of all the avenues, "it is in my power to try the virtue of
some more formidable. After this exhibition of my strength, gentlemen, I
presume you cannot hesitate to submit as prisoners of war."

The seamen had been formed in something like military array, by the
assiduity of Manual, during the preceding dialogue; and as the different
doors had discovered fresh accessions to the strength of the enemy, the
marine industriously offered new fronts, until the small party was
completely arranged in a hollow square, that might have proved
formidable in a charge, bristled as it was with the deadly pikes of the
Ariel.

"Here has been some mistake," said Griffith, after glancing his eye at
the formidable array of the soldiers; "I take precedence of Mr.
Barnstable, and I shall propose to you, Captain Borroughcliffe, terms
that may remove this scene of strife from the dwelling of Colonel
Howard."

"The dwelling of Colonel Howard," cried the veteran, "is the dwelling of
his king, or of the meanest servant of the crown! so, Borroughcliffe,
spare not the traitors on my behalf; accept no other terms than such
unconditional submission as is meet to exact from the rebellious
subjects of the anointed of the Lord."

While Griffith spoke, Barnstable folded his arms, in affected composure,
and glanced his eyes expressively at the shivering Katherine, who, with
her companions, still continued agitated spectators of all that passed,
chained to the spot by their apprehensions; but to this formidable
denunciation of the master of the abbey he deemed proper to reply:

"Now, by every hope I have of sleeping again on salt water, old
gentleman if it were not for the presence of these three trembling
females, I should feel tempted to dispute, at once, the title of his
majesty. You may make such a covenant as you will with Mr. Griffith, but
if it contain one syllable about submission to your king, or of any
other allegiance than that which I owe to the Continental Congress, and
the State of Massachusetts, you may as well consider the terms violated
at once; for not an article of such an agreement will I consider as
binding on me, or on any that shall choose to follow me as leader."

"Here are but two leaders, Mr. Barnstable," interrupted the haughty
Griffith; "the one of the enemy, and the other of the arms of America.
Captain Borroughclffe, to you, as the former, I address myself. The
great objects of the contest which now unhappily divides England from
her ancient colonies can be, in no degree, affected by the events of
this night; while, on the other hand, by a rigid adherence to military
notions, much private, evil and deep domestic calamity must follow any
struggle in such a place. We have but to speak, sir, and these rude men,
who already stand impatiently handling their instruments of death, will
aim them at each other's lives; and who can say that he shall be able to
stay their hands when and where he will. I know you to be a soldier, and
that you are not yet to learn how much easier it is to stimulate to
blood than to glut vengeance."

Borroughcliffe, unused to the admission of violent emotions, and secure
in the superiority of his own party, both in numbers and equipments,
heard him with the coolest composure to the end, and then answered in
his customary manner:

"I honor your logic, sir. Your premises are indisputable, and the
conclusion most obvious. Commit then these worthy tars to the good
keeping of honest Drill, who will see their famished natures revived by
divers eatables and a due proportion of suitable fluids; while we can
discuss the manner in which you are to return to the colonies, around a
bottle of liquor, which my friend Manual there assures me has come from
the sunny side of the island of Madeira, to be drunk in a bleak corner
of that of Britain. By my palate! but the rascals brighten at the
thought. They know by instinct, sir, that a shipwrecked mariner is a
fitter companion to a ration of beef and a pot of porter than to such
unsightly things as bayonets and boarding-pikes!"

"Trifle, not unseasonably!" exclaimed the impatient young sailor. "You
have the odds in numbers, but whether it will avail you much in a deadly
struggle of hand to hand, is a question you must put to your prudence:
we stand not here to ask terms, but to grant them. You must be brief,
sir; for the time is wasting while we delay."

"I have offered to you the means of obtaining, in perfection, the
enjoyment of the three most ancient of the numerous family of the arts--
eating, drinking, and sleeping! What more do you require?"

"That you order these men, who fill the pass to the outer door, to fall
back and give us room. I would take, in peace, these armed men from
before the eyes of those who are unused to such sights. Before you
oppose this demand, think how easily these hardy fellows could make a
way for themselves, against your divided force."

"Your companion, the experienced Captain Manual, will tell you that such
a manoeuvre would be very unmilitary with a superior body in your rear!"

"I have not leisure, sir, for this folly," cried the indignant Griffith.
"Do you refuse us an unmolested retreat from the abbey?"

"I do."

Griffith turned with a look of extreme emotion to the ladies, and
beckoned to them to retire, unable to give utterance to his wishes in
words. After a moment of deep silence, however, he once more addressed
Borroughcliffe in the tones of conciliation.

"If Manual and myself will return to our prisons, and submit to the will
of your government," he said, "can the rest of the party return to the
frigate unmolested?"

"They cannot," replied the soldier, who, perceiving that the crisis
approached, was gradually losing his artificial deportment in the
interest of the moment. "You, and all others who willingly invade the
peace of these realms, must abide the issue!"

"Then God protect the innocent and defend the right!"

"Amen."

"Give way, villains!" cried Griffith, facing the party that held the
outer door; "give way, or you shall be riddled with our pikes!"

"Show them your muzzles, men!" shouted Borroughcliffe, "but pull no
trigger till they advance."

There was an instant of bustle and preparation, in which the rattling of
firearms blended with the suppressed execrations and threats of the
intended combatants; and Cecilia and Katherine had both covered their
faces to veil the horrid sight that was momentarily expected, when Alice
Dunscombe advanced, boldly, between the points of the threatening
weapons, and spoke in a voice that stayed the hands that were already
uplifted.

"Hear me, men! if men ye be, and not demons, thirsting for each other's
blood; though ye walk abroad in the semblance of Him who died that ye
might be elevated to the rank of angels! Call ye this war? Is this the
glory that is made to warm the hearts of even silly and confiding women?
Is the peace of families to be destroyed to gratify your wicked lust for
conquest, and is life to be taken in vain, in order that ye may boast of
the foul deed in your wicked revels? Fall back, then, ye British
soldiers! if ye be worthy of that name, and give passage to a woman; and
remember that the first shot that is fired will be buried in her bosom!"

The men, thus enjoined, shrank before her commanding mien, and a way was
made for her exit through that very door which Griffith had, in vain,
solicited might be cleared for himself and party. But Alice, instead of
advancing, appeared to have suddenly lost the use of those faculties
which had already effected so much. Her figure seemed rooted to the spot
where she had spoken, and her eyes were fixed in a Settled gaze, as if
dwelling on some horrid object, While she yet stood in this attitude of
unconscious helplessness, the doorway became again darkened, and the
figure of the Pilot was seen on its threshold, clad, as usual, in the
humble vestments of his profession, but heavily armed with the weapons
of naval war. For an instant, he stood a silent spectator of the scene;
and then advanced calmly, but with searching eyes, into the centre of
the apartment.




CHAPTER XXIX.

  "_Don Pedro_. Welcome, Signior: you are almost come to part almost a fray."
  _Much Ado About Nothing._


"Down with your arms, you Englishmen!" said the daring intruder; "and
you, who fight in the cause of sacred liberty, stay your hands, that no
unnecessary blood may flow. Yield yourself, proud Briton, to the power
of the Thirteen Republics!"

"Ha!" exclaimed Borroughcliffe, grasping a pistol, with an air of great
resolution, "the work thickens--I had not included this man in my
estimate of their numbers. Is he a Samson, that his single arm can
change the face of things so suddenly! Down with your own weapon, you
masquerader! or, at the report of this pistol, your body shall be made a
target for twenty bullets."

"And thine for a hundred!" returned the Pilot.--"Without there! wind
your call, fellow, and bring in our numbers. We will let this confident
gentleman feel his weakness."

He had not done speaking, before the shrill whistle of a boatswain rose
gradually on the ears of the listeners, until the sense of hearing
became painfully oppressed by the piercing sounds that rang under the
arched roof of the hall, and penetrated even to the most distant
recesses of the abbey. A tremendous rush of men followed, who drove in
before them the terrified fragment of Borroughcliffe's command, that had
held the vestibule; and the outer room became filled with a dark mass of
human bodies.

"Let them hear ye, lads!" cried their leader; "the abbey is your own!"

The roaring of a tempest was not louder than the shout that burst from
his followers, who continued their cheers, peal on peal, until the very
roof of the edifice appeared to tremble with their vibrations. Numerous
dark and shaggy heads were seen moving around the passage; some cased in
the iron-bound caps of the frigate's boarders, and others glittering
with the brazen ornaments of her marine guard. The sight of the latter
did not fail to attract the eye of Manual, who rushed among the throng,
and soon reappeared, followed by a trusty band of his own men, who took
possession of the post held by the soldiers of Borroughcliffe, while the
dialogue was continued between the leaders of the adverse parties.

Thus far Colonel Howard had yielded to his guest, with a deep reverence
for the principles of military subordination, the functions of a
commander; but, now that affairs appeared to change so materially, he
took on himself the right to question these intruders into his dwelling.

"By what authority, sir," the colonel demanded, "is it that you dare
thus to invade the castle of a subject of this realm? Do you come
backed by the commission of the lord lieutenant of the county, or has
your warrant the signature of his majesty's secretary for the home
department?"

"I bear no commission from any quarter," returned the Pilot; "I rank
only an humble follower of the friends of America; and having led these
gentlemen into danger, I have thought it my duty to see them extricated.
They are now safe; and the right to command all that hear me rests with
Mr. Griffith, who is commissioned by the Continental Congress for such
service."

When he had spoken, he fell back from the position he occupied in the
centre of the room, to one of its sides, where, leaning his body against
the wainscot, he stood a silent observer of what followed.

"It appears, then, that it is to you, degenerate son of a most worthy
father, that I must repeat my demand," continued the veteran. "By what
right is my dwelling thus rudely assailed? and why is my quiet and the
peace of those I protect so daringly violated?"

"I might answer you, Colonel Howard, by saying that it is according to
the laws of arms, or rather in retaliation for the thousand evils that
your English troops have inflicted between Maine and Georgia; but I wish
not to increase the unpleasant character of this scene, and I therefore
will tell you that our advantage shall be used with moderation. The
instant that our men can be collected, and our prisoners properly
secured, your dwelling shall be restored to your authority. We are no
freebooters, sir; and you will find it so after our departure. Captain
Manual, draw off your guard into the grounds, and make your dispositions
for a return march to our boats--let the boarders fall back, there! out
with ye! out with ye--tumble out, you boarders!"

The amicable order of the young lieutenant, which was delivered after
the stern, quick fashion of his profession, operated on the cluster of
dark figures that were grouped around the door like a charm; and as the
men whom Barnstable had led followed their shipmates into the courtyard,
the room was now left to such only as might be termed the gentlemen of
the invading party, and the family of Colonel Howard.

Barnstable had continued silent since his senior officer had assumed the
command, listening most attentively to each syllable that fell from
either side; but now that so few remained, and the time pressed, he
spoke again:

"If we are to take boat so soon, Mr. Griffith, it would be seemly that
due preparations should be made to receive the ladies, who are to honor
us with their presence; shall I take that duty on myself?"

The abrupt proposal produced a universal surprise in his hearers; though
the abashed and conscious expression of Katherine Plowden's features
sufficiently indicated that to her, at least, it was not altogether
unexpected. The long silence that succeeded the question was interrupted
by Colonel Howard.

"Ye are masters, gentlemen; help yourselves to whatever best suits your
inclinations. My dwelling, my goods, and my wards, are alike at your
disposal--or, perhaps Miss Alice here, good and kind Miss Alice
Dunscombe, may suit the taste of some among ye! Ah! Edward Griffith!
Edward Griffith! little did I ever--"

"Breathe not that name in levity again, thou scoffer, or even your years
may prove a feeble protection!" said a stern, startling voice from
behind. All eyes turned involuntarily at the unexpected sounds, and the
muscular form of the Pilot was seen resuming its attitude of repose
against the wall, though every fibre of his frame was working with
suppressed passion.

When the astonished looks of Griffith ceased to dwell on this
extraordinary exhibition of interest in his companion, they were turned
imploringly towards the fair cousins, who still occupied the distant
corner, whither fear had impelled them.

"I have said that we are not midnight marauders, Colonel Howard," he
replied: "but if any there be here, who will deign to commit themselves
to our keeping, I trust it will not be necessary to say, at this hour,
what will be their reception."

"We have not time for unnecessary compliments," cried the impatient
Barnstable; "here is Merry, who, by years and blood, is a suitable
assistant for them, in arranging their little baggage--what say you,
urchin, can you play the lady's maid on emergency?"

"Ay, sir, and better than I acted the peddler boy," cried the gay
youngster; "to have my merry cousin Kate and my good cousin Cicely for
shipmates, I could play our common grandmother! Come, coz, let us be
moving; you will have to allow a little leeway in time, for my
awkwardness."

"Stand back, young man," said Miss Howard, repulsing his familiar
attempt to take her arm; and then advancing, with a maidenly dignity,
nigher to her guardian, she continued, "I cannot know what stipulations
have been agreed to by my cousin Plowden, in the secret treaty she has
made this night with Mr. Barnstable: this for myself, Colonel Howard, I
would have you credit your brother's child when she says, that to her,
the events of the hour have not been more unexpected than to yourself."

The veteran gazed at her, for a moment, with an expression of his eye
that denoted reviving tenderness; but gloomy doubts appeared to cross
his mind again, and he shook his head, as he walked proudly away.

"Nay, then," added Cecilia, her head dropping meekly on her bosom, "I
may be discredited by my uncle, but I cannot be disgraced without some
act of my own."

She slowly raised her mild countenance again, and bending her eyes on
her lover, she continued, while a rich rush of blood passed over her
fine features:

"Edward Griffith, I will not, I cannot say how humiliating it is to
think that you can, for an instant, believe I would again forget myself
so much as to wish to desert him whom God has given me for a protector,
for one chosen by my own erring passions. And you, Andrew Merry! Learn
to respect the child of your mother's sister, if not for her own sake,
at least for that of her who watched your cradle!"

"Here appears to be some mistake." said Barnstable, who participated,
however, in no trifling degree, in the embarrassment of the abashed boy;
"but, like all other mistakes on such subjects, it can be explained
away, I suppose. Mr. Griffith, it remains for you to speak--damn it,
man," he whispered, "you are as dumb as a codfish--I am sure so fine a
woman is worth a little fair-weather talk:--you are muter than a four-
footed beast--even an ass can bray!"

"We will hasten our departure, Mr. Barnstable," said Griffith, sighing
heavily, and rousing himself, as if from a trance. "These rude sights
cannot but appall the ladies. You will please, sir, to direct the order
of our march to the shore. Captain Manual has charge of our prisoners,
who must all be secured, to answer for an equal number of our own
countrymen."

"And our countrywomen!" said Barnstable, "are they to be forgotten, in
the selfish recollection of our own security?"

"With them we have no right to interfere, unless at their request."

"By heaven! Mr. Griffith, this may smack of learning," cried the other,
"and it may plead bookish authority as its precedent; but let me tell
you, sir, it savors but little of a sailor's love."

"Is it unworthy of a seaman, and a gentleman, to permit the woman he
calls his mistress to be so, other than in name?"

"Well, then, Griff, I pity you, from my soul. I would rather have had a
sharp struggle for the happiness that I shall now obtain so easily, than
that you should be thus cruelly disappointed. But you cannot blame me,
my friend, that I avail myself of fortune's favor. Miss Plowden, your
fair hand. Colonel Howard, I return you a thousand thanks for the care
you have taken, hitherto, of this precious charge; and believe me, sir,
that I speak frankly, when I say, that, next to myself, I should choose
to entrust her with you in preference to any man on earth."

The colonel turned to the speaker, and bowed low, while he answered with
grave courtesy:

"Sir, you repay my slight services with too much gratitude. If Miss
Katherine Plowden has not become under my guardianship all that her good
father, Captain John Plowden, of the Royal Navy, could have wished a
daughter of his to be, the fault, unquestionably, is to be attributed to
my inability to instruct, and to no inherent quality in the young lady
herself. I will not say, Take her, sir, since you have her in your
possession already, and it would be out of my power to alter the
arrangement; therefore, I can only wish that you may find her as dutiful
as a wife as she has been, hitherto, as a ward and a subject."

Katherine had yielded her hand, passively, to her lover, and suffered
him to lead her more into the circle than she had before been; but now
she threw off his arm, and shaking aside the dark curls which she had
rather invited to fall in disorder around her brow, she raised her face
and looked proudly up, with an eye that sparkled with the spirit of its
mistress, and a face that grew pale with emotion at each moment, as she
proceeded:

"Gentlemen, the one may be as ready to receive as the other is to
reject; but has the daughter of John Plowden no voice in this cool
disposal of her person? If her guardian tires of her presence, other
habitations may be found, without inflicting so severe a penalty on this
gentleman as to compel him to provide for her accommodation in a vessel
which must be already straitened for room!"

She turned, and rejoined her cousin with such an air of maidenly
resentment as a young woman would be apt to discover, who found herself
the subject of matrimonial arrangement without her own feelings being at
all consulted. Barnstable, who knew but little of the windings of the
female heart, or how necessary to his mistress, notwithstanding her
previous declarations, the countenance of Cecilia, was to any decided
and open act in his favor, stood in stupid wonder at her declaration. He
could not conceive that a woman who had already ventured so much in
secret in his behalf, and who had so often avowed her weakness, should
shrink to declare it again at such a crisis, though the eyes of a
universe were on her! He looked from one of the party to the other, and
met in every face an expression of delicate reserve, except in those of
the guardian of his mistress, and of Borroughcliffe.

The colonel had given a glance of returning favor at her whom he now
conceived to be his repentant ward, while the countenance of the
entrapped captain exhibited a look of droll surprise, blended with the
expression of bitter ferocity it had manifested since the discovery of
his own mishap.

"Perhaps, sir," said Barnstable, addressing the latter, fiercely, "you
see something amusing about the person of this lady, to divert you thus
unseasonably. We tolerate no such treatment of our women in America!"

"Nor do we quarrel before ours in England," returned the soldier,
throwing back the fierce glance of the sailor with interest; "but I was
thinking of the revolutions that time can produce; nothing more, I do
assure you. It is not half an hour since I thought myself a most happy
fellow; secure in my plans for overreaching the scheme you had laid to
surprise me; and now I am as miserable a dog as wears a single
epaulette, and has no hope of seeing its fellow!"

"And in what manner, sir, can this sudden change apply to me?" asked
Katherine, with all her spirit.

"Certainly not to your perseverance in the project to assist my enemies,
madam," returned the soldier, with affected humility; "nor to your zeal
for their success, or your consummate coolness at the supper-table! But
I find it is time that I should be superannuated--I can no longer serve
my king with credit, and should take to serving my God, like all other
worn-out men of the world! My hearing is surely defective, or a paddock-
wall has a most magical effect in determining sounds!"

Katherine waited not to hear the close of this sentence, but walked to a
distant part of the room to conceal the burning blushes that covered her
countenance. The manner in which the plans of Barnstable had become
known to his foe was no longer a mystery. Her conscience also reproached
her a little with some unnecessary coquetry, as she remembered that
quite one-half of the dialogue between her lover and herself, under the
shadow of that very wall to which Borroughcliffe alluded, had been on a
subject altogether foreign to contention and tumults. As the feelings of
Barnstable were by no means so sensitive as those of his mistress, and
his thoughts much occupied with the means of attaining his object, he
did not so readily comprehend the indirect allusion of the soldier, but
turned abruptly away to Griffith, and observed with a serious air:

"I feel it my duty, Mr. Griffith, to suggest that we have standing
instructions to secure all the enemies of America, wherever they may be
found, and to remind you that the States have not hesitated to make
prisoners of females in many instances."

"Bravo!" cried Borroughcliffe; "if the ladies will not go as your
mistresses, take them as your captives!"

"'Tis well for you, sir, that you are a captive yourself, or you should
be made to answer for this speech," retorted the irritated Barnstable.
"It is a responsible command, Mr. Griffith, and must not be
disregarded."

"To your duty, Mr. Barnstable," said Griffith, again rousing from deep
abstraction; "you have your orders, sir; let them be executed promptly."

"I have also the orders of our common superior, Captain Munson, Mr.
Griffith; and I do assure you, sir, that in making out my instructions
for the Ariel--poor thing! there are no two of her timbers hanging
together--but my instructions were decidedly particular on that head."

"And my orders now supersede them."

"But am I justifiable in obeying a verbal order from an inferior, in
direct opposition to a written instruction?"

Griffith had hitherto manifested in his deportment nothing more than a
cold determination to act, but the blood now flew to every vessel in his
cheeks and forehead, and his dark eyes flashed fire, as he cried
authoritatively:

"How, sir! do you hesitate to obey?"

"By heaven, sir, I would dispute the command of the Continental Congress
itself, should they bid me so far to forget my duty to--to--"

"Add yourself, sir!--Mr. Barnstable, let this be the last of it. To your
duty, sir."

"My duty calls me here, Mr. Griffith."

"I must act, then, or be bearded by my own officers. Mr. Merry, direct
Captain Manual to send in a sergeant and a file of marines."

"Bid him come on himself!" cried Barnstable, maddened to desperation by
his disappointment; "'tis not his whole corps that can disarm me--let
them come on! Hear, there, you Ariels! rally around your captain."

"The man among them who dares to cross that threshold without my order,
dies," cried Griffith, menacing with a naked hanger the seamen who had
promptly advanced at the call of their old commander. "Yield your sword,
Mr. Barnstable, and spare yourself the disgrace of having it forced from
you by a common soldier."

"Let me see the dog who dare attempt it!" exclaimed Barnstable,
flourishing his weapon in fierce anger. Griffith had extended his own
arm in the earnestness of his feelings, and their hangers crossed each
other. The clashing of the steel operated on both like the sound of the
clarion on a war-horse, and there were sudden and rapid blows, and as
rapid parries, exchanged between the flashing weapons.

"Barnstable! Barnstable!" cried Katherine, rushing into his arms, "I
will go with you to the ends of the earth!"

Cecilia Howard did not speak; but when Griffith recovered his coolness,
he beheld her beautiful form kneeling at his feet, with her pale face
bent imploringly on his own disturbed countenance. The cry of Miss
Plowden had separated the combatants, before an opportunity for shedding
blood had been afforded; but the young men exchanged looks of keen
resentment, notwithstanding the interference of their mistresses. At
this moment Colonel Howard advanced, and raising his niece from her
humble posture, said:

"This is not a situation for a child of Harry Howard, though she knelt
in the presence, and before the throne, of her sovereign. Behold, my
dear Cecilia, the natural consequences of this rebellion! It scatters
discord in their ranks; and, by its damnable leveling principles,
destroys all distinction of rank among themselves; even these rash boys
know not where obedience is due!"

"It is due to me," said the Pilot, who now stepped forward among the
agitated group, "and it is time that I enforce it. Mr. Griffith, sheathe
your sword. And you, sir, who have defied the authority of your senior
officer, and have forgotten the obligation of your oath, submit, and
return to your duty."

Griffith started at the sounds of his calm voice, as if with sudden
recollection; and then, bowing low, he returned the weapon to its
scabbard. But Barnstable still encircled the waist of his mistress with
one arm, while with the other he brandished his hanger, and laughed with
scorn at this extraordinary assumption of authority.

"And who is this," he cried, "who dare give such an order to me!"

The eyes of the Pilot flashed with a terrible fire, while a fierce glow
seemed to be creeping over his whole frame, which actually quivered with
passion. But, suppressing this exhibition of his feelings, by a sudden
and powerful effort, he answered in an emphatic manner:

"One who has a right to order, and who _will_ be obeyed!"

The extraordinary manner of the speaker contributed as much as his
singular assertion to induce Barnstable, in his surprise, to lower the
point of his weapon, with an air that might easily have been mistaken
for submission. The Pilot fastened his glowing eyes on him, for an
instant, and then turning to the rest of the listeners, he continued
more mildly:

"It is true that we came not here as marauders, and that our wish is to
do no unnecessary acts of severity to the aged and the helpless. But
this officer of the crown, and this truant American in particular, are
fairly our prisoners; as such, they must be conducted on board our
ship."

"But the main object of our expedition?" said Griffith.

"'Tis lost," returned the Pilot, hastily--"'tis sacrificed to more
private feelings; 'tis like a hundred others, ended in disappointment,
and is forgotten, sir, forever. But the interests of the Republics must
not be neglected, Mr. Griffith.--Though we are not madly to endanger the
lives of those gallant fellows, to gain a love-smile from one young
beauty, neither are we to forget the advantages they may have obtained
for us, in order to procure one of approbation from another. This
Colonel Howard will answer well in a bargain with the minions of the
Crown, and may purchase the freedom of some worthy patriot who is
deserving of his liberty. Nay, nay, suppress that haughty look, and turn
that proud eye on any, rather than me; he goes to the frigate, sir, and
that immediately."

"Then," said Cecilia Howard, timidly approaching the spot where her
uncle stood, a disdainful witness of the dissensions among his captors;
"then will I go with him! He shall never be a resident among his enemies
alone!"

"It would be more ingenuous, and more worthy of my brother's daughter,"
said her uncle, coldly, "if she ascribed her willingness to depart to
its proper motive." Disregarding the look of deep distress with which
Cecilia received this mortifying rejection of her tender attention, the
old man on receiving this order, rushed into the room in a medley; but,
notwithstanding the surly glances, and savage characters of their dress
and equipments, they struck no blow, nor committed any act of hostility.
The ladies shrank back appalled, as this terrific little band took
possession of the hall; and even Borroughcliffe was seen to fall back
towards a door which, in some measure, covered his retreat. The
confusion of this sudden movement had not yet subsided, when sounds of
strife were heard rapidly approaching from a distant part of the
building, and presently one of the numerous doors of the apartment was
violently opened, when two of the garrison of the abbey rushed into the
hall, vigorously pressed by twice their number of seamen, seconded by
Griffith, Manual, and Merry, who were armed with such weapons of offence
as had presented themselves to their hands, at their unexpected
liberation. There was a movement on the part of the seamen who were
already in possession of the room, that threatened instant death to the
fugitives; but Barnstable beat down their pikes with his sword, and
sternly ordered them to fall back. Surprise produced the same pacific
result among the combatants; and as the soldiers hastily sought a refuge
behind their own officers, and the released captives, with their
liberators, joined the body of their friends, the quiet of the hall,
which had been so rudely interrupted, was soon restored.

"You see, sir," said Barnstable, after grasping the hands of Griffith
and Manual in a warm and cordial pressure, "that all my plans have
succeeded. Your sleeping guard are closely watched in their barracks by
one party; our officers are released and your sentinels cut off by
another; while, with a third, I hold the centre of the abbey, and am,
substantially, in possession of your own person. In consideration,
therefore, of what is due to humanity, and to the presence of these
ladies, let there be no struggle. I shall impose no difficult terms, nor
any long imprisonment."

The recruiting officer manifested a composure throughout it, and the
latter laughing, and indulging those buoyant spirits that a boy of his
years and reflection might be supposed to feel even in such a scene. It
was fortunate for her cousin that Katherine had possessed so much
forethought; for the attention of Cecilia Howard was directed much more
to the comforts of her uncle than to those which were necessary for
herself. Attended by Alice Dunscombe, the young mistress of St. Ruth
moved through the solitary apartments of the building, listening to the
mild religious consolation of her companion in silence, at times
yielding to those bursts of mortified feeling, that she could not
repress, or again as calmly giving her orders to her maids, as if the
intended movement was one of but ordinary interest. All this time the
party in the dining-hall remained stationary. The Pilot, as if satisfied
with what he had already done, sank back to his reclining attitude
against the wall, though his eyes keenly watched every movement of the
preparations, in a manner which denoted that his was the master spirit
that directed the whole. Griffith had, however, resumed, in appearance,
the command, and the busy seamen addressed themselves for orders to him
alone. In this manner an hour was consumed, when Cecilia and Katherine
appearing in succession attired in a suitable manner for their
departure, and the baggage of the whole party having been already
entrusted to a petty officer and a party of his men, Griffith gave forth
the customary order to put the whole in motion. The shrill, piercing
whistle of the boatswain once more rang among the galleries and ceilings
of the abbey, and was followed by the deep, hoarse cry of:

"Away, there, you shore-draft! away, there, you boarders! ahead, heave
ahead, sea-dogs!"

This extraordinary summons was succeeded by the roll of a drum and the
strains of a fife, from without, when the whole party moved from the
building in the order that had been previously prescribed by Captain
Manual, who acted as the marshal of the forces on the occasion.

The Pilot had conducted his surprise with so much skill and secrecy as
to have secured every individual about the abbey, whether male or
female, soldier or civilian; and as it might be dangerous to leave any
behind who could convey intelligence into the country, Griffith had
ordered that every human being found in the building should be conducted
to the cliffs; to be held in durance at least until the departure of the
last boat to the cutter, which, he was informed, lay close in to the
land, awaiting their re-embarkation. The hurry of the departure had
caused many lights to be kindled in the abbey, and the contrast between
the glare within and the gloom without attracted the wandering looks of
the captives, as they issued into the paddock. One of those indefinable
and unaccountable feelings which so often cross the human mind induced
Cecilia to pause at the great gate of the grounds, and look back at the
abbey, with a presentiment that she was to behold it for the last time.
The dark and ragged outline of the edifice was clearly delineated
against the northern sky, while the open windows and neglected doors
permitted a view of the solitude within. Twenty tapers were shedding
their useless light in the empty apartments, as if in mockery of the
deserted walls; and Cecilia turned shuddering from the sight, to press
nigher to the person of her indignant uncle, with a secret impression
that her presence would soon be more necessary than ever to his
happiness.

The low hum of voices in front, with the occasional strains of the fife,
and the stern mandates of the sea-officers, soon recalled her, however,
from these visionary thoughts to the surrounding realities, while the
whole party pursued their way with diligence to the margin of the ocean.




CHAPTER XXX.

  "A chieftain to the Highlands bound
    Cries, 'Boatman, do not tarry!
  And I'll give thee a silver pound,
    To row us o'er the ferry.'"
  _Lord Ullin's Daughter_.


The sky had been without a cloud during the day, the gale having been
dry and piercing, and thousands of stars were now shining through a
chill atmosphere. As the eye, therefore, became accustomed to the change
of light, it obtained a more distinct view of surrounding objects. At
the head of the line that was stretched along the narrow pathway marched
a platoon of the marines, who maintained the regular and steady front of
trained warriors. They were followed at some little distance by a large
and confused body of seamen, heavily armed, whose disposition to
disorder and rude merriment, which became more violent from their
treading on solid ground, was with difficulty restrained by the presence
and severe rebukes of their own officers. In the centre of this confused
mass the whole of the common prisoners were placed, but were not
otherwise attended to by their nautical guard than as they furnished the
subjects of fun and numberless quaint jokes. At some distance in their
rear marched Colonel Howard and Borroughcliffe, arm in arm, both
maintaining the most rigid and dignified silence, though under the
influence of very bitter feelings. Behind these again, and pressing as
nigh as possible to her uncle, was Miss Howard, leaning on the arm of
Alice Dunscombe, and surrounded by the female domestics of the
establishment of St. Ruth. Katherine Plowden moved lightly, by herself,
in the shadow of this group, with elastic steps but with a maiden
coyness that taught her to veil her satisfaction with the semblance of
captivity. Barnstable watched her movements with delight, within six
feet of her, but submitted to the air of caprice in his mistress, which
seemed to require that he should come no nearer. Griffith, avoiding the
direct line of the party, walked on its skirts in such a situation that
his eye could command its whole extent, in order, if necessary, to
direct the movements. Another body of the marines marched at the close
of the procession, and Manual, in person, brought up the rear. The music
had ceased by command, and nothing was now audible but the regular tread
of the soldiers, with the sighs of the dying gale, interrupted
occasionally by the voice of an officer, or the hum of low dialogue.

"This has been a Scotch prize that we've taken," muttered a surly old
seaman; "a ship without head-money or cargo! There was kitchen-timber
enough in the old jug of a place to have given an outfit in crockery and
knee-buckles to every lad in the ship; but, no! let a man's mouth water
ever so much for food and raiment, damme, if the officers would give him
leave to steal even so good a thing as a spare Bible."

"You may say all that, and then make but a short yarn of the truth,"
returned the messmate who walked by his side: "if there had been such a
thing as a ready-made prayer handy, they would have choused a poor
fellow out of the use of it.--I say, Ben, I'll tell ye what; it's my
opinion that if a chap is to turn soldier and carry a musket, he should
have soldier's play, and leave to plunder a little--now the devil a
thing have I laid my hands on to-night, except this firelock and my
cutlash--unless you can call this bit of a table-cloth something of a
windfall."

"Ay! you have fallen in there with a fresh bolt of duck, I see!" said
the other, in manifest admiration of the texture of his companion's
prize--"why, it would spread as broad a clew as our mizzen-royal, if it
was loosened! Well, your luck hasn't been every man's luck--for my part,
I think this here hat was made for some fellow's great toe: I've rigged
it on my head both fore and aft, and athwart-ships; but curse the inch
can I drive it down--I say, Sam! you'll give us a shirt off that table-
cloth?"

"Ay, ay, you can have one corner of it; or for that matter, ye can take
the full half, Nick; but I don't see that we go off to the ship any
richer than we landed, unless you may muster she-cattle among your
prize-money."

"No richer!" interrupted a waggish young sailor, who had been hitherto a
silent listener to the conversation between his older and more
calculating shipmates; "I think we are set up for a cruise in them seas
where the day watches last six months; don't you see we have caught a
double allowance of midnight!"

While speaking, he laid his hands on the bare and woolly heads of
Colonel Howard's two black slaves, who were moving near him, both
occupied in mournful forebodings on the results that were to flow from
this unexpected loss of their liberty. "Slew your faces this way,
gentlemen," he added; "there; don't you think that a sight to put out
the binnacle lamps? there's darkness visible for ye!"

"Let the niggers alone," grumbled one of the more aged speakers; "what
are ye skylarking with the like of them for? The next thing they'll sing
out, and then you'll hear one of the officers in your wake. For my part,
Nick, I can't see why it is that we keep dodging along shore here, with
less than ten fathoms under us, when, by stretching into the broad
Atlantic, we might fall in with a Jamaicaman every day or two, and have
sugar hogsheads and rum puncheons as plenty aboard us as hard fare is
now."

"It is all owing to that Pilot," returned the other; "for, d'ye see, if
there was no bottom, there would be no pilots. This is dangerous
cruising-ground, where we stretch into five fathoms, and then drop our
lead on a sand-pit or a rock! Besides, they make night-work of it, too!
If we had daylight for fourteen hours instead of seven, a man might
trust to feeling his way for the other ten."

"Now, a'n't ye a couple of old horse-marines!" again interrupted the
young sailor; "don't you see that Congress wants us to cut up Johnny
Bull's coasters, and that old Blow-Hard has found the days too short for
his business, and so he has landed a party to get hold of night. Here we
have him! and when we get off to the ship, we shall put him under
hatches, and then you'll see the face of the sun again! Come, my lilies!
let these two gentlemen look into your cabin windows--what? you won't!
Then I must squeeze your woolen nightcaps for ye!"

The negroes, who had been submitting to his humors with the abject
humility of slavery, now gave certain low intimations that they were
suffering pain, under the rough manipulation of their tormentor.

"What's that!" cried a stern voice, whose boyish tones seemed to mock
the air of authority that was assumed by the speaker--"who's that, I
say, raising that cry among ye?"

The willful young man slowly removed his two hands from the woolly polls
of the slaves, but as he suffered them to fall reluctantly along their
sable temples, he gave the ear of one of the blacks a tweak that caused
him to give vent to another cry, that was uttered with a much greater
confidence of sympathy than before.

"Do ye hear there!" repeated Merry--"who's skylarking with those
negroes?"

"'Tis no one, sir," the sailor answered with affected gravity; "one of
the palefaces has hit his shin against a cobweb, and it has made his
earache!"

"Harkye, you Mr. Jack Joker! how came you in the midst of the
prisoners?--Did not I order you to handle your pike, sir, and to keep in
the outer line?"

"Ay, ay, sir, you did; and I obeyed orders as long as I could; but these
niggers have made the night so dark that I lost my way!"

A low laugh passed through the confused crowd of seamen; and even the
midshipman might have been indulging himself in a similar manner at this
specimen of quaint humor from the fellow, who was one of those licensed
men that are to be found in every ship. At length:

"Well, sir," he said, "you have found out your false reckoning now; so
get you back to the place where I bid you stay."

"Ay, ay, sir, I'm going. By all the blunders in the purser's book, Mr.
Merry, but that cobweb has made one of these niggers shed tears! Do let
me stay to catch a little ink, sir, to write a letter with to my poor
old mother-devil the line has she had from me since we sailed from the
Chesapeake!"

"If ye don't mind me at once, Mr. Jack Joker, I'll lay my cutlass over
your head," returned Merry, his voice now betraying a much greater
sympathy in the sufferings of that abject race, who are still in some
measure, but who formerly were much more, the butts of the unthinking
and licentious among our low countrymen; "then ye can write your letter
in red ink if ye will!"

"I wouldn't do it for the world," said Joker, sneaking away towards his
proper station--"the old lady wouldn't forget the hand, and swear it was
a forgery--I wonder, though, if the breakers on the coast of Guinea be
black! as I've heard old seamen say who have cruised in them latitudes."

His idle levity was suddenly interrupted by a voice that spoke above the
low hum of the march, with an air of authority, and a severity of tone,
that could always quell, by a single word, the most violent ebullition
of merriment in the crew.

The low buzzing sounds of "Ay, there goes Mr. Griffith!" and of "Jack
has woke up the first lieutenant, he had better now go to sleep
himself," were heard passing among the men. But these suppressed
communications soon ceased, and even Jack Joker himself pursued his way
with diligence on the skirts of the party, as mutely as if the power of
speech did not belong to his organization.

The reader has too often accompanied us over the ground between the
abbey and the ocean, to require any description of the route pursued by
the seamen during the preceding characteristic dialogue; and we shall at
once pass to the incidents which occurred on the arrival of the party at
the cliffs. As the man who had so unexpectedly assumed a momentary
authority within St. Ruth had unaccountably disappeared from among them,
Griffith continued to exercise the right of command, without referring
to any other for consultation. He never addressed himself to Barnstable,
and it was apparent that both the haughty young men felt that the tie
which had hitherto united them in such close intimacy was, for the
present at least, entirely severed. Indeed, Griffith was only restrained
by the presence of Cecilia and Katherine from arresting his refractory
inferior on the spot; and Barnstable, who felt all the consciousness of
error, without its proper humility, with difficulty so far repressed his
feelings as to forbear exhibiting in the presence of his mistress such a
manifestation of his spirit as his wounded vanity induced him to imagine
was necessary to his honor. The two, however, acted in harmony on one
subject, though it was without concert or communication. The first
object with both the young men was to secure the embarkation of the fair
cousins; and Barnstable proceeded instantly to the boats, in order to
hasten the preparations that were necessary before they could receive
these unexpected captives: the descent of the Pilot having been made in
such force as to require the use of all the frigate's boats, which were
left riding in the outer edge of the surf, awaiting the return of the
expedition. A loud call from Barnstable gave notice to the officer in
command, and in a few moments the beach was crowded with the busy and
active crews of the "cutters," "launches," "barges," "jolly-boats,"
"pinnaces," or by whatever names the custom of the times attached to the
different attendants of vessels of war. Had the fears of the ladies
themselves been consulted, the frigate's launch would have been selected
for their use, on account of its size; but Barnstable, who would have
thought such a choice on his part humiliating to his guests, ordered the
long, low barge of Captain Munson to be drawn upon the sand, it being
peculiarly the boat of honor. The hands of fifty men were applied to the
task, and it was soon announced to Colonel Howard and his wards that the
little vessel was ready for their reception. Manual had halted on the
summit of the cliffs with the whole body of the marines, where he was
busily employed in posting pickets and sentinels, and giving the
necessary instructions to his men to cover the embarkation of the
seamen, in a style that he conceived to be altogether military. The mass
of the common prisoners, including the inferior domestics of the abbey,
and the men of Borroughcliffe, were also held in the same place, under a
suitable guard: but Colonel Howard and his companion, attended by the
ladies and their own maids, had descended the rugged path to the beach,
and were standing passively on the sands, when the intelligence that the
boat waited for them was announced.

"Where is he?" asked Alice Dunscombe, turning her head, as if anxiously
searching for some other than those around her.

"Where is who?" inquired Barnstable; "we are all here, and the boat
waits."

"And will he tear me--even me, from the home of my infancy! the land of
my birth and my affections!"

"I know not of whom you speak, madam, but if it be of Mr. Griffith, he
stands there, just without that cluster of seamen."

Griffith, hearing himself thus named, approached the ladies, and, for
the first time since leaving the abbey, addressed them: "I hope I am
already understood," he said, "and that it is unnecessary for me to say
that no female here is a prisoner; though, should any choose to trust
themselves on board our ship, I pledge them to the honor of an officer
that they shall find themselves protected, and safe."

"Then will I not go," said Alice.

"It is not expected of you," said Cecilia; "you have no ties to bind you
to any here." (The eyes of Alice were still wandering over the
listeners.) "Go, then, Miss Alice, and be the mistress of St. Ruth,
until my return; or," she added, timidly, "until Colonel Howard may
declare his pleasure."

"I obey you, dear child; but the agent of Colonel Howard, at B----, will
undoubtedly, be authorized to take charge of his effects."

While no one but his niece alluded to his will, the master of the abbey
had found, in his resentment, a sufficient apology for his rigid
demeanor; but he was far too well bred to bear, in silence, such a
modest appeal to his wishes, from so fair and so loyal a subject as
Alice Dunscombe.

"To relieve you, madam, and for no other reason, will I speak on this
subject," he said; "otherwise, I should leave the doors and windows of
St. Ruth open, as a melancholy monument of rebellion, and seek my future
compensation from the Crown, when the confiscated estates of the leaders
of this accursed innovation on the rights of princes shall come to the
hammer. But you, Miss Alice, are entitled to every consideration that a
lady can expect from a gentleman. Be pleased, therefore, to write to my
agent, and request him to seal up my papers, and transmit them to the
office of his majesty's Secretary of State. They breathe no treason,
madam, and are entitled to official protection. The house, and most of
the furniture, as you know, are the property of my landlord, who, in due
time, will doubtless take charge of his own interest. I kiss your hand,
Miss Alice, and I hope we shall yet meet at St. James's--depend on it,
madam, that the royal Charlotte shall yet honor your merits; I know she
cannot but estimate your loyalty."

"Here I was born, in humble obscurity--here I have lived, and here I
hope to die in quiet," returned the meek Alice; "if I have known any
pleasure, in late years, beyond that which every Christian can find in
our daily duties, it has been, my sweet friends, in your accidental
society.--Such companions, in this remote corner of the kingdom, has
been a boon too precious to be enjoyed without alloy, it seems; and I
have now to exchange the past pleasure for present pain. Adieu! my young
friend; let your trust be in Him, to whose eyes both prince and peasant,
the European and the American, are alike, and we shall meet again,
though it be neither in the island of Britain nor on your own wide
continent."

"That," said Colonel Howard, advancing, and taking her hand with
kindness, "that is the only disloyal sentiment I have ever heard fall
from the lips of Miss Alice Dunscombe! Is it to be supposed that Heaven
has established orders among men, and that it does not respect the works
of its own formation! But adieu; no doubt, if time was allowed us for
suitable explanations, we should find but little or no difference of
opinion on this subject."

Alice did not appear to consider the matter as worthy of further
discussion at such a moment; for she gently returned the colonel's
leave-taking, and then gave her undivided attention to her female
friends. Cecilia wept bitterly on the shoulder of her respected
companion, giving vent to her regret at parting, and her excited
feelings, at the same moment; and Katherine pressed to the side of
Alice, with the kindliness prompted by her warm but truant heart, Their
embraces were given and received in silence, and each of the young
ladies moved towards the boat, as she withdrew herself from the arms of
Miss Dunscombe. Colonel Howard would not precede his wards, neither
would he assist them into the barge. That attention they received from
Barnstable, who, after seeing the ladies and their attendants seated,
turned to the gentlemen, and observed:

"The boat waits,"

"Well, Miss Alice," said Borroughcliffe, in bitter irony, "you are
entrusted by our excellent host with a message to his agent; will you do
a similar service to me, and write a report to the commander of the
district, and just tell him what a dolt--ay, use the plainest terms, and
say what an ass one Captain Borroughcliffe has proved himself in this
affair? You may throw in, by way of episode, that he has been playing
bo-peep with a rebellious young lady from the Colonies, and, like a
great boy, has had his head broken for his pains! Come, my worthy host,
or rather fellow-prisoner, I follow you, as in duty bound."

"Stay," cried Griffith; "Captain Borroughcliffe does not embark in that
boat."

"Ha! sir; am I to be herded with the common men? Forget you that I have
the honor to bear the commission of his Britannic Majesty, and that--"

"I forget nothing that a gentleman is bound to remember, Captain
Borroughcliffe; among other things, I recollect the liberality of your
treatment to myself, when a prisoner. The instant the safety of my
command will justify such a step, not only you, but your men, shall be
set at liberty."

Borroughcliffe started in surprise, but his feelings were too much
soured by the destruction of those visions of glory, in which he had
been luxuriously indulging for the last day or two, to admit of his
answering as became a man. He swallowed his emotions, therefore, by a
violent effort, and walked along the beach, affecting to whistle a low
but lively air.

"Well, then," cried Barnstable, "all our captives are seated. The boat
waits only for its officers!"

In his turn, Griffith walked away, in haughty silence, as if disdaining
to hold communion with his former friend. Barnstable paused a moment,
from a deference that long habit had created for his superior officer,
and which was not to be shaken off by every burst of angry passion; but
perceiving that the other had no intention to return, he ordered the
seamen to raise the boat from the sand, and bear it bodily into the
water. The command was instantly obeyed; and, by the time the young
lieutenant was in his seat, the barge was floating in the still heavy
though no longer dangerous surf, and the crew sprang into their places.

"Bear her off, boys!" he cried; "never mind a wet jacket. I've seen many
a worthy fellow tumbling on this beach in a worse time than this! Now
you have her head to sea; give way, my souls, give way."

The seamen rose simultaneously at their oars, and by an united effort
obtained the command of their boat; which, after making a few sudden
ascents, and as many heavy pitches in the breakers, gained the smoother
seas of the swelling ocean, and stemmed the waters in a direction for
the place where the Alacrity was supposed to be in waiting.




CHAPTER XXXI.

  "His only plot was this--that, much provoked.
  He raised his vengeful arm against his country."
  _Thomson_.


Alice Duncombe remained on the sands, watching the dark spot that was
soon hid amid the waves in the obscurity of night, and listening, with
melancholy interest, to the regulated sounds of the oars, which were
audible long after the boat had been blended with the gloomy outline of
the eastern horizon. When all traces of her departed friends were to be
found only in her own recollections, she slowly turned from the sea, and
hastening to quit the bustling throng that were preparing for the
embarkation of the rest of the party, she ascended the path that
conducted her once more to the summit of those cliffs along which she
had so often roved, gazing at the boundless element that washed their
base, with sensations that might have been peculiar to her own
situation.

The soldiers of Borroughcliffe, who were stationed at the head of the
pass, respectfully made way; nor did any of the sentinels of Manual heed
her retiring figure, until she approached the rear guard of the marines,
who were commanded by their vigilant captain in person.

"Who goes there?" cried Manual, advancing without the dusky group of
soldiers, as she approached them.

"One who possesses neither the power nor the inclination to do ye harm,"
answered the solitary female; "'tis Alice Dunscombe, returning, by
permission of your leader, to the place of her birth."

"Ay," muttered Manual, "this is one of Griffith's unmilitary exhibitions
of his politeness! Does the man think that there was ever a woman who
had no tongue! Have you the countersign, madam, that I may know you bear
a sufficient warrant to pass?"

"I have no other warrant besides my sex and weakness, unless Mr.
Griffith's knowledge that I have left him can be so considered."

"The two former are enough," said a voice, that proceeded from a figure
which had hitherto stood unseen, shaded by the trunk of an oak that
spread its wide but naked arms above the spot where the guard was
paraded.

"Who have we here!" Manual again cried; "come in; yield, or you will be
fired at."

"What, will the gallant Captain Manual fire on his own rescuer!" said
the Pilot, with cool disdain, as he advanced from the shadow of the
tree. "He had better reserve his bullets for his enemies, than waste
them on his friends."

"You have done a dangerous deed, sir, in approaching, clandestinely, a
guard of marines! I wonder that a man who has already discovered, to-
night, that he has some knowledge of tactics, by so ably conducting a
surprise, should betray so much ignorance in the forms of approaching a
picket!"

"'Tis now of no moment," returned the Pilot; "my knowledge and my
ignorance are alike immaterial, as the command of the party is
surrendered to other and perhaps more proper hands. But I would talk to
this lady alone, sir; she is an acquaintance of my youth, and I will see
her on her way to the abbey."

"The step would be unmilitary, Mr. Pilot, and you will excuse me if I do
not consent to any of our expedition straggling without the sentries. If
you choose to remain here to hold your discourse, I will march the
picket out of hearing; though I must acknowledge I see no ground so
favorable as this we are on, to keep you within range of our eyes. You
perceive that I have a ravine to retreat into in case of surprise, with
this line of wall on my left flank and the trunk of that tree to cover
my right. A very pretty stand might be made here, on emergency; for even
the oldest troops fight the best when their flanks are properly covered,
and a way to make a regular retreat is open in their rear."

"Say no more, sir; I would not break up such a position on any account,"
returned the Pilot; "the lady will consent to retrace her path for a
short distance."

Alice followed his steps, in compliance with this request, until he had
led her to a place, at some little distance from the marines, where a
tree had been prostrated by the late gale. She seated herself quietly on
its trunk, and appeared to wait with patience his own time for the
explanation of his motives in seeking the interview. The pilot paced for
several minutes back and forth, in front of the place where she was
seated, in profound silence, as if communing with himself; when suddenly
throwing off his air of absence, he came to her side, and assumed a
position similar to the one which she herself had taken.

"The hour is at hand, Alice, when we must part," he at length commenced;
"it rests with yourself whether it shall be forever."

"Let it then be forever, John," she returned, with a slight tremor in
her voice.

"That word would have been less appalling had this accidental meeting
never occurred. And yet your choice may have been determined by
prudence--for what is there in my fate that can tempt a woman to wish
that she might share it?"

"If ye mean your lot is that of one who can find but few, or even none,
to partake of his joys, or to share in his sorrows--whose life is a
continual scene of dangers and calamities, of disappointments and
mishaps--then do ye know but little of the heart of woman, if ye doubt
of either her ability or her willingness to meet them with the man of
her choice."

"Say you thus, Alice? then have I misunderstood your meaning or
misinterpreted your acts. My lot is not altogether that of a neglected
man, unless the favor of princes and the smiles of queens are allowed to
go for nothing. My life is, however, one of many and fearful dangers;
and yet it is not filled altogether with calamities and mishaps; is it,
Alice?" He paused a moment, but in vain, for her answer. "Nay, then, I
have been deceived in the estimation that the world has affixed to my
combats and enterprises! I am not, Alice, the man I would be, or even
the man I had deemed myself."

"You have gained a name, John, among the warriors of the age," she
answered, in a subdued voice; "and it is a name that may be said to be
written in blood!"

"The blood of my enemies, Alice!"

"The blood of the subjects of your natural prince! The blood of those
who breathe the air you first breathed, and who were taught the same
holy lessons of instruction that you were first taught; but, which, I
fear, you have too soon forgotten!"

"The blood of the slaves of despotism!" he sternly interrupted her; "the
blood of the enemies of freedom! You have dwelt so long in this dull
retirement, and you have cherished so blindly the prejudices of your
youth, that the promise of those noble sentiments I once thought I could
see budding in Alice Dunscombe has not been fulfilled."

"I have lived and thought only as a woman, as become my sex and
station," Alice meekly replied; "and when it shall be necessary for me
to live and think otherwise, I should wish to die."

"Ay, there lie the first seeds of slavery! A dependent woman is sure to
make the mother of craven and abject wretches, who dishonor the name of
man!"

"I shall never be the mother of children, good or bad," said Alice, with
that resignation in her tones that showed she had abandoned the natural
hopes of her sex. "Singly and unsupported have I lived; alone and
unlamented must I be carried to my grave."

The exquisite pathos of her voice, as she uttered this placid speech,
blended as it was with the sweet and calm dignity of virgin pride,
touched the heart of her listener, and he continued silent many moments,
as if in reverence of her determination. Her sentiments awakened in his
own breast those feelings of generosity and disinterestedness which had
nearly been smothered in restless ambition and the pride of success. He
resumed the discourse, therefore, more mildly, and with a much greater
exhibition of deep feeling, and less of passion, in his manner.

"I know not, Alice, that I ought, situated as I am, and contented, if
not happy, as you are, even to attempt to revive in your bosom those
sentiments which I was once led to think existed there. It cannot, after
all, be a desirable fate, to share the lot of a rover like myself; one
who may be termed a Quixote in the behalf of liberal principles, and who
may be hourly called to seal the truth of those principles with his
life."

"There never existed any sentiment in my breast, in which you are
concerned, that does not exist there still, and unchanged," returned
Alice, with her single-hearted sincerity.

"Do I hear you right? or have I misconceived your resolution to abide in
England? or have I not rather mistaken your early feelings?"

"You have fallen into no error now nor then, The weakness may still
exist, John; but the strength to struggle with it has, by the goodness
of God, grown with my years. It is not, however, of myself, but of you,
that I would speak. I have lived like one of our simple daisies, which
in the budding may have caught your eye; and I shall also wilt like the
humble flower, when the winter of my time arrives, without being missed
from the fields that have known me for a season. But your fall, John,
will be like that of the oak that now supports us, and men shall
pronounce on the beauty and grandeur of the noble stem while standing,
as well as of its usefulness when felled."

"Let them pronounce as they will!" returned the proud stranger. "The
truth must be finally known: and when, that hour shall come, they will
say, he was a faithful and gallant warrior in his day; and a worthy
lesson for all who are born in slavery, but would live in freedom, shall
be found in his example."

"Such may be the language of that distant people, whom ye have adopted
in the place of those that once formed home and kin to ye," said Alice,
glancing her eye timidly at his countenance, as if to discern how far
she might venture, without awakening his resentment; "but what will the
men of the land of your birth transmit to their children, who will be
the children of those that are of your own blood?"

"They will say, Alice, whatever their crooked policy may suggest, or
their disappointed vanity can urge. But the picture must be drawn by the
friends of the hero, as well as by his enemies! Think you, that there
are not pens as well as swords in America?"

"I have heard that America called a land, John, where God has lavished
his favors with an unsparing hand; where he has bestowed many climes
with their several fruits, and where his power is exhibited no less than
his mercy. It is said her rivers are without any known end, and that
lakes are found in her bosom which would put our German Ocean to shame!
The plains, teeming with verdure, are spread over wide degrees; and yet
those sweet valleys, which a single heart can hold, are not wanting. In
short, John, I hear it is a broad land, that can furnish food for each
passion, and contain objects for every affection."

"Ay, you have found those, Alice, in your solitude, who have been
willing to do her justice! It is a country that can form a world of
itself; and why should they who inherit it look to other nations for
their laws?"

"I pretend not to reason on the right of the children of that soil to do
whatever they may deem most meet for their own welfare," returned Alice
--"but can men be born in such a land, and not know the feelings which
bind a human being to the place of his birth?"

"Can you doubt that they should be patriotic?" exclaimed the Pilot, in
surprise. "Do not their efforts in this sacred cause--their patient
sufferings--their long privations--speak loudly in their behalf?"

"And will they who know so well how to love home sing the praises of him
who has turned his ruthless hand against the land of his fathers?"

"Forever harping on that word home!" said the Pilot, who now detected
the timid approaches of Alice to her hidden meaning. "Is a man a stick
or a stone, that he must be cast into the fire, or buried in a wall,
wherever his fate may have doomed him to appear on the earth? The sound
of home is said to feed the vanity of an English man, let him go where
he will; but it would seem to have a still more powerful charm with
English women!"

"It is the dearest of all terms to every woman, John, for it embraces
the dearest of all ties! If your dames of America are ignorant of its
charm, all the favors which God has lavished on their land will avail
their happiness but little."

"Alice," said the Pilot, rising in his agitation, "I see but too well
the object of your allusions. But on this subject we can never agree;
for not even your powerful influence can draw me from the path of glory
in which I am now treading. But our time is growing brief; let us, then,
talk of other things.--This may be the last time I shall ever put foot
on the island of Britain."

Alice paused to struggle with the feelings excited by this remark,
before she pursued the discourse. But soon shaking off the weakness, she
added, with a rigid adherence to that course which she believed to be
her duty:

"And now, John, that you have landed, is the breaking up of a peaceful
family, and the violence ye have shown towards an aged man, a fit
exploit for one whose object is the glory of which ye have spoken?"

"Think you that I have landed, and placed my life in the hands of my
enemies, for so unworthy an object! No, Alice: my motive for this
undertaking has been disappointed, and therefore will ever remain a
secret from the world. But duty to my cause has prompted the step which
you so unthinkingly condemn. This Colonel Howard has some consideration
with those in power, and will answer to exchange for a better man. As
for his wards, you forget their home, their magical home is in America;
unless, indeed, they find them nearer at hand, under the proud flag of a
frigate that is now waiting for them in the offing."

"You talk of a frigate!" said Alice, with sudden interest in the
subject. "Is she your only means of escaping from your enemies?"

"Alice Dunscombe has taken but little heed of passing events, to ask
such a question of me!" returned the haughty Pilot. "The question would
have sounded more discreetly had it been, 'Is she the only vessel with
you that your enemies will have to escape from?'"

"Nay, I cannot measure my language at such a moment," continued Alice,
with a still stronger exhibition of anxiety. "It was my fortune to
overhear a part of a plan that was intended to destroy, by sudden means,
those vessels of America that were in our seas."

"That might be a plan more suddenly adopted than easily executed, my
good Alice. And who were these redoubtable schemers?"

"I know not but my duty to the king should cause me to suppress this
information," said Alice, hesitating.

"Well, be it so," returned the Pilot, coolly; "it may prove the means of
saving the persons of some of the royal officers from death or
captivity. I have already said, this may be the last of my visits to
this island, and consequently, Alice, the last of our interviews--"

"And yet," said Alice, still pursuing the train of her own thoughts,
"there can be but little harm in sparing human blood; and least of all
in serving those whom we have long known and regarded!"

"Ay, that is a simple doctrine, and one that is easily maintained," he
added, with much apparent indifference; "and yet King George might well
spare some of his servants--the list of his abject minions is so long!"

"There was a man named Dillon, who lately dwelt in the abbey, but who
has mysteriously disappeared," continued Alice; "or rather, who was
captured by your companions: know you aught of him, John?"

"I have heard there was a miscreant of that name, but we have never met.
Alice, if it please Heaven that this should be the last--"

"He was a captive in the schooner called the Ariel," she added, still
unheeding his affected indifference to her communication; "and when
permitted to return to St. Ruth, he lost sight of his solemn promise,
and of his plighted honor, to wreak his malice. Instead of effecting the
exchange that he had conditioned to see made, he plotted treason against
his captors. Yes, it was most foul treason! for his treatment was
generous and kind, and his liberation certain."

"He was a most unworthy scoundrel! But, Alice----"

"Nay, listen, John," she continued, urged to even a keener interest in
his behalf by his apparent inattention; "and yet I should speak tenderly
of his failings, for he is already numbered with the dead! One part of
his scheme must have been frustrated; for he intended to destroy that
schooner which you call the Ariel, and to have taken the person of the
young Barnstable."

"In both of which he has failed! The person of Barnstable I have
rescued, and the Ariel has been stricken by a hand far mightier than any
of this world!--she is wrecked."

"Then is the frigate your only means of escape! Hasten, John, and seem
not so proud and heedless; for the hour may come when all your daring
will not profit ye against the machinations of secret enemies. This
Dillon had also planned that expresses should journey to a seaport at
the south, with the intelligence that your vessels were in these seas,
in order that ships might be dispatched to intercept your retreat."

The Pilot lost his affected indifference as she proceeded; and before
she ceased speaking, his eye was endeavoring to anticipate her words, by
reading her countenance through the dusky medium of the starlight.

"How know you this, Alice?" he asked quickly--"and what vessel did he
name?"

"Chance made me an unseen listener to their plan, and--I know not but I
forget my duty to my prince! but, John, 'tis asking too much of a weak
woman, to require that she shall see the man whom she once viewed with
eyes of favor sacrificed, when a word of caution, given in season, might
enable him to avoid the danger!"

"Once viewed with an eye of favor! Is it then so?" said the Pilot,
speaking in a vacant manner. "But, Alice, heard ye the force of the
ships, or their names? Give me their names, and the first lord of your
British admiralty shall not give so true an account of their force as I
will furnish from this list of my own."

"Their names were certainly mentioned," said Alice, with tender
melancholy; "but the name of one far nearer to me was ringing in my
ears, and has driven them from my mind."

"You are the same good Alice I once knew! And my name was mentioned?
What said they of the Pirate? Had his arm stricken a blow that made them
tremble in their abbey? Did they call him coward, girl?"

"It was mentioned in terms that pained my heart as I listened; for it is
never too easy a task to forget the lapse of years, nor are the feelings
of youth to be easily eradicated."

"Ay, there is luxury in knowing that, with all their affected abuse, the
slaves dread me in their secret holds!" exclaimed the Pilot, pacing in
front of his listener with quick steps. "This it is to be marked, among
men, above all others in your calling! I hope yet to see the day when
the third George shall start at the sound of that name, even within the
walls of his palace."

Alice Dunscombe heard him in deep and mortified silence. It was too
evident that a link in the chain of their sympathies was broken, and
that the weakness in which she had been unconsciously indulging was met
by no correspondent emotions in him. After sinking her head for a moment
on her bosom, she arose with a little more than her usual air of
meekness, and recalled the Pilot to a sense of her presence, by saying,
in a yet milder voice:

"I have now communicated all that it can profit you to know, and it is
meet that we separate."

"What, thus soon?" he cried, starting and taking her hand. "This is but
a short interview, Alice, to precede so long a separation."

"Be it short, or be it long, it must now end," she replied. Your
companions are on the eve of departure, and I trust you would be one of
the last who would wish to be deserted. If ye do visit England again, I
hope it may be with altered sentiments, so far as regards her interests.
I wish ye peace, John, and the blessings of God, as ye may be found to
deserve them."

"I ask no farther, unless it may be the aid of your gentle prayers! But
the night is gloomy, and I will see you in safety to the abbey."

"It is unnecessary," she returned, with womanly reserve. "The innocent
can be as fearless, on occasion, as the most valiant among your
warriors. But here is no cause for fear. I shall take a path that will
conduct me in a different way from that which is occupied by your
soldiers, and where I shall find none but Him who is ever ready to
protect the helpless. Once more, John, I bid ye adieu." Her voice
faltered as she continued--"Ye will share the lot of humanity, and have
your hours of care and weakness; at such moments ye can remember those
ye leave on this despised island, and perhaps among them ye may think of
some whose interest in your welfare has been far removed from
selfishness."

"God be with you, Alice!" he said, touched with her emotion, and losing
all vain images in more worthy feelings--"but I cannot permit you to go
alone."

"Here we part, John," she said firmly, "and forever! 'Tis for the
happiness of both, for I fear we have but little in common." She gently
wrested her hand from his grasp, and once more bidding him adieu, in a
voice that was nearly inaudible, she turned and slowly disappeared,
moving, with lingering steps, in the direction of the abbey.

The first impulse of the pilot was certainly to follow, and insist on
seeing her on the way; but the music of the guard on the cliffs at that
moment sent forth its martial strains, and the whistle of the boatswain
was heard winding Its shrill call among the rocks, in those notes that
his practised ear well understood to be the last signal for embarking.

Obedient to the summons, this singular man, in whose breast the natural
feelings, that were now on the eve of a violent eruption, had so long
been smothered by the visionary expectations of a wild ambition, and
perhaps of fierce resentments, pursued his course, in deep abstraction,
towards the boats. He was soon met by the soldiers of Borroughcliffe,
deprived of their arms, it is true, but unguarded, and returning
peacefully to their quarters. The mind of the Pilot, happily for the
liberty of these men, was too much absorbed in his peculiar reflections,
to note this act of Griffith's generosity, nor did he arouse from his
musing until his steps were arrested by suddenly encountering a human
figure in the pathway. A light tap on his shoulder was the first mark of
recognition he received, when Borroughcliffe, who stood before him,
said:

"It is evident, sir, from what has passed this evening, that you are not
what you seem. You may be some rebel admiral or general, for aught that
I know, the right to command having been strangely contested among ye
this night. But let who will own the chief authority, I take the liberty
of whispering in your ear that I have been scurvily treated by you--I
repeat, most scurvily treated by you all, generally, and by you in
particular."

The Pilot started at this strange address, which was uttered with all
the bitterness that could be imparted to it by a disappointed man; but
he motioned with his hand for the captain to depart, and turned aside to
pursue his own way.

"Perhaps I am not properly understood," continued the obstinate soldier:
"I say, sir, you have treated me scurvily: and I would not be thought to
say this to any gentleman, without wishing to give him an opportunity to
vent his anger."

The eye of the Pilot, as he moved forward, glanced at the pistols which
Borroughcliffe held in his hands, the one by the handle, and the other
by its barrel, and the soldier even fancied that his footsteps were
quickened by the sight. After gazing at him until his form was lost in
the darkness, the captain muttered to himself:

"He is no more than a common pilot, after all! No true gentleman would
have received so palpable a hint with such a start. Ah! here comes the
party of my worthy friend whose palate knows a grape of the north side
of Madeira from one of the south. The dog has the throat of a gentleman;
we will see how he can swallow a delicate allusion to his faults!"

Borroughcliffe stepped aside to allow the marines, who were also in
motion for the boats, to pass, and watched with keen looks for the
person of the commander. Manual, who had been previously apprised of the
intention of Griffith to release the prisoners, had halted to see that
none but those who had been liberated by authority were marching into
the country. This accidental circumstance gave Borroughcliffe an
opportunity of meeting the other at some little distance from either of
their respective parties.

"I greet you, sir," said Borroughcliffe, "with all affection. This has
been a pleasant forage for you, Captain Manual."

The marine was far from being disposed to wrangle, but there was that in
the voice of the other which caused him to answer:

"It would have been far pleasanter, sir, if I had met an opportunity of
returning to Captain Borroughcliffe some of the favors that I have
received at his hands."

"Nay, then, dear sir, you weigh my modesty to the earth! Surely you
forget the manner in which my hospitality has already been requited--by
some two hours mouthing of my sword-hilt; with a very unceremonious
ricochet into a corner; together with a love-tap received over the
shoulders of one of my men, by so gentle an instrument as the butt of a
musket! Damme, sir, but I think an ungrateful man only a better sort of
beast!"

"Had the love-tap been given to the officer instead of the man,"
returned Manual, with all commendable coolness, "it would have been
better justice; and the ramrod might have answered as well as the butt,
to floor a gentleman who carried the allowance of four thirsty fiddlers
under one man's jacket."

"Now, that is rank ingratitude to your own cordial of the south side,
and a most biting insult! I really see but one way of terminating this
wordy war, which, if not discreetly ended, may lead us far into the
morning."

"Elect your own manner of determining the dispute, sir; I hope, however,
it will not be by your innate knowledge of mankind, which has already
mistaken a captain of marines in the service of Congress, for a runaway
lover, bound to some green place or other."

"You might just as well tweak my nose, sir!" said Borroughcliffe.
"Indeed, I think it would be the milder reproach of the two! will you
make your selection of these, sir? They were loaded for a very different
sort of service, but I doubt not will answer on occasion."

"I am provided with a pair, that are charged for any service," returned
Manual, drawing a pistol from his own belt, and stepping backward a few
paces.

"You are destined for America, I know," said Borroughcliffe, who stood
his ground with consummate coolness; "but it would be more convenient
for me, sir, if you could delay your march for a single moment."

"Fire and defend yourself!" exclaimed Manual, furiously, retracing his
steps towards his enemy.

The sounds of the two pistols were blended in one report, and the
soldiers of Borroughcliffe and the marines all rushed to the place on
the sudden alarm. Had the former been provided with arms, it is probable
that a bloody fray would have been the consequence of the sight that
both parties be held on arriving at the spot, which they did
simultaneously. Manual lay on his back, without any signs of life, and
Borroughcliffe had changed his cool, haughty, upright attitude for a
recumbent posture, which was somewhat between lying and sitting.

"Is the poor fellow actually expended?" said the Englishman, in
something like the tones of regret; "well, he had a soldier's mettle in
him, and was nearly as great a fool as myself!"

The marines had, luckily for the soldiers and their captain, by this
time discovered the signs of life in their own commander, who had been
only slightly stunned by the bullet, which had grazed his crown, and
who, being assisted on his feet, stood a minute or two rubbing his head,
as if awaking from a dream. As Manual came gradually to his senses, he
recollected the business in which he had just been engaged, and, in his
turn, inquired after the fate of his antagonist.

"I am here, my worthy incognito," cried the other, with the voice of
perfect good nature; "lying in the lap of mother earth, and all the
better for opening a vein or two in my right leg;--though I do think that
the same effect might have been produced without treating the bone so
roughly!--But I opine that I saw you also reclining on the bosom of our
common ancestor."

"I was down for a few minutes, I do believe," returned Manual; "there is
the path of a bullet across my scalp."

"Humph! on the head!" said Borroughcliffe, dryly; "the hurt is not
likely to be mortal, I see.--Well, I shall offer to raffle with the
first poor devil I can find that has but one good leg, for who shall
have both; and that will just set up a beggar and a gentleman!--Manual,
give me your hand; we have drunk together, and we have fought; surely
there is nothing now to prevent our being sworn friends."

"Why," returned Manual, continuing to rub his head, "I see no
irremovable objections--but you will want a surgeon? Can I order
anything to be done? There go the signals again to embark--march the
fellows down at quick time, sergeant; my own man may remain with me, or,
I can do altogether without assistance."

"Ah! you are what I call a well-made man, my dear friend!" exclaimed
Borroughcliffe; "no weak points about your fortress! Such a man is
worthy to be the _head_ of a whole corps, instead of a solitary
company.--Gently, Drill, gently; handle me as if I were made of potter's
clay.--I will not detain you longer, my friend Manual, for I hear signal
after signal; they must be in want of some of your astonishing reasoning
faculties to set them afloat."

Manual might have been offended at the palpable allusions that his new
friend made to the firmness of his occiput, had not his perception of
things been a little confused by a humming sound that seemed to abide
near the region of thought. As it was, he reciprocated the good wishes
of the other, whom he shook most cordially by the hand, and once more
renewed his offers of service, after exchanging sundry friendly
speeches.

"I thank you quite as much as if I were not at all indebted to you for
letting blood, thereby saving me a fit of apoplexy; but Drill has
already dispatched a messenger to B---- for a leech, and the lad may
bring the whole depot down upon you.--Adieu, once more, and remember
that if you ever visit England again as a friend, you are to let me see
you."

"I shall do it without fail; and I shall keep you to your promise if you
once more put foot in America."

"Trust me for that: I shall stand in need of your excellent head to
guide me safely among those rude foresters. Adieu; cease not to bear me
in your thoughts."

"I shall never cease to remember you, my good friend," returned Manual,
again scratching the member which was snapping in a manner that caused
him to fancy he heard it. Once more these worthies shook each other by
the hand, and again they renewed their promises of future intercourse;
after which they separated like two reluctant lovers--parting in a
manner that would have put to shame the friendship of Orestes and
Pylades.




CHAPTER XXXII.

  "Nay, answer me: stand and unfold yourself."
  _Hamlet_.


During the time occupied by the incidents that occurred after the Pilot
had made his descent on the land, the Alacrity, now under the orders of
Mr. Boltrope, the master of the frigate, lay off and on, in readiness to
receive the successful mariners. The direction of the wind had been
gradually changing from the northeast to the south, during the close of
the day; and long before the middle watches of the night, the wary old
seaman, who, it may be remembered, had expressed, in the council of war,
such a determined reluctance to trust his person within the realm of
Britain, ordered the man who steered the cutter to stand in boldly for
the land. Whenever the lead told them that it was prudent to tack, the
course of the vessel was changed: and in this manner the seamen
continued to employ the hours in patient attendance on the adventurers.
The sailing-master, who had spent the early years of his life as the
commander of divers vessels employed in trading, was apt, like many men
of his vocation and origin, to mistake the absence of refinement for the
surest evidence of seamanship; and, consequently, he held the little
courtesies and punctilios of a man-of-war in high disdain. His peculiar
duties of superintending the expenditure of the ship's stores, in their
several departments; of keeping the frigate's log-book; and of making
his daily examinations into the state of her sails and rigging--brought
him so little in collision with the gay, laughing, reckless young
lieutenants, who superintended the ordinary management of the vessel,
that he might be said to have formed a distinct species of the animal,
though certainly of the same genus with his more polished messmates.
Whenever circumstances, however, required that he should depart from the
dull routine of his duty, he made it a rule, as far as possible, to
associate himself with such of the crew as possessed habits and opinions
the least at variance with his own.

By a singular fatality, the chaplain of the frigate was, as respects
associates, in a condition nearly assimilated to that of this veteran
tar.

An earnest desire to ameliorate the situation of those who were doomed
to meet death on the great deep had induced an experienced and simple-
hearted divine to accept this station, in the fond hope that he might be
made the favored instrument of salvation to many, who were then existing
in a state of the most abandoned self-forgetfulness. Neither our limits,
nor our present object, will permit the relation of the many causes that
led, not only to an entire frustration of all his visionary
expectations, but to an issue which rendered the struggle of the good
divine with himself both arduous and ominous, in order to maintain his
own claims to the merited distinctions of his sacred office. The
consciousness of his backsliding had so far lessened the earthly, if not
the spiritual, pride of the chaplain, as to induce him to relish the
society of the rude master, whose years had brought him, at times, to
take certain views of futurity that were singularly affected by the
peculiar character of the individual. It might have been that both found
themselves out of their places--but it was owing to some such secret
sympathy, let its origin be what it would, that the two came to be fond
of each other's company. On the night in question, Mr. Boltrope had
invited the chaplain to accompany him in the Alacrity; adding, in his
broad, rough language, that as there was to be fighting on shore, "his
hand might come in play with some poor fellow or other." This singular
invitation had been accepted, as well from a desire to relieve the
monotony of a sea-life by any change, as perhaps with a secret yearning
in the breast of the troubled divine to get as nigh to terra firma as
possible. Accordingly, after the Pilot had landed with his boisterous
party, the sailing-master and the chaplain, together with a boatswain's
mate and some ten or twelve seamen, were left in quiet possession of the
cutter. The first few hours of this peaceable intercourse had been spent
by the worthy messmates, in the little cabin of the vessel, over a can
of grog; the savory relish of which was much increased by a
characteristic disquisition on polemical subjects, which our readers
have great reason to regret it is not our present humor to record. When,
however, the winds invited the near approach to the hostile shores
already mentioned, the prudent sailing-master adjourned the discussion
to another and more suitable time, removing himself and the can, by the
same operation, to the quarter-deck.

"There," cried the honest tar, placing the wooden vessel, with great
self-contentment, by his side on the deck, "this is ship's comfort!
There is a good deal of what I call a lubber's fuss, parson, kept up on
board a ship that shall be nameless, but which bears, about three
leagues distant, broad off in the ocean, and which is lying to under a
close-reefed maintopsail, a foretopmast-staysail, and foresail--I call
my hand a true one in mixing a can--take another pull at the halyards!--
'twill make your eye twinkle like a lighthouse, this dark morning! You
won't? well, we must give no offence to the Englishman's rum."--After a
potent draught had succeeded this considerate declaration, he added:
"You are a little like our first lieutenant, parson, who drinks, as I
call it, nothing but the elements--which is, water stiffened with air."

"Mr. Griffith may indeed be said to set a wholesome example to the
crew," returned the chaplain, perhaps with a slight consciousness that
it had not altogether possessed its due weight with himself.

"Wholesome!" cried Boltrope; "let me tell you, my worthy leaf-turner,
that if you call such a light diet wholesome, you know but little of
salt water and sea-fogs! However, Mr. Griffith is a seaman; and if he
gave his mind less to trifles and gimcracks, he would be, by the time he
got to about our years, a very rational sort of a companion.--But you
see, parson, just now, he thinks too much of small follies; such as man-
of-war discipline.--Now there is rationality in giving a fresh nip to a
rope, or in looking well at your mats, or even in crowning a cable; but
damme, priest, if I see the use--luff, luff, you lubber; don't ye see,
sir, you are steering for Garmany!--If I see the use, as I was saying,
of making a rumpus about the time when a man changes his shirt; whether
it be this week, or next week, or, for that matter, the week after,
provided it be bad weather. I sometimes am mawkish about attending
muster (and I believe I have as little to fear on the score of behavior
as any man), lest it should be found I carried my tobacco in the wrong
cheek!"

"I have indeed thought it somewhat troublesome to myself, at times; and
it is in a striking degree vexatious to the spirit, especially when the
body has been suffering under seasickness."

"Why, yes, you were a little apt to bend your duds wrong for the first
month or so," said the master; "I remember you got the marine's scraper
on your head, once, in your hurry to bury a dead man! Then you never
looked as if you belonged to the ship, so long as those cursed black
knee-breeches lasted! For my part, I never saw you come up the quarter-
deck ladder, but I expected to see your shins give way across the
combing of the hatch--a man does look like the devil, priest, scudding
about a ship's decks in that fashion, under bare poles! But now the
tailor has found out the articles ar'n't seaworthy, and we have got your
lower stanchions cased in a pair of purser's slops, I am puzzled often
to tell your heels from those of a maintopman!"

"I have good reason to be thankful for the change," said the humbled
priest, "if the resemblance you mention existed, while I was clad in the
usual garb of one of my calling."

"What signifies a calling?" returned Boltrope, catching his breath after
a most persevering draught: "a man's shins are his shins, let his upper
works belong to what sarvice they may. I took an early prejudyce against
knee-breeches, perhaps from a trick I've always had of figuring the
devil as wearing them. You know, parson, we seldom hear much said of a
man, without forming some sort of an idea concerning his rigging and
fashion-pieces--and so, as I had no particular reason to believe that
Satan went naked--keep full, ye lubber; now you are running into the
wind's eye, and be d----d to ye!--But as I was saying, I always took a
conceit that the devil wore knee-breeches and a cock'd hat. There's some
of our young lieutenants, who come to muster on Sundays in cock'd hats,
just like soldier-officers; but, d'ye see, I would sooner show my nose
under a nightcap than under a scraper!"

"I hear the sound of oars!" exclaimed the chaplain, who, finding this
image more distinct than even his own vivid conceptions of the great
father of evil, was quite willing to conceal his inferiority by changing
the discourse. "Is not one of our boats returning?"

"Ay, ay, 'tis likely; if it had been me, I should have been land-sick
before this--ware round, boys, and stand by to heave to on the other
tack."

The cutter, obedient to her helm, fell off before the wind; and rolling
an instant in the trough of the sea, came up again easily to her oblique
position, with her head towards the cliffs; and gradually losing her
way, as her sails were brought to counteract each other, finally became
stationary. During the performance of this evolution, a boat had hove up
out of the gloom, in the direction of the land; and by the time the
Alacrity was in a state of rest, it had approached so nigh as to admit
of hailing.

"Boat, ahoy!" murmured Boltrope, through a trumpet, which, aided by his
lungs, produced sounds not unlike the roaring of a bull.

"Ay, ay," was thrown back from a clear voice, that swept across the
water with a fullness that needed no factitious aid to render it
audible.

"Ay, there comes one of the lieutenants, with his ay, ay," said
Boltrope--"pipe the side, there, you boatswain's mate! But here's
another fellow more on our quarter! Boat ahoy!"

"Alacrity"--returned another voice, in a direction different from the
other.

"Alacrity! There goes my commission of captain of this craft, in a
whiff," returned the sailing-master. "That is as much as to say, here
comes one who will command when he gets on board. Well, well, it is Mr.
Griffith, and I can't say, notwithstanding his love of knee-buckles and
small wares, but I'm glad he's out of the hands of the English! Ay, here
they all come upon us at once! here is another fellow, that pulls like
the jolly-boat, coming up on our lee-beam, within hail--let us see if he
is asleep--boat ahoy!"

"Flag," answered a third voice from a small, light-rowing boat, which
had approached very near the cutter, in a direct line from the cliffs,
without being observed.

"Flag!" echoed Boltrope, dropping his trumpet in amazement--"that's a
big word to come out of a jolly-boat! Jack Manly himself could not have
spoken it with a fuller mouth; but I'll know who it is that carries such
a weather helm, with a Yankee man-of-war's prize! Boat ahoy! I say."

This last call was uttered in those short menacing tones, that are
intended to be understood as intimating that the party hailing is in
earnest; and it caused the men who were rowing, and who were now quite
close to the cutter, to suspend their strokes, simultaneously, as if
they dreaded that the cry would be instantly succeeded by some more
efficient means of ascertaining their character. The figure that was
seated by itself in the stern of the boat started at this second
summons, and then, as if with sudden recollection, a quiet voice
replied:

"No--no."

"'No--no,' and 'flag,' are very different answers," grumbled Boltrope;
"what know-nothing have we here?"

He was yet muttering his dissatisfaction at the ignorance of the
individual that was approaching, whoever it might be, when the jolly-
boat came slowly to their side, and the Pilot stepped from her stern-
sheets on the decks of the prize.

"Is it you, Mr. Pilot?" exclaimed the sailing-master, raising a battle-
lantern within a foot of the other's face, and looking with a sort of
stupid wonder at the proud and angry eye he encountered--"Is it you!
Well, I should have rated you for a man of more experience than to come
booming down upon a man-of-war in the dark, with such a big word in your
mouth, when every boy in the two vessels knows that we carry no swallow-
tailed bunting abroad! Flag! Why you might have got a shot, had there
been soldiers."

The Pilot threw him a still fiercer glance, and turning away with a look
of disgust, he walked along the quarterdeck towards the stern of the
vessel, with an air of haughty silence, as if disdaining to answer.
Boltrope kept his eyes fastened on him for a moment longer, with some
appearance of scorn; but the arrival of the boat first hailed, which
proved to be the barge, immediately drew his attention to other matters.
Barnstable had been rowing about in the ocean for a long time, unable to
find the cutter; and as he had been compelled to suit his own demeanor
to those with whom he was associated, he reached the Alacrity in no very
good-humored mood. Colonel Howard and his niece had maintained during
the whole period the most rigid silence, the former from pride, and the
latter touched with her uncle's evident displeasure; and Katherine,
though secretly elated with the success of all her projects, was content
to emulate their demeanor for a short time, in order to save
appearances. Barnstable had several times addressed himself to the
latter, without receiving any other answer than such as was absolutely
necessary to prevent the lover from taking direct offence, at the same
time that she intimated by her manner her willingness to remain silent.
Accordingly, the lieutenant, after aiding the ladies to enter the
cutter, and offering to perform the same service to Colonel Howard,
which was coldly declined, turned, with that sort of irritation that is
by no means less rare in vessels of war than with poor human nature
generally, and gave vent to his spleen where he dared.

"How's this! Mr. Boltrope!" he cried, "here are boats coming alongside
with ladies in them, and you keep your gaft swayed up till the leach of
the sail is stretched like a fiddle-string--settle away your peak-
halyards, sir, settle away!"

"Ay, ay, sir," grumbled the master; "settle away that peak there; though
the craft wouldn't forge ahead a knot in a month, with all her jibs
hauled over!" He walked sulkily forward among the men, followed by the
meek divine; and added, "I should as soon have expected to see Mr.
Barnstable come off with a live ox in his boat as a petticoat! The Lord
only knows what the ship is coming to next, parson! What between cocked
hats and epaulettes, and other knee-buckle matters, she was a sort of
no-man's land before; and now, what with the women and their bandboxes,
they'll make another Noah's ark of her. I wonder they didn't all come
aboard in a coach and six, or a one-horse shay!"

It was a surprising relief to Barnstable to be able to give utterance to
his humor, for a few moments, by ordering the men to make sundry
alterations in every department of the vessel, in a quick, hurried
voice, that abundantly denoted, not only the importance of his
improvements, but the temper in which they were dictated. In his turn,
however, he was soon compelled to give way, by the arrival of Griffith
in the heavily rowing launch of the frigate, which was crowded with a
larger body of the seamen who had been employed in the expedition. In
this manner, boat after boat speedily arrived, and the whole party were
once more happily embarked in safety under their national flag.

The small cabin of the Alacrity was relinquished to Colonel Howard and
his wards, with their attendants. The boats were dropped astern, each
protected by its own keeper; and Griffith gave forth the mandate to fill
the sails and steer broad off into the ocean. For more than an hour the
cutter held her course in this direction, gliding gracefully through the
glittering waters, rising and settling heavily on the long, smooth
billows, as if conscious of the unusual burden that she was doomed to
carry; but at the end of that period her head was once more brought near
the wind, and she was again held at rest, awaiting the appearance of the
dawn, in order to discover the position of the prouder vessel on which
she was performing the humble duty of a tender. More than a hundred and
fifty living men were crowded within her narrow limits; and her decks
presented, in the gloom, as she moved along, the picture of a mass of
human heads.

As the freedom of a successful expedition was unavoidably permitted,
loud jokes, and louder merriment, broke on the silent waters from the
reckless seamen, while the exhilarating can passed from hand to hand,
strange oaths and dreadful denunciations breaking forth at times from
some of the excited crew against their enemy. At length the bustle of
re-embarking gradually subsided, and many of the crew descended to the
hold of the cutter, in quest of room to stretch their limbs, when a
clear, manly voice was heard rising above the deep in those strains that
a seaman most loves to hear. Air succeeded air, from different voices,
until even the spirit of harmony grew dull with fatigue, and verses
began to be heard where songs were expected, and fleeting lines
succeeded stanzas. The decks were soon covered with prostrate men,
seeking their natural rest under the open heavens, and perhaps dreaming,
as they yielded heavily to the rolling of the vessel, of scenes of other
times in their own hemisphere. The dark glances of Katherine were
concealed beneath her falling lids: and even Cecilia, with her head
bowed on the shoulder of her cousin, slept sweetly in innocence and
peace. Boltrope groped his way into the hold among the seamen, where,
kicking one of the most fortunate of the men from his berth, he
established himself in his place with all that cool indifference to the
other's comfort that had grown with his experience, from the time when
he was treated thus cavalierly in his own person to the present moment.
In this manner head was dropped after head on the planks, the guns, or
on whatever first offered for a pillow, until Griffith and Barnstable,
alone, were left pacing the different sides of the quarter-deck in
haughty silence.

Never did a morning watch appear so long to the two young sailors, who
were thus deprived, by resentment and pride, of that frank and friendly
communion that had for so many years sweetened the tedious hours of
their long and at times dreary service. To increase the embarrassment of
their situation, Cecilia and Katherine, suffering from the confinement
of the small and crowded cabin, sought the purer air of the deck, about
the time when the deepest sleep had settled on the senses of the wearied
mariners. They stood, leaning against the taffrail, discoursing with
each other in low and broken sentences; but a sort of instinctive
knowledge of the embarrassment which existed between their lovers caused
a guarded control over every look or gesture which might be construed
into an encouragement for one of the young men to advance at the expense
of the other. Twenty times, however, did the impatient Barnstable feel
tempted to throw off the awkward restraint, and approach his mistress;
but in each instance was he checked by the secret consciousness of
error, as well as by that habitual respect for superior rank that forms
a part of the nature of a sea-officer. On the other hand, Griffith
manifested no intention to profit by this silent concession in his
favor, but continued to pace the short quarter-deck, with strides more
hurried than ever; and was seen to throw many an impatient glance
towards that quarter of the heavens where the first signs of the
lingering day might be expected to appear. At length Katherine, with a
ready ingenuity, and perhaps with some secret coquetry, removed the
embarrassment by speaking first, taking care to address the lover of her
cousin:

"How long are we condemned to these limited lodgings, Mr. Griffith?" she
asked; "truly, there is a freedom in your nautical customs, which, to
say the least, is novel to us females, who have been accustomed to the
division of space!"

"The instant that there is light to discover the frigate, Miss Plowden,"
he answered, "you shall be transferred from a vessel of an hundred to
one of twelve hundred tons. If your situation there be less comfortable
than when within the walls of St. Ruth, you will not forget that they
who live on the ocean claim it as a merit to despise the luxuries of the
land."

"At least, sir," returned Katherine, with a sweet grace, which she well
knew how to assume on occasion, "what we shall enjoy will be sweetened
by liberty and embellished by a sailor's hospitality. To me, Cicely, the
air of this open sea is as fresh and invigorating as if it were wafted
from our own distant America!"

"If you have not the arm of a patriot, you at least possess a most loyal
imagination, Miss Plowden," said Griffith, laughing; "this soft breeze
blows in the direction of the fens of Holland, instead of the broad
plains of America.--Thank God, there come the signs of day, at last!
unless the currents have swept the ship far to the north, we shall
surely see her with the light."

This cheering intelligence drew the eyes of the fair cousins towards the
east, where their delighted looks were long fastened, while they watched
the glories of the sun rising over the water. As the morning had
advanced, a deeper gloom was spread across the ocean, and the stars were
gleaming in the heavens like balls of twinkling fire. But now a streak
of pale light showed itself along the horizon, growing brighter, and
widening at each moment, until long fleecy clouds became visible, where
nothing had been seen before but the dim base of the arch that overhung
the dark waters. This expanding light, which, in appearance, might be
compared to a silvery opening in the heavens, was soon tinged with a
pale flush, which quickened with sudden transitions into glows yet
deeper, until a belt of broad flame bounded the water, diffusing itself
more faintly towards the zenith, where it melted into the pearl-colored
sky, or played on the fantastic volumes of a few light clouds with
inconstant glimmering. While these beautiful transitions were still
before the eyes of the youthful admirers of their beauties, a voice was
heard above them, crying as if from the heavens:

"Sail-ho! The frigate lies broad off to the seaward, sir!"

"Ay, ay; you have been watching with one eye asleep, fellow," returned
Griffith, "or we should have heard you before! Look a little north of
the place where the glare of the sun is coming, Miss Plowden, and you
will be able to see our gallant vessel."

An involuntary cry of pleasure burst from the lips of Katherine, as she
followed his directions, and first beheld the frigate through the medium
of the fluctuating colors of the morning. The undulating outline of the
lazy ocean, which rose and fell heavily against the bright boundary of
the heavens, was without any relief to distract the eye as it fed
eagerly on the beauties of the solitary ship. She was riding sluggishly
on the long seas, with only two of her lower and smaller sails spread,
to hold her in command; but her tall masts and heavy yards were painted
against the fiery sky in strong lines of deep black, while even the
smallest cord in the mazes of her rigging might be distinctly traced,
stretching from spar to spar, with the beautiful accuracy of a picture.
At moments, when her huge hull rose on a billow and was lifted against
the background of the sky, its shape and dimensions were brought into
view; but these transient glimpses were soon lost, as it settled into
the trough, leaving the waving spars bowing gracefully towards the
waters, as if about to follow the vessel into the bosom of the deep. As
a clearer light gradually stole on the senses, the delusion of colors
and distance vanished together, and when a flood of day preceded the
immediate appearance of the sun, the ship became plainly visible within
a mile of the cutter, her black hull checkered with ports, and her high,
tapering masts exhibiting their proper proportions and hues.

At the first cry of "A sail!" the crew of the Alacrity had been aroused
from their slumbers by the shrill whistle of the boatswain, and long
before the admiring looks of the two cousins had ceased to dwell on the
fascinating sight of morning chasing night from the hemisphere, the
cutter was again in motion to join her consort. It seemed but a moment
before their little vessel was in, what the timid females thought, a
dangerous proximity to the frigate, under whose lee she slowly passed,
in order to admit of the following dialogue between Griffith and his
aged commander:

"I rejoice to see you, Mr. Griffith!" cried the captain, who stood in
the channel of his ship, waving his hat in the way of cordial greeting.
"You are welcome back, Captain Manual, welcome, welcome, all of you, my
boys! as welcome as a breeze in the calm latitudes." As his eye,
however, passed along the deck of the Alacrity, it encountered the
shrinking figures of Cecilia and Katherine; and a dark shade of
displeasure crossed his decent features, while he added: "How's this,
gentlemen? The frigate of Congress is neither a ballroom nor a church,
that is to be thronged with women!"

"Ay, ay," muttered Boltrope to his friend the chaplain, "now the old man
has hauled out his mizzen, you'll see him carry a weather-helm! He wakes
up about as often as the trades shift their points, and that's once in
six months. But when there has been a neap-tide in his temper for any
time, you're sure to find it followed by a flood with a vengeance. Let
us hear what the first lieutenant can say in favor of his petticoat
quality!"

The blushing sky had not exhibited a more fiery glow than gleamed in the
fine face of Griffith for a moment; but, struggling with his disgust, he
answered with bitter emphasis:

"'Twas the pleasure of Mr. Gray, sir, to bring off the prisoners."

"Of Mr. Gray!" repeated the captain, instantly losing every trace of
displeasure in an air of acquiescence. "Come-to, sir, on the same tack
with the ship, and I will hasten to order the accommodation-ladder
rigged, to receive our guests!"

Boltrope listened to this sudden alteration in the language of his
commander with sufficient wonder; nor was it until he had shaken his
head repeatedly, with the manner of one who saw deeper than his
neighbors into a mystery, that he found leisure to observe:

"Now, parson, I suppose if you held an almanac in your fist, you'd think
you could tell which way we shall have the wind to-morrow! but damn me,
priest, if better calculators than you haven't failed! Because a
lubberly--no, he's a thorough seaman, I'll say that for the fellow!--
because a pilot chooses to say, 'Bring me off these here women,' the
ship is to be so cluttered with she-cattle, that a man will be obligated
to spend half his time in making his manners! Now mind what I tell you,
priest, this very frolic will cost Congress the price of a year's wages
for an able-bodied seaman in bunting and canvas for screens; besides the
wear and tear of running-gear in shortening sail, in order that the
women need not be 'stericky in squalls!"

The presence of Mr. Boltrope being required to take charge of the
cutter, the divine was denied an opportunity of dissenting from the
opinions of his rough companion; for the loveliness of their novel
shipmates had not failed to plead loudly in their favor with every man
in the cutter whose habits and ideas had not become rigidly set in
obstinacy.

By the time the Alacrity was hove-to, with her head towards the frigate,
the long line of boats that she had been towing during the latter part
of the night were brought to her side, and filled with men. A wild scene
of unbridled merriment and gayety succeeded, while the seamen were
exchanging the confinement of the prize for their accustomed lodgings in
the ship, during which the reins of discipline were slightly relaxed.
Loud laughter was echoed from boat to boat, as they glided by each
other; and rude jests, interlarded with quaint humors and strange oaths,
were freely bandied from mouth to mouth. The noise, however, soon
ceased, and the passage of Colonel Howard and his wards was then
effected with less precipitancy and due decorum. Captain Munson, who had
been holding a secret dialogue with Griffith and the Pilot, received his
unexpected guests with plain hospitality, but with an evident desire to
be civil. He politely yielded to their service his two convenient
staterooms, and invited them to partake, in common with himself, of the
comforts of the great cabin.




CHAPTER XXXIII.

  "Furious press the hostile squadron,
  Furious he repels their rage.
  Loss of blood at length enfeebles;
  Who can war with thousands wage?"
  _Spanish War Song._


We cannot detain the narrative to detail the scenes which busy wonder,
aided by the relation of divers marvelous feats, produced among the
curious seamen who remained in the ship, and their more fortunate
fellows who had returned in glory from an expedition to the land. For
nearly an hour the turbulence of a general movement was heard, issuing
from the deep recesses of the frigate, and the boisterous sounds of
hoarse merriment were listened to by the officers in indulgent silence;
but all these symptoms of unbridled humor ceased by the time the morning
repast was ended, when the regular sea-watch was set, and the greater
portion of those whose duty did not require their presence on the
vessel's deck, availed themselves of the opportunity to repair the loss
of sleep sustained in the preceding night. Still no preparations were
made to put the ship in motion, though long and earnest consultations,
which were supposed to relate to their future destiny, were observed by
the younger officers to be held between their captain, the first
lieutenant, and the mysterious Pilot. The latter threw many an anxious
glance along the eastern horizon, searching it minutely with his glass,
and then would turn his impatient looks at the low, dense bank of fog,
which, stretching across the ocean like a barrier of cloud, entirely
intercepted the view towards the south. To the north and along the land
the air was clear, and the sea without a spot of any kind; but in the
east a small white sail had been discovered since the opening of day,
which was gradually rising above the water, and assuming the appearance
of a vessel of some size. Every officer on the quarter-deck in his turn
had examined this distant sail, and had ventured an opinion on its
destination and character; and even Katherine, who with her cousin was
enjoying, in the open air, the novel beauties of the ocean, had been
tempted to place her sparkling eye to a glass, to gaze at the stranger.

"It is a collier," Griffith said, "who has hauled from the land in the
late gale, and who is luffing up to his course again. If the wind holds
here in the south, and he does not get into that fog-bank, we can stand
off for him and get a supply of fuel before eight bells are struck."

"I think his head is to the northward, and that he is steering off the
wind," returned the Pilot, in a musing manner, "If that Dillon succeeded
in getting his express far enough along the coast, the alarm has been
spread, and we must be wary. The convoy of the Baltic trade is in the
North Sea, and news of our presence could easily have been taken off to
it by some of the cutters that line the coast, I could wish to get the
ship as far south as the Helder!"

"Then we lose this weather tide!" exclaimed the impatient Griffith;
"surely we have the cutter as a lookout! besides, by beating into the
fog, we shall lose the enemy, if enemy it be, and it is thought meet for
an American frigate to skulk from her foes!"

The scornful expression that kindled the eye of the Pilot, like a gleam
of sunshine lighting for an instant some dark dell and laying bare its
secrets, was soon lost in the usually quiet look of his glance, though
he hesitated like one who was struggling with his passions before he
answered:

"If prudence and the service of the States require it, even this proud
frigate must retreat and hide from the meanest of her enemies. My
advice, Captain Munson, is, that you make sail, and beat the ship to
windward, as Mr. Griffith has suggested, and that you order the cutter
to precede us, keeping more in with the land."

The aged seaman, who evidently suspended his orders only to receive an
intimation of the other's pleasure, immediately commanded his youthful
assistant to issue the necessary mandates to put these measures in
force. Accordingly, the Alacrity, which vessel had been left under the
command of the junior lieutenant of the frigate, was quickly under way;
and, making short stretches to windward, she soon entered the bank of
fog, and was lost to the eye. In the mean time the canvas of the ship
was loosened, and spread leisurely, in order not to disturb the portion
of the crew who were sleeping; and, following her little consort, she
moved heavily through the water, bearing up against the dull breeze.

The quiet of regular duty had succeeded to the bustle of making sail;
and, as the rays of the sun fell less obliquely on the distant land,
Katherine and Cecilia were amusing Griffith by vain attempts to point
out the rounded eminences which they fancied lay in the vicinity of the
deserted mansion of St. Ruth. Barnstable, who had resumed his former
station in the frigate as her second lieutenant, was pacing the opposite
side of the quarter-deck, holding under his arm the speaking-trumpet,
which denoted that he held the temporary control of the motions of the
ship, and inwardly cursing the restraint that kept him from the side of
his mistress. At this moment of universal quiet, when nothing above low
dialogues interrupted the dashing of the waves as they were thrown
lazily aside by the bows of the vessel, the report of a light cannon
burst out of the barrier of fog, and rolled by them on the breeze,
apparently vibrating with the rising and sinking of the waters.

"There goes the cutter!" exclaimed Griffith, the instant the sound was
heard.

"Surely," said the captain, "Somers is not so indiscreet as to scale his
guns, after the caution he has received!"

"No idle scaling of guns is intended there," said the Pilot, straining
his eyes to pierce the fog, but soon turning away in disappointment at
his inability to succeed--"that gun is shotted, and has been fired in
the hurry of a sudden signal!--can your lookouts see nothing, Mr.
Barnstable?"

The lieutenant of the watch hailed the man aloft, and demanded if
anything were visible in the direction of the wind, and received for
answer that the fog intercepted the view in that quarter of the heavens,
but that the sail in the east was a ship, running large, or before the
wind. The Pilot shook his head doubtingly at this information, but still
he manifested a strong reluctance to relinquish the attempt of getting
more to the southward. Again he communed with the commander of the
frigate, apart from all other ears; and while they yet deliberated, a
second report was heard, leaving no doubt that the Alacrity was firing
signal-guns for their particular attention.

"Perhaps," said Griffith, "he wishes to point out his position, or to
ascertain ours; believing that we are lost like himself in the mist"

"We have our compasses!" returned the doubting captain; "Somers has a
meaning in what he says!"

"See!" cried Katherine, with girlish delight, "see, my cousin! see,
Barnstable! how beautifully that vapor is wreathing itself in clouds
above the smoky line of fog! It stretches already into the very heavens
like a lofty pyramid!"

Barnstable sprang lightly on a gun, as he repeated her words:

"Pyramids of fog! and wreathing clouds! By heaven!" he shouted, "'tis a
tall ship! Royals, skysails, and stud-dingsails all abroad! She is
within a mile of us, and comes down like a racehorse, with a spanking
breeze, dead before it! Now know we why Somers is speaking in the mist!"

"Ay," cried Griffith, "and there goes the Alacrity, just breaking out of
the fog, hovering in for the land!"

"There is a mighty hull under all that cloud of canvas, Captain Munson,"
said the observant but calm Pilot: "it is time, gentlemen, to edge away
to leeward."

"What, before we know from whom we run!" cried Griffith; "my life on it,
there is no single ship King George owns but would tire of the sport
before she had played a full game of bowls with--"

The haughty air of the young man was daunted by the severe look he
encountered in the eye of the Pilot, and he suddenly ceased, though
inwardly chafing with impatient pride.

"The same eye that detected the canvas above the fog might have seen the
flag of a vice-admiral fluttering still nearer the heavens," returned
the collected stranger; "and England, faulty as she may be, is yet too
generous to place a flag-officer in time of war in command of a frigate,
or a captain in command of a fleet. She knows the value of those who
shed their blood in her behalf, and it is thus that she is so well
served! Believe me, Captain Munson, there is nothing short of a ship of
the line under that symbol of rank and that broad show of canvas!"

"We shall see, sir, we shall see," returned the old officer, whose
manner grew decided, as the danger appeared to thicken; "beat to
quarters, Mr. Griffith, for we have none but enemies to expect on this
coast"

The order was instantly issued, when Griffith remarked, with a more
temperate zeal:

"If Mr. Gray be right, we shall have reason to thank God that we are so
light of heel!"

The cry of "a strange vessel close aboard the frigate" having already
flown down the hatches, the ship was in an uproar at the first tap of
the drum. The seamen threw themselves from their hammocks, and lashing
them rapidly into long, hard bundles, they rushed to the decks, where
they were dexterously stowed in the netting, to aid the defences of the
upper part of the vessel. While this tumultuous scene was exhibiting,
Griffith gave a secret order to Merry, who disappeared, leading his
trembling cousins to a place of safety in the inmost depths of the ship.

The guns were cleared of their lumber and loosened. The bulkheads were
knocked down, and the cabin relieved of its furniture; and the gun-deck
exhibited one unbroken line of formidable cannon, arranged in all the
order of a naval battery ready to engage. Arm-chests were thrown open,
and the decks strewed with pikes, cutlasses, pistols, and all the
various weapons for boarding. In short, the yards were slung, and every
other arrangement was made with a readiness and dexterity that were
actually wonderful, though all was performed amid an appearance of
disorder and confusion that rendered the ship another Babel during the
continuance of the preparations. In a very few minutes everything was
completed, and even the voices of the men ceased to be heard answering
to their names, as they were mustered at their stations, by their
respective officers. Gradually the ship became as quiet as the grave;
and when even Griffith or his commander found it necessary to speak,
their voices were calmer, and their tones more mild than usual. The
course of the vessel was changed to an oblique line from that in which
their enemy was approaching, though the appearance of flight was to be
studiously avoided to the last moment. When nothing further remained to
be done, every eye became fixed on the enormous pile of swelling canvas
that was rising, in cloud over cloud, far above the fog, and which was
manifestly moving, like driving vapor, swiftly to the north. Presently
the dull, smoky boundary of the mist which rested on the water was
pushed aside in vast volumes, and the long taper spars that projected
from the bowsprit of the strange ship issued from the obscurity, and
were quickly followed by the whole of the enormous fabric to which they
were merely light appendages. For a moment, streaks of reluctant vapor
clung to the huge floating pile; but they were soon shaken off by the
rapid vessel, and the whole of her black hull became distinct to the
eye.

"One, two, three rows of teeth!" said Boltrope, deliberately counting
the tiers of guns that bristled along the sides of the enemy; "a three-
decker! Jack Manly would show his stern to such a fellow t, and even the
bloody Scotchman would run!"

"Hard up with your helm, quartermaster!" cried Captain Munson; "there is
indeed no time to hesitate, with such an enemy within a quarter of a
mile! Turn the hands up, Mr. Griffith, and pack on the ship from her
trucks to her lower studdingsail-booms. Be stirring, sir, be stirring!
Hard up with your helm! Hard up, and be damn'd to you!"

The unusual earnestness of their aged commander acted on the startled
crew like a voice from the deep, and they waited not for the usual
signals of the boatswain and drummer to be given, before they broke away
from their guns, and rushed tumultuously to aid in spreading the desired
canvas. There was one minute of ominous confusion, that to an
inexperienced eye would have foreboded the destruction of all order in
the vessel, during which every hand, and each tongue, seemed in motion;
but it ended in opening the immense folds of light duck which were
displayed along the whole line of the masts, far beyond the ordinary
sails, overshadowing the waters for a great distance, on either side of
the vessel. During the moment of inaction that succeeded this sudden
exertion, the breeze, which had brought up the three-decker, fell
fresher on the sails of the frigate, and she started away from her
dangerous enemy with a very perceptible advantage in point of sailing.

"The fog rises!" cried Griffith; "give us but the wind for an hour, and
we shall run her out of gunshot!"

"These nineties are very fast off the wind," returned the captain, in a
low tone, that was intended only for the ears of his first lieutenant
and the Pilot; "and we shall have a struggle for it."

The quick eye of the stranger was glancing over the movements of his
enemy, while he answered:

"He finds we have the heels of him already! he is making ready, and we
shall be fortunate to escape a broadside! Let her yaw a little, Mr.
Griffith; touch her lightly with the helm; if we are raked, sir, we are
lost!"

The captain sprang on the taffrail of his ship with the activity of a
younger man, and in an instant he perceived the truth of the other's
conjecture.

Both vessels now ran for a few minutes, keenly watching each other's
motions like two skilful combatants; the English ship making slight
deviations from the line of her course, and then, as her movements were
anticipated by the other, turning as cautiously in the opposite
direction, until a sudden and wide sweep of her huge bows told the
Americans plainly on which tack to expect her. Captain Munson made a
silent but impressive gesture with his arm, as if the crisis were too
important for speech, which indicated to the watchful Griffith the way
he wished the frigate sheered, to avoid the weight of the impending
danger. Both vessels whirled swiftly up to the wind, with their heads
towards the land; and as the huge black side of the three-decker,
checkered with its triple batteries, frowned full upon her foe, it
belched forth a flood of fire and smoke, accompanied by a bellowing roar
that mocked the surly moanings of the sleeping ocean. The nerves of the
bravest man in the frigate contracted their fibres, as the hurricane of
iron hurtled by them, and each eye appeared to gaze in stupid wonder, as
if tracing the flight of the swift engines of destruction. But the voice
of Captain Munson was heard in the din, shouting while he waved his hat
earnestly in the required direction:

"Meet her! meet her with the helm, boy! meet her, Mr. Griffith, meet
her!"

Griffith had so far anticipated this movement as to have already ordered
the head of the frigate to be turned in its former course, when, struck
by the unearthly cry of the last tones uttered by his commander, he bent
his head, and beheld the venerable seaman driven through the air, his
hat still waving, his gray hair floating in the wind, and his eye set in
the wild look of death.

"Great God!" exclaimed the young man, rushing to the side of the ship,
where he was just in time to see the lifeless body disappear in the
waters that were dyed in its blood; "he has been struck by a shot! Lower
away the boat, lower away the jolly-boat, the barge, the tiger, the----"

"'Tis useless," interrupted the calm, deep voice of the Pilot; "he has
met a warrior's end, and he sleeps in a sailor's grave! The ship is
getting before the wind again, and the enemy is keeping his vessel
away."

The youthful lieutenant was recalled by these words to his duty, and
reluctantly turned his eyes away from the bloody spot on the waters,
which the busy frigate had already passed, to resume the command of the
vessel with a forced composure.

"He has cut some of our running-gear," said the master, whose eye had
never ceased to dwell on the spars and rigging of the ship; "and there's
a splinter out of the maintopmast that is big enough for a fid! He has
let daylight through some of our canvas too; but, taking it by-and-
large, the squall has gone over and little harm done. Didn't I hear
something said of Captain Munson getting jammed by a shot?"

"He is killed!" said Griffith, speaking in a voice that was yet husky
with horror--"he is dead, sir, and carried overboard; there is more need
that we forget not ourselves, in this crisis."

"Dead!" said Boltrope, suspending the operation of his active jaws for a
moment, in surprise; "and buried in a wet jacket! Well, it is lucky 'tis
no worse; for damme if I did not think every stick in the ship would
have been cut out of her!"

With this consolatory remark on his lips, the master walked slowly
forward, continuing his orders to repair the damages with a singleness
of purpose that rendered him, however uncouth as a friend, an invaluable
man in his station.

Griffith had not yet brought his mind to the calmness that was so
essential to discharge the duties which had thus suddenly and awfully
devolved on him, when his elbow was lightly touched by the Pilot, who
had drawn closer to his side.

"The enemy appear satisfied with the experiment," said the stranger;
"and as we work the quicker of the two, he loses too much ground to
repeat it, if he be a true seaman."

"And yet as he finds we leave him so fast," returned Griffith, "he must
see that all his hopes rest in cutting us up aloft. I dread that he will
come by the wind again, and lay us under his broadside; we should need a
quarter of an hour to run without his range, if he were anchored!"

"He plays a surer game--see you not that the vessel we made in the
eastern board shows the hull of a frigate? 'Tis past a doubt that they
are of one squadron, and that the expresses have sent them in our wake.
The English admiral has spread a broad clew, Mr. Griffith; and, as he
gathers in his ships, he sees that his game has been successful."

The faculties of Griffith had been too much occupied with the hurry of
the chase to look at the ocean; but, startled at the information of the
Pilot, who spoke coolly, though like a man sensible of the existence of
approaching danger, he took the glass from the other, and with his own
eye examined the different vessels in sight. It is certain that the
experienced officer, whose flag was flying above the light sails of the
three-decker, saw the critical situation of his chase, and reasoned much
in the same manner as the Pilot, or the fearful expedient apprehended by
Griffith would have been adopted. Prudence, however, dictated that he
should prevent his enemy from escaping by pressing so closely on his
rear as to render it impossible for the American to haul across his bows
and run into the open sea between his own vessel and the nearest frigate
of his squadron. The unpractised reader will be able to comprehend the
case better by accompanying the understanding eye of Griffith, as it
glanced from point to point, following the whole horizon. To the west
lay the land, along which the Alacrity was urging her way industriously,
with the double purpose of keeping her consort abeam, and of avoiding a
dangerous proximity to their powerful enemy. To the east, bearing off
the starboard bow of the American frigate, was the vessel first seen,
and which now began to exhibit the hostile appearance of a ship of war,
steering in a line converging towards themselves, and rapidly drawing
nigher; while far in the northeast was a vessel as yet faintly
discerned, whose evolutions could not be mistaken by one who understood
the movements of nautical warfare.

"We are hemmed in effectually," said Griffith, dropping the glass from
his eye; "and I know not but our wisest course would be to haul in to
the land, and, cutting everything light adrift, endeavor to pass the
broadside of the flag-ship."

"Provided she left a rag of canvas to do it with!" returned the Pilot.
"Sir, 'tis an idle hope! She would strip your ship in ten minutes, to her
plankshears. Had it not been for a lucky wave on which so many of her
shot struck and glanced upwards, we should have nothing to boast of left
from the fire she has already given; we must stand on, and drop the
three-decker as far as possible."

"But the frigates?" said Griffith, "What are we to do with the
frigates?"

"Fight them!" returned the Pilot, in a low determined voice; "fight
them! Young man, I have borne the stars and stripes aloft in greater
straits than this, and even with honor! Think not that my fortune will
desert me now."

"We shall have an hour of desperate battle!"

"On that we may calculate; but I have lived through whole days of
bloodshed! You seem not one to quail at the sight of an enemy."

"Let me proclaim your name to the men!" said Griffith; "'twill quicken
their blood, and at such a moment be a host in itself."

"They want it not," returned the Pilot, checking the hasty zeal of the
other with his hand. "I would be unnoticed, unless I am known as becomes
me. I will share your Danger, but would not rob you of a tittle of your
glory. Should we come to grapple," he continued, while a smile of
conscious pride gleamed across his face, "I will give forth the word as
a war-cry, and, believe me, these English will quail before it!"

Griffith submitted to the stranger's will; and, after they had
deliberated further on the nature of their evolutions, he gave his
attention again to the management of the vessel. The first object which
met his eye on turning from the Pilot was Colonel Howard, pacing the
quarter-deck with a determined brow and a haughty mien, as if already in
the enjoyment of that triumph which now seemed certain.

"I fear, sir," said the young man, approaching him with respect, "that
you will soon find the deck unpleasant and dangerous; your wards
are----"

"Mention not the unworthy term!" interrupted the colonel. "What greater
pleasure can there be than to inhale the odor of loyalty that is wafted
from yonder floating tower of the king?--And danger! you know but little
of old George Howard, young man, if you think he would for thousands
miss seeing that symbol of rebellion leveled before the flag of his
majesty."

"If that be your wish, Colonel Howard," returned Griffith, biting his
lip as he looked around at the wondering seamen who were listeners, "you
will wait in vain; but I pledge you my word that when that time arrives
you shall be advised, and that your own hands shall do the ignoble
deed."

"Edward Griffith, why not this moment? This is your moment of probation
--submit to the clemency of the crown, and yield your crew to the royal
mercy! In such a case I would remember the child of my brother Harry's
friend; and believe me, my name is known to the ministry. And you,
misguided and ignorant abettors of rebellion! Cast aside your useless
weapons, or prepare to meet the vengeance of yonder powerful and
victorious servant of your prince."

"Fall back! back with ye, fellows!" cried Griffith, fiercely, to the men
who were gathering around the colonel, with looks of sullen vengeance.
"If a man of you dare approach him, he shall be cast into the sea."

The sailors retreated at the order of their commander; but the elated
veteran had continued to pace the deck for many minutes before stronger
interests diverted the angry glances of the seamen to other objects.

Notwithstanding the ship of the line was slowly sinking beneath the
distant waves, and in less than an hour from the time she had fired the
broadside, no more than one of her three tiers of guns was visible from
the deck of the frigate, she yet presented an irresistible obstacle
against retreat to the south. On the other hand, the ship first seen
drew so nigh as to render the glass no longer necessary in watching her
movements. She proved to be a frigate, though one so materially lighter
than the American as to have rendered her conquest easy, had not her two
consorts continued to press on for the scene of battle with such
rapidity. During the chase, the scene had shifted from the point
opposite to St. Ruth, to the verge of those shoals where our tale
commenced. As they approached the latter, the smallest of the English
ships drew so nigh as to render the combat unavoidable. Griffith and his
crew had not been idle in the intermediate time, but all the usual
preparations against the casualties of a sea-fight had been duly made,
when the drum once more called the men to their quarters, and the ship
was deliberately stripped of her unnecessary sails, like a prize-fighter
about to enter the arena, casting aside the encumbrances of dress. At
the instant she gave this intimation of her intention to abandon flight,
and trust the issue to the combat, the nearest English frigate also took
in her light canvas in token of her acceptance of the challenge.

"He is but a little fellow," said Griffith to the Pilot, who hovered at
his elbow with a sort of fatherly interest in the other's conduct of the
battle, "though he carries a stout heart."

"We must crush him at a blow," returned the stranger; "not a shot must
be delivered until our yards are locking."

"I see him training his twelves upon us already; we may soon expect his
fire."

"After standing the brunt of a ninety-gun ship," observed the collected
Pilot, "we shall not shrink from the broadside of a two-and-thirty."

"Stand to your guns, men!" cried Griffith, through his trumpet--"not a
shot is to be fired without the order."

This caution, so necessary to check the ardor of the seamen, was hardly
uttered, before their enemy became wrapped in sheets of fire and volumes
of smoke, as gun after gun hurled its iron missiles at their vessel in
quick succession. Ten minutes might have passed, the two vessels
sheering close to each other every foot they advanced, during which time
the crew of the American were compelled, by their commander, to suffer
the fire of their adversary, without returning a shot. This short
period, which seemed an age to the seamen, was distinguished in their
vessel by deep silence. Even the wounded and dying, who fell in every
part of the ship, stifled their groans, under the influence of the
severe discipline, which gave a character to every man, and each
movement of the vessel; and those officers who were required to speak
were heard only in the lowest tones of resolute preparation. At length
the ship slowly entered the skirts of the smoke that enveloped their
enemy; and Griffith heard the man who stood at his side whisper the word
"Now."

"Let them have it!" cried Griffith, in a voice that was heard in the
remotest parts of the ship.

The shout that burst from the seamen appeared to lift the decks of the
vessel, and the affrighted frigate trembled like an aspen with the
recoil of her own massive artillery, that shot forth a single sheet of
flame, the sailors having disregarded, in their impatience, the usual
order of firing. The effect of the broadside on the enemy was still more
dreadful; for a death-like silence succeeded to the roar of the guns,
which was only broken by the shrieks and execrations that burst from
her, like the moanings of the damned. During the few moments in which
the Americans were again loading their cannon, and the English were
recovering from their confusion, the vessel of the former moved slowly
past her antagonist, and was already doubling across her bows, when the
latter was suddenly, and, considering the inequality of their forces, it
may be added desperately, headed into her enemy. The two frigates
grappled. The sudden and furious charge made by the Englishman, as he
threw his masses of daring seamen along his bowsprit, and out of his
channels, had nearly taken Griffith by surprise; but Manual, who had
delivered his first fire with the broadside, now did good service, by
ordering his men to beat back the intruders, by a steady and continued
discharge. Even the wary Pilot lost sight of their other foes, in the
high daring of that moment, and smiles of stern pleasure were exchanged
between him and Griffith as both comprehended, at a glance, their
advantages.

"Lash his bowsprit to our mizzenmast," shouted the lieutenant, "and we
will sweep his decks as he lies!"

Twenty men sprang eagerly forward to execute the order, among the
foremost of whom were Boltrope and the stranger.

"Ay, now he's our own!" cried the busy master, "and we will take an
owner's liberties with him, and break him up--for by the eternal----"

"Peace, rude man," said the Pilot, in a voice of solemn remonstrance;
"at the next instant you may face your God; mock not his awful name!"

The master found time, before he threw himself from the spar on the deck
of the frigate again, to cast a look of amazement at his companion, who,
with a steady mien, but with an eye that lighted with a warrior's ardor,
viewed the battle that raged around him, like one who marked its
progress to control the result.

The sight of the Englishmen rushing onward with shouts and bitter
menaces warmed the blood of Colonel Howard, who pressed to the side of
the frigate, and encouraged his friends, by his gestures and voice, to
come on.

"Away with ye, old croaker!" cried the master, seizing him by the
collar; "away with ye to the hold, or I'll order you fired from a gun."

"Down with your arms, rebellious dog!" shouted the colonel, carried
beyond himself by the ardor of the fray; "down to the dust, and implore
the mercy of your injured prince!"

Invigorated by a momentary glow, the veteran grappled with his brawny
antagonist; but the issue of the short struggle was yet suspended, when
the English, driven back by the fire of the marines, and the menacing
front that Griffith with his boarders presented, retreated to the
forecastle of their own ship, and attempted to return the deadly blows
they were receiving, in their hull, from the cannon that Barnstable
directed. A solitary gun was all they could bring to bear on the
Americans; but this, loaded with cannister, was fired so near as to send
its glaring flame into the very faces of their enemies. The struggling
colonel, who was already sinking beneath the arm of his foe, felt the
rough grasp loosen from his throat at the flash, and the two combatants
sunk powerless on their knees facing each other.

"How, now, brother!" exclaimed Boltrope, with a smile of grim
fierceness; "some of that grist has gone to your mill, ha!"

No answer could, however, be given before the yielding forms of both
fell to the deck, where they lay helpless, amid the din of the battle
and the wild confusion of the eager combatants.

Notwithstanding the furious struggle they witnessed, the elements did
not cease their functions; and, urged by the breeze, and lifted
irresistibly on a wave, the American ship was forced through the water
still further across the bows of her enemy. The idle fastenings of hemp
and iron were snapped asunder like strings of tow, and Griffith saw his
own ship borne away from the Englishman at the instant that the bowsprit
of the latter was torn from its lashings, and tumbled into the sea,
followed by spar after spar, until nothing of all her proud tackling was
remaining, but the few parted and useless ropes that were left dangling
along the stumps of her lower masts. As his own stately vessel moved
from the confusion she had caused, and left the dense cloud of smoke in
which her helpless antagonist lay, the eye of the young man glanced
anxiously toward the horizon, where he now remembered he had more foes
to contend against.

"We have shaken off the thirty-two most happily!" he said to the Pilot,
who followed his motions with singular interest; "but here is another
fellow sheering in for us, who shows as many ports as ourselves, and who
appears inclined for a closer interview; besides, the hull of the ninety
is rising again, and I fear she will be down but too soon!"

"We must keep the use of our braces and sails," returned the Pilot, "and
on no account close with the other frigate; we must play a double game,
sir, and fight this new adversary with our heels as well as with our
guns."

"'Tis time then that we were busy, for he is shortening sail, and as he
nears so fast we may expect to hear from him every minute; what do you
propose, sir?"

"Let him gather in his canvas," returned the Pilot; "and when he thinks
himself snug, we can throw out a hundred men at once upon our yards, and
spread everything alow and aloft; we may then draw ahead of him by
surprise; if we can once get him in our wake, I have no fears of
dropping them all."

"A stern chase is a long chase," cried Griffith, "and the thing may do!
Clear up the decks, here, and carry down the wounded; and, as we have
our hands full, the poor fellows who have done with us must go overboard
at once."

This melancholy duty was instantly attended to, while the young seaman
who commanded the frigate returned to his duty with the absorbed air of
one who felt its high responsibility. These occupations, however, did
not prevent his hearing the sounds of Barnstable's voice calling eagerly
to young Merry. Bending his head towards the sound, Griffith beheld his
friend looking anxiously up the main hatch, with a face grimed with
smoke, his coat off, and his shirt bespattered with human blood. "Tell
me, boy," he said, "is Mr. Griffith untouched? They say that a shot came
in upon the quarter-deck that tripped up the heels of half a dozen."

Before Merry could answer, the eyes of Barnstable, which even while he
spoke was scanning the state of the vessel's rigging, encountered the
kind looks of Griffith, and from that moment perfect harmony was
restored between the friends.

"Ah! you are there, Griff, and with a whole skin, I see," cried
Barnstable, smiling with pleasure; "they have passed poor Boltrope down
into one of his own storerooms! If that fellow's bowsprit had held on
ten minutes longer, what a mark I should have made on his face and
eyes!"

"'Tis perhaps best as it is," returned Griffith; "but what have you done
with those whom we are most bound to protect?"

Barnstable made a significant gesture towards the depths of the vessel,
as he answered:

"On the cables; safe as wood, iron, and water can keep them--though
Katherine has had her head up three times to----"

A summons from the Pilot drew Griffith away; and the young officers were
compelled to forget their individual feelings, in the pressing duties of
their stations. The ship which the American frigate had now to oppose
was a vessel of near her own size and equipage; and when Griffith looked
at her again, he perceived that she had made her preparations to assert
her equality in manful fight.

Her sails had been gradually reduced to the usual quantity, and, by
certain movements on her decks the lieutenant and his constant
attendant, the Pilot, well understood that she only wanted to lessen her
distance a few hundred yards to begin the action.

"Now spread everything," whispered the stranger.

Griffith applied the trumpet to his mouth, and shouted in a voice that
was carried even to his enemy: "Let fall-out with your booms--sheet
home--hoist away of everything!"

The inspiring cry was answered by a universal bustle; fifty men flew out
on the dizzy heights of the different spars, while broad sheets of
canvas rose as suddenly along the masts as if some mighty bird were
spreading its wings. The Englishman instantly perceived his mistake, and
he answered the artifice by a roar of artillery. Griffith watched the
effects of the broadside with an absorbing interest, as the shot
whistled above his head; but when he perceived his masts untouched, and
the few unimportant ropes only that were cut, he replied to the uproar
with a burst of pleasure. A few men were, however, seen clinging with
wild frenzy to the cordage, dropping from rope to rope like wounded
birds fluttering through a tree, until they fell heavily into the ocean,
the sullen ship sweeping by them in cold indifference. At the next
instant the spars and masts of their enemy exhibited a display of men
similar to their own, when Griffith again placed the trumpet to his
mouth, and shouted aloud:

"Give it to them; drive them from their yards, boys; scatter them with
your grape--unreeve their rigging!"

The crew of the American wanted but little encouragement to enter on
this experiment with hearty good will, and the close of his cheering
words were uttered amid the deafening roar of his own cannon. The Pilot
had, however, mistaken the skill and readiness of their foe; for,
notwithstanding the disadvantageous circumstances under which the
Englishman increased his sail, the duty was steadily and dexterously
performed.

The two ships were now running rapidly on parallel lines, hurling at
each other their instruments of destruction with furious industry, and
with severe and certain loss to both, though with no manifest advantage
in favor of either. Both Griffith and the Pilot witnessed with deep
concern this unexpected defeat of their hopes; for they could not
conceal from themselves that each moment lessened their velocity through
the water, as the shot of their enemy stripped the canvas from the
yards, or dashed aside the lighter spars in their terrible progress.

"We find our equal here!" said Griffith to the stranger. "The ninety is
heaving up again like a mountain; and if we continue to shorten sail at
this rate, she will soon be down upon us!"

"You say true, sir," returned the Pilot, musing; "the man shows judgment
as well as spirit: but--"

He was interrupted by Merry, who rushed from the forward part of the
vessel, his whole face betokening the eagerness of his spirit, and the
importance of his intelligence.

"The breakers!" he cried, when nigh enough to be heard amid the din: "we
are running dead on a ripple, and the sea is white not two hundred yards
ahead."

The Pilot jumped on a gun, and bending to catch a glimpse through the
smoke, he shouted, in those clear, piercing tones that could be even
heard among the roaring of the cannon: "Port, port your helm! we are on
the Devil's Grip! pass up the trumpet, sir; port your helm, fellow; give
it them, boys--give it to the proud English dogs!" Griffith
unhesitatingly relinquished the symbol of his rank, fastening his own
firm look on the calm but quick eye of the Pilot, and gathering
assurance from the high confidence he read in the countenance of the
stranger. The seamen were too busy with their cannon and their rigging
to regard the new danger; and the frigate entered one of the dangerous
passes of the shoals, in the heat of a severely contested battle. The
wondering looks of a few of the older sailors glanced at the sheets of
foam that flew by them, in doubt whether the wild gambols of the waves
were occasioned by the shot of the enemy, when suddenly the noise of
cannon was succeeded by the sullen wash of the disturbed element, and
presently the vessel glided out of her smoky shroud, and was boldly
steering in the centre of the narrow passages. For ten breathless
minutes longer the Pilot continued to hold an uninterrupted sway, during
which the vessel ran swiftly by ripples and breakers, by streaks of foam
and darker passages of deep water, when he threw down his trumpet, and
exclaimed:

"What threatened to be our destruction has proved our salvation! Keep
yonder hill crowned with wood one point open from the church tower at
its base, and steer east by north; you will run through these shoals on
that course in an hour, and by so doing you will gain five leagues of
your enemy, who will have to double their tail."

The moment he stepped from the gun, the Pilot lost the air of authority
that had so singularly distinguished his animated form, and even the
close interest he had manifested in the incidents of the day became lost
in the cold, settled reserve he had affected during his intercourse with
his present associates. Every officer in the ship, after the breathless
suspense of uncertainly had passed, rushed to those places where a view
might be taken of their enemies. The ninety was still steering bol'ly
onward, and had already approached the two-and-thirty, which lay a
helpless wreck, rolling on the unruly seas that were rudely tossing her
on their wanton billows. The frigate last engaged was running along the
edge of the ripple, with her torn sails flying loosely in the air, her
ragged spars tottering in the breeze, and everything above her hull
exhibiting the confusion of a sudden and unlooked-for check to her
progress. The exulting taunts and mirthful congratulations of the
seamen, as they gazed at the English ships, were, however, soon
forgotten in the attention that was required to their own vessel. The
drums beat the retreat, the guns were lashed, the wounded again removed,
and every individual able to keep the deck was required to lend his
assistance in repairing the damages of the frigate and securing her
masts.

The promised hour carried the ship safely through all the dangers, which
were much lessened by daylight; and by the time the sun had begun to
fall over the land, Griffith, who had not quitted the deck during the
day, beheld his vessel once more cleared of the confusion of the chase
and battle, and ready to meet another foe. At this period he was
summoned to the cabin, at the request of the ship's chaplain Delivering
the charge of the frigate to Barnstable, who had been his active
assistant, no less in their subsequent labors than in the combat, he
hastily divested himself of the vestiges of the fight, and proceeded to
obey the repeated and earnest call.




CHAPTER XXXIV.

  "Whither, 'midst falling dew,
  While glow the heavens with the last steps of day,
  Far, through their rosy depths, dost thou pursue
  Thy solitary way?"
  _Bryant._


When the young seaman who now commanded the frigate descended from the
quarter-deck in compliance with the of ten-repeated summons, he found
the vessel restored to the same neatness as if nothing had occurred to
disturb its order. The gun-deck had been cleansed of its horrid stains,
and the smoke of the fight had long since ascended through the hatches
and mingled with the clouds that flitted above the ship. As he walked
along the silent batteries, even the urgency of his visit could not
prevent him from glancing his eyes towards the splintered sides, those
terrible vestiges, by which the paths of the shot of their enemy might
be traced; and by the time he tapped lightly at the door of the cabin,
his quick look had embraced every material injury the vessel had
sustained in her principal points of defence. The door was opened by the
surgeon of the frigate, who, as he stepped aside to permit Griffith to
enter, shook his head with that air of meaning, which, in one of his
profession, is understood to imply the abandonment of all hopes, and
then immediately quitted the apartment, in order to attend to those who
might profit by his services.

The reader is not to imagine that Griffith had lost sight of Cecilia and
her cousin during the occurrences of that eventful day: on the contrary,
his troubled fancy had presented her terror and distress, even in the
hottest moments of the fight; and the instant that the crew were called
from their guns he had issued an order to replace the bulkheads of the
cabin, and to arrange its furniture for their accommodation, though the
higher and imperious duties of his station had precluded his attending
to their comfort in person. He expected, therefore, to find the order of
the rooms restored; but he was by no means prepared to encounter the
scene he was now to witness.

Between two of the sullen cannon, which gave such an air of singular
wildness to the real comfort of the cabin, was placed a large couch, on
which the colonel was lying, evidently near his end. Cecilia was weeping
by his side, her dark ringlets falling in unheeded confusion around her
pale features, and sweeping in their rich exuberance the deck on which
she kneeled. Katherine leaned tenderly over the form of the dying
veteran, while her dark, tearful eyes seemed to express self-accusation
blended with deep commiseration. A few attendants of both sexes
surrounded the solemn scene, all of whom appeared to be under the
influence of the hopeless intelligence which the medical officer had but
that moment communicated. The servants of the ship had replaced the
furniture with a care that mocked the dreadful struggle that so recently
disfigured the warlike apartment, and the stout square frame of Boltrope
occupied the opposite settee, his head resting on the lap of the
captain's steward, and his hand gently held in the grasp of his friend
the chaplain. Griffith had heard of the wound of the master, but his own
eyes now conveyed the first intelligence of the situation of Colonel
Howard. When the shock of this sudden discovery had a little subsided,
the young man approached the couch of the latter, and attempted to
express his regret and pity, in a voice that afforded an assurance of
his sincerity.

"Say no more, Edward Griffith," interrupted the colonel, waving his hand
feebly for silence; "it seemeth to be the will of God that this
rebellion should triumph, and it is not for vain man to impeach the acts
of Omnipotence. To my erring faculties, it wears an appearance of
mystery, but doubtless it Is to answer the purpose of his own
inscrutable providence. I have sent for you, Edward, on a business that
I would fain see accomplished before I die, that it may not be said that
old George Howard neglected his duty, even in his last moments. You see
this weeping child at my side; tell me, young man, do you love the
maiden?"

"Am I to be asked such a question?" exclaimed Griffith.

"And will you cherish her--will you supply to her the places of father
and mother--will you become the fond guardian of her innocence and
weakness?"

Griffith could give no other answer than a fervent pressure of the hand
he had clasped.

"I believe you," continued the dying man; "for however he may have
forgotten to inculcate his own loyalty, worthy Hugh Griffith could never
neglect to make his son a man of honor. I had weak and perhaps evil
wishes in behalf of my late unfortunate kinsman, Mr. Christopher Dillon;
but, they have told me that he was false to his faith. If this be true,
I would refuse him the hand of the girl, though he claimed the fealty of
the British realms. But he has passed away, and I am about to follow him
into a world where we shall find but one Lord to serve; and it may have
been better for us both had we more remembered our duty to him, while
serving the princes of the earth. One thing further--know you this
officer of your Congress well--this Mr. Barnstable?"

"I have sailed with him for years," returned Griffith, "and can answer
for him as myself."

The veteran made an effort to rise, which in part succeeded, and he
fastened on the youth a look of keen scrutiny, that gave to his pallid
features an expression of solemn meaning, as he continued:

"Speak not now, sir, as the Companion of his idle pleasures, and as the
unthinking associate commends his fellow, but remember that your opinion
is given to a dying man who leans on your judgment for advice. The
daughter of John Plowden is a trust not to be neglected, nor will my
death prove easy, if a doubt of her being worthily bestowed shall
remain."

"He is a gentleman," returned Griffith, "and one whose heart is not less
kind than gallant--he loves your ward, and great as may be her merit, he
is deserving of it all.--Like myself, he has also loved the land that
gave him birth, before the land of his ancestors, but----"

"That is now forgotten," interrupted the colonel; "after what I have
this day witnessed, I am forced to believe that it is the pleasure of
Heaven that you are to prevail! But sir, a disobedient inferior will be
apt to make an unreasonable commander. The recent contention between
you----"

"Remember it not, dear sir," exclaimed Griffith with generous zeal;
"'twas unkindly provoked, and it is already forgotten and pardoned. He
has sustained me nobly throughout the day, and my life on it, that he
knows how to treat a woman as a brave man should!"

"Then am I content!" said the veteran, sinking back on his couch; "let
him be summoned."

The whispering message, which Griffith gave requesting Mr. Barnstable to
enter the cabin, was quickly conveyed, and he had appeared before his
friend deemed it discreet to disturb the reflections of the veteran by
again addressing him. When the entrance of the young sailor was
announced, the colonel again roused himself, and addressed his wondering
listener, though in a manner much less confiding and familiar than that
which he had adopted towards Griffith.

"The declarations you made last night relative to my ward, the daughter
of the late Captain John Plowden, sir, have left me nothing to learn on
the subject of your wishes. Here, then, gentlemen, you both obtain the
reward of your attentions! Let that reverend divine hear you pronounce
the marriage vows, while I have strength to listen, that I may be a
witness against ye, in heaven, should ye forget their tenor!"

"Not now, not now," murmured Cecilia; "oh, ask it not now, my uncle!"

Katherine spoke not; but, deeply touched by the tender interest her
guardian manifested in her welfare, she bowed her face to her bosom, in
subdued feeling, and suffered the tears that had been suffusing her eyes
to roll down her cheeks in large drops, till they bathed the deck.

"Yes, now, my love," continued the colonel, "or I fail in my duty. I go
shortly to stand face to face with your parents, my children; for the
man who, dying, expects not to meet worthy Hugh Griffith and honest Jack
Plowden in heaven can have no clear view of the rewards that belong to
lives of faithful service to the country, or of gallant loyalty to the
king! I trust no one can justly say that I ever forgot the delicacy due
to your gentle sex; but it is no moment for idle ceremony when time is
shortening into minutes, and heavy duties remain to be discharged. I
could not die in peace, children, were I to leave you here in the wide
ocean, I had almost said in the wide world, without that protection
which becomes your tender years and still more tender characters. If it
has pleased God to remove your guardian, let his place be supplied by
those he wills to succeed him!"

Cecilia no longer hesitated, but she arose slowly from her knees, and
offered her hand to Griffith with an air of forced resignation.
Katherine submitted to be led by Barnstable to her side; and the
chaplain, who had been an affected listener to the dialogue, in
obedience to an expressive signal from the eye of Griffith, opened the
prayer-book from which he had been gleaning consolation for the dying
master, and commenced reading, in trembling tones, the marriage service.
The vows were pronounced by the weeping brides in voices more distinct
and audible than if they had been uttered amid the gay crowds that
usually throng a bridal; for though they were the irreclaimable words
that bound them forever to the men whose power over their feelings they
thus proclaimed to the world, the reserve of maiden diffidence was lost
in one engrossing emotion of solemnity, created by the awful presence in
which they stood. When the benediction was pronounced, the head of
Cecilia dropped on the shoulder of her husband, where she wept
violently, for a moment, and then resuming her place at the couch, she
once more knelt at the side of her uncle. Katherine received the warm
kiss of Barnstable passively, and returned to the spot whence she had
been led.

Colonel Howard succeeded in raising his person to witness the ceremony,
and had answered to each prayer with a fervent "Amen." He fell back with
the last words; and a look of satisfaction shone in his aged and pallid
features, that declared the interest he had taken in the scene.

"I thank you, my children," he at length uttered, "I thank you; for I
know how much you have sacrificed to my wishes. You will find all my
papers relative to the estates of my wards, gentlemen, in the hands of
my banker in London; and you will also find there my will, Edward, by
which you will learn that Cicely has not come to your arms an
unportioned bride. What my wards are in persons and manners your eyes
can witness, and I trust the vouchers in London will show that I have
not been an unfaithful steward to their, pecuniary affairs!"

"Name it not--say no more, or you will break my heart," cried Katherine,
sobbing aloud, in the violence of her remorse at having ever pained so
true a friend. "Oh! talk of yourself, think of yourself; we are
unworthy--at least I am unworthy of another thought!"

The dying man extended a hand to her in kindness, and continued, though
his voice grew feebler as he spoke:

"Then to return to myself--I would wish to lie, like my ancestors, in
the bosom of the earth--and in consecrated ground."

"It shall be done," whispered Griffith, "I will see it done myself."

"I thank thee, my son," said the veteran; "for such thou art to me in
being the husband of Cicely--you will find in my will that I have
liberated and provided for all my slaves--except those ungrateful
scoundrels who deserted their master--they have seized their own
freedom, and they need not be indebted to me for the same. There is,
Edward, also an unworthy legacy to the king; his majesty will deign to
receive it--from an old and faithful servant, and you will not miss the
trifling gift." A long pause followed, as if he had been summing up the
account of his earthly duties, and found them duly balanced, when he
added, "Kiss me, Cicely--and you, Katherine--I find you have the genuine
feelings of honest Jack, your father.--My eyes grow dim--which is the
hand of Griffith? Young gentleman, I have given you all that a fond old
man had to bestow--deal tenderly with the precious child--we have not
properly understood each other--I had mistaken both you and Mr.
Christopher Dillon, I believe; perhaps I may also have mistaken my duty
to America--but I was too old to change my politics or my religion--I-I-
I loved the king--God bless him--"

His words became fainter and fainter as he proceeded; and the breath
deserted his body with this benediction on his livid lips, which the
proudest monarch might covet from so honest a man.

The body was instantly borne into a stateroom by the attendants; and
Griffith and Barnstable supported their brides into the after-cabin,
where they left them seated on the sofa that lined the stern of the
ship, weeping bitterly, in each other's arms.

No part of the preceding scene had been unobserved by Boltrope, whose
small, hard eyes were observed by the young men to twinkle, when they
returned into the state apartment; and they approached their wounded
comrade to apologize for the seeming neglect that their conduct had
displayed.

"I heard you were hurt, Boltrope," said Griffith, taking him kindly by
the hand; "but as I know you are not unused to being marked by shot, I
trust we shall soon see you again on deck."

"Ay, ay," returned the master, "you'll want no spy glasses to see the
old hulk as you launch it into the sea. I have had shot, as you say,
before now to tear my running-gear, and even to knock a splinter out of
some of my timbers; but this fellow has found his way into my bread-
room; and the cruise of life is up!"

"Surely the case is not so bad, honest David," said Barnstable; "you
have kept afloat, to my knowledge, with a bigger hole in your skin than
this unlucky hit has made!"

"Ay, ay," returned the master, "that was in my upper works, where the
doctor could get at it with a plug; but this chap has knocked away the
shifting-boards, and I feel as if the whole cargo was broken up. You may
say that Tourniquet rates me all the same as a dead man; for after looking
at the shot-hole, he has turned me over to the parson here, like a piece
of old junk which is only fit to be worked up into something new. Captain
Munson had a lucky time of it! I think you said, Mr. Griffith, that the
old gentleman was launched overboard with everything standing, and that
Death made but one rap at his door, before he took his leave!"

"His end was indeed sudden!" returned Griffith; "but it is what we
seamen must expect."

"And for which there is so much the more occasion to be prepared," the
chaplain ventured to add, in a low, humble, and, perhaps, timid voice.

The sailing-master looked keenly from one to the other as they spoke;
and, after a short pause, he continued, with an air of great submission:

"'Twas his luck; and I suppose it is sinful to begrudge a man his lawful
luck. As for being prepared, parson, that is your business, and not
mine; therefore, as there is but little time to spare, why, the sooner
you set about it the better: and, to save unnecessary trouble I may as
well tell you not to strive to make too much of me; for, I must own it
to my shame, I never took learning kindly. If you can fit me for some
middling berth in the other world, like the one I hold in this ship, it
will suit me as well, and, perhaps, be easier to all hands of us."

If there was a shade of displeasure blended with the surprise that
crossed the features of the divine at this extraordinary limitation of
his duties, it entirely disappeared when he considered more closely the
perfect expression of simplicity with which the dying master uttered his
wishes. After a long and melancholy pause, which neither Griffith or his
friend felt any inclination to interrupt, the chaplain replied:

"It is not the province of man to determine on the decrees of the
merciful dispensations of the Deity; and nothing that I can do, Mr.
Boltrope, will have any weight in making up the mighty and irrevocable
decree. What I said to you last night, in our conversation on this very
subject, must still be fresh in your memory, and there is no good reason
why I should hold a different language to you now,"

"I can't say that I logg'd all that passed," returned the master; "and
that which I do recollect fell chiefly from myself, for the plain reason
that a man remembers his own better than his neighbor's ideas. And this
puts me in mind, Mr. Griffith, to tell you that one of the forty-two's
from the three-decker traveled across the forecastle, and cut the best
bower within a fathom of the clinch, as handily as an old woman would
clip her rotten yarn with a pair of tailor's shears! If you will be so
good as to order one of my mates to shift the cable end-for-end, and
make a new bend of it, I'll do as much for you another time."

"Mention it not," said Griffith; "rest assured that everything shall be
done for the security of the ship in your department-I will superintend
the whole duty in person; and I would have you release your mind from
all anxiety on the subject, to attend to your more important interests
elsewhere."

"Why," returned Boltrope, with a little show of pertinacity, "I have an
opinion that the cleaner a man takes his hands into the other world, of
the matters of duty in this the better he will be fitted to handle
anything new.--Now, the parson, here, undertook to lay down the doctrine
last night that it was no matter how well or how ill a man behaved
himself, so that he squared his conscience by the lifts and braces of
faith; which I take to be a doctrine that is not to be preached on
shipboard; for it would play the devil with the best ship's company that
was ever mustered."

"Oh! no--no--dear Mr. Boltrope, you mistook me and my doctrine
altogether!" exclaimed the chaplain; "at least you mistook----"

"Perhaps, sir," interrupted Griffith, gently, "our honest friend will
not be more fortunate now. Is there nothing earthly that hangs upon your
mind, Boltrope? no wish to be remembered to any one, nor any bequest to
make of your property?"

"He has a mother, I know," said Barnstable in a low voice, "he often
spoke of her to me in the night-watches, I think she must still be
living."

The master, who distinctly heard his young shipmates continued for more
than a minute rolling the tobacco, which he still retained, from one
side of his mouth to the other, with an industry that denoted singular
agitation for the man; and raising one of his broad hands, with the
other he picked the worn skin from fingers which were already losing
their brownish yellow hue in the fading color of death, before he
answered:

"Why, yes, the old woman still keeps her grip upon life, which is more
than can be said of her son David. The old man was lost the time the
Susan and Dorothy was wrecked on the back of Cape Cod; you remember it,
Mr. Barnstable? you were then a lad, sailing on whaling voyages from the
island: well, ever since that gale, I've endeavored to make smooth water
for the old woman myself, though she has had but a rough passage of it,
at the best; the voyage of life, with her, having been pretty much
crossed by rugged weather and short stores."

"And you would have us carry some message to her?" said Griffith,
kindly.

"Why, as to messages," continued the master, whose voice was rapidly
growing more husky and broken, "there never has been many compliments--
passed between us, for the reason--that she is not more used to receive
them--than I am to make them. But if any one of you will overhaul--the
purser's books, and see what there is standing here--to my side of the
leaf--and take a little pains to get it to the old woman--you will find
her moored in the lee side of a house--ay, here it is, No. 10 Cornhill,
Boston. I took care--to get her a good warm berth, seeing that a woman
of eighty wants a snug anchorage--at her time of life, if ever."

"I will do it myself, David," cried Barnstable, struggling to conceal
his emotion; "I will call on her the instant we let go our anchor in
Boston harbor; and as your credit can't be large, I will divide my own
purse with her!"

The sailing-master was powerfully affected by this kind offer, the
muscles of his hard, weatherbeaten face working convulsively, and it was
a moment before he could trust his voice in reply.

"I know you would, Dicky, I know you would," he at length uttered,
grasping the hand of Barnstable with a portion of his former strength;
"I know you would give the old woman one of your own limbs, if it would
do a service--to the mother of a messmate--which it would not--seeing
that I am not the son of a--cannibal; but you are out of your own
father's books, and it's too often shoal water in your pockets to help
any one--more especially since you have just been spliced to a pretty
young body--that will want all your spare coppers."

"But I am master of my own fortune," said Griffith, "and am rich."

"Ay, ay, I have heard it said you could build a frigate and set her
afloat all a-taunt-o without thrusting your hand--into any man's purse--
but your own!"

"And I pledge you the honor of a naval officer," continued the young
sailor, "that she shall want for nothing; not eyes the care and
tenderness of a dutiful son."

Boltrope appeared to be choking; he made an attempt to raise his
exhausted frame on the couch; but fell back exhausted and dying, perhaps
a little prematurely, through the powerful and unusual emotions that
were struggling for Boltrope appeared to be choking; he made an attempt
to raise his 'exhausted frame on the couch; but fell back exhausted and
dying, perhaps a little prematurely, through the powerful and unusual
emotions that were struggling for utterance. "God forgive me my
misdeeds!" he at length said, "and chiefly for ever speaking a word
against your discipline; remember the best bower--and look to the slings
of the lower yards--and--and--he'll do it, Dicky, he'll do it! I'm
casting off--the fasts--of life--and so God bless ye all--and give ye
good weather--going large--or on a bowline!"

The tongue of the master failed him, but a look of heart felt
satisfaction gleamed across his rough visage, as its muscles suddenly
contracted, when the faded lineaments slowly settled into the appalling
stiffness of death.

Griffith directed the body to be removed to the apartment of the master,
and proceeded with a heavy heart to the upper deck. The Alacrity had
been unnoticed during the arduous chase of the frigate, and, favored by
daylight, and her light draught of water, she had easily effected her
escape also among the mazes of the shoals. She was called down to her
consort by signal, and received the necessary instructions how to steer
during the approaching night. The British ships were now only to be
faintly discovered like white specks on the dark sea; and as it was
known that a broad barrier of shallow water lay between them, the
Americans no longer regarded their presence as at all dangerous.

When the necessary orders had been given, and the vessels were fully
prepared, they were once more brought up to the wind, and their heads
pointed in the direction of the coast of Holland. The wind, which
freshened towards the decline of the day, hauled round with the sun; and
when that luminary retreated from the eye, so rapid had been the
progress of the mariners, it seemed to sink in the bosom of the ocean,
the land having long before settled into its watery bed. All night the
frigate continued to dash through the seas with a sort of sullen
silence, that was soothing to the melancholy of Cecilia and Katherine,
neither of whom closed an eye during that gloomy period. In addition to
the scene they had witnessed, their feelings were harrowed by the
knowledge that, in conformity to the necessary plans of Griffith, and in
compliance with the new duties he had assumed, they were to separate in
the morning for an indefinite period, and possibly forever.

With the appearance of light, the boatswain sent his rough summons
through the vessel, and the crew were collected in solemn silence in her
gangways to "bury the dead." The bodies of Boltrope, of one or two of
her inferior officers, and of several common men who had died of their
wounds in the night, were, with the usual formalities, committed to the
deep; when the yards of the ship were again braced by the wind, and she
glided along the trackless waste, leaving no memorial, in the midst of
the ever-rolling waters, to mark the place of their sepulture.

When the sun had gained the meridian, the vessels were once more hove-
to, and the preparations were made for a final separation. The body of
Colonel Howard was transferred to the Alacrity, whither it was followed
by Griffith and his cheerless bride, while Katherine hung fondly from
the window of the ship, suffering her own scalding tears to mingle with
the brine of the ocean. After everything was arranged, Griffith waved
his hand to Barnstable, who had now succeeded to the command of the
frigate, and the yards of the latter were braced sharp to the wind, when
she proceeded to the dangerous experiment of forcing her way to the
shores of America, by attempting the pass of the Straits of Dover, and
running the gauntlet through the English ships that crowded their own
Channel; an undertaking, however, for which she had the successful
example of the Alliance frigate, which had borne the stars of America
along the same hazardous path but a few months previously.

In the mean while the Alacrity, steering more to the west drew in
swiftly towards the shores of Holland; and about an hour before the
setting of the sun had approached so nigh as to be once more hove into
the wind, in obedience to the mandate of Griffith. A small, light boat
was lowered into the sea, when the young sailor, and the Pilot, who had
found his way into the cutter unheeded, and almost unseen, ascended from
the small cabin together. The stranger glanced his eyes along the range
of coast, as if he would ascertain the exact position of the vessel, and
then turned them on the sea and the western horizon to scan the weather.
Finding nothing in the appearance of the latter to induce him to change
his determination, he offered his hand frankly to Griffith, and said:

"Here we part. As our acquaintance has not led to all we wished, let it
be your task, sir, to forget we ever met."

Griffith bowed respectfully, but in silence, when the other continued,
shaking his hand contemptuously towards the land:

"Had I but a moiety of the navy of that degenerate republic, the
proudest among those haughty islanders should tremble in his castle, and
be made to feel there is no security against a foe that trusts his own
strength and knows the weakness of his enemy! But," he muttered in a
lower and more hurried voice, "this has been like Liverpool, and--
Whitehaven--and Edinburgh, and fifty more! It is past, sir; let it be
forgotten."

Without heeding the wondering crew, who were collected as curious
spectators of his departure, the stranger bowed hastily to Griffith,
and, springing into the boat, he spread her light sails with the
readiness of one who had nothing to learn even in the smallest matters
of his daring profession. Once more, as the boat moved briskly away from
the cutter, he waved his hand in adieu; and Griffith fancied that even
through the distance he could trace a smile of bitter resignation
lighting his calm features with a momentary gleam. For a long time the
young man stood an abstracted gazer at his solitary progress, watching
the small boat as it glided towards the open ocean, nor did he remember
to order the head-sheets of the Alacrity drawn, in order to put the
vessel again in motion, until the dark speck was lost in the strong
glare that fell obliquely across the water from the setting sun.

Many wild and extraordinary conjectures were tittered among the crew of
the cutter, as she slowly drew in towards her friendly haven, on the
appearance of the mysterious Pilot, during their late hazardous visit to
the coast of Britain, and on his still more extraordinary disappearance,
as it were, amid the stormy wastes of the North Sea. Griffith himself
was not observed to smile, nor to manifest any evidence of his being a
listener to their rude discourse, until it was loudly announced that a
small boat was pressing for their own harbor, across the forefoot of the
cutter, under a single lug-sail. Then, indeed, the sudden and cheerful
lighting of his troubled eye betrayed the vast relief that was imparted
to his feelings by the interesting discovery.




CHAPTER XXXV

  "Come, all you kindred chieftains of the deep,
  In mighty phalanx round your brother bend;
  Hush every murmur that invades his sleep--
  And guard the laurels that o'ershade your friend."
  _Lines on Tripp_.


Here, perhaps, it would be wise to suffer the curtain of our imperfect
drama to fall before the reader, trusting that the imagination of every
individual can readily supply the due proportions of health, wealth, and
happiness, that the rigid rules of poetic justice would award to the
different characters of the legend. But as we are not disposed to part
so coldly from those with whom we have long held amicable intercourse,
and as there is no portion of that in reservation which is not quite as
true as all that has been already related, we see no unanswerable reason
for dismissing the dramatis personae so abruptly. We shall, therefore,
proceed to state briefly the outlines of that which befell them in
after-life, regretting, at the same time, that the legitimate limits of
a modern tale will not admit of such dilatation of many a merry or
striking scene as might create the pleasing hope of beholding hereafter
some more of our rude sketches quickened into life by the spirited
pencil of Dunlap.

Following the course of the frigate, then, towards those shores from
which, perhaps, we should never have suffered our truant pen to have
wandered, we shall commence the brief task with Barnstable, and his
laughing, weeping, gay, but affectionate bride--the black-eyed
Katherine. The ship fought her way gallantly, through swarms of the
enemy's cruisers, to the port of Boston, where Barnstable was rewarded
for his services by promotion, and a more regular authority to command
his vessel.

During the remainder of the war, he continued to fill that station with
ability and zeal; nor did he return to the dwelling of his fathers,
which he soon inherited by regular descent, until after peace had
established not only the independence of his country, but his own
reputation as a brave and successful sea-officer. When the Federal
Government laid the foundation of its present navy, Captain Barnstable
was once more tempted by the offer of a new commission to desert his
home; and for many years he was employed among that band of gallant
seamen who served their country so faithfully in times of trial and high
daring. Happily, however, he was enabled to accomplish a great deal of
the more peaceful part of his service accompanied by Katherine, who,
having no children, eagerly profited by his consent to share his
privations and hardships on the ocean. In this manner they passed
merrily, and we trust happily down the vale of life together, Katherine
entirely discrediting the ironical prediction of her former guardian, by
making, everything considered, a very obedient, and certainly, so far as
attachment was concerned, a most devoted wife.

The boy Merry, who in due time became a man, clung to Barnstable and
Katherine, so long as it was necessary to hold him in leading-strings;
and when he received his regular promotion, his first command was under
the shadow of his kinsman's broad pennant. He proved to be in his
meridian, what his youth had so strongly indicated, a fearless, active,
and reckless sailor; and his years might have extended to this hour, had
he not fallen untimely in a duel with a foreign officer.

The first act of Captain Manual, after landing once more on his native
soil, was to make interest to be again restored to the line of the army.
He encountered but little difficulty in this attempt, and was soon in
possession of the complete enjoyment of that which his soul had so long
pined after, "a steady drill." He was in time to share in all the
splendid successes which terminated the war, and also to participate in
his due proportion of the misery of the army. His merits were not
forgotten, however, in the re-organization of the forces, and he
followed both St. Clair and his more fortunate successor, Wayne, in the
western campaigns. About the close of the century, when the British made
their tardy relinquishment of the line of posts along the frontiers,
Captain Manual was ordered to take charge, with his company, of a small
stockade on our side of one of those mighty rivers that sets bounds to
the territories of the Republic in the north. The British flag was
waving over the ramparts of a more regular fortress, that had been
recently built, directly opposite, within the new lines of the Canadas.
Manual was not a man to neglect the observances of military etiquette;
and understanding that the neighboring fort was commanded by a field-
officer, he did not fail to wait on that gentleman, in proper time, with
a view to cultivate the sort of acquaintance that their mutual
situations would render not only agreeable, but highly convenient. The
American martinet, in ascertaining the rank of the other, had not deemed
it at all necessary to ask his name; but when the red-faced, comical-
looking officer with one leg, who met him, was introduced as Major
Borroughcliffe, he had not the least difficulty in recalling to
recollection his quondam acquaintance of St. Ruth. The intercourse
between these worthies was renewed with remarkable gusto, and at length
arrived to so regular a pass that a log cabin was erected on one of the
islands in the river, as a sort of neutral territory, where their
feastings and revels might be held without any scandal to the discipline
of their respective garrisons. Here the qualities of many a saddle of
savory venison were discussed, together with those of sundry pleasant
fowls, as well as of divers strange beasts that inhabit those western
wilds, while, at the same time, the secret places of the broad river
were vexed, that nothing might be wanting that could contribute to the
pleasures of their banquets. A most equitable levy was regularly made on
their respective pockets, to sustain the foreign expenses of this
amicable warfare; and a suitable division of labor was also imposed on
the two commandants, in order to procure such articles of comfort as
were only to be obtained from those portions of the globe where the art
of man had made a nearer approach to the bounties of nature than in the
vicinity of their fortifications. All liquids in which malt formed an
ingredient, as well as the deep-colored wines of Oporto, were suffered
to enter the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and were made to find their way,
under the superintendence of Borroughcliffe, to their destined goal; but
Manual was solely entrusted with the more important duty of providing
the generous liquor of Madeira, without any other restriction on his
judgment than an occasional injunction from his coadjutor that it should
not fail to be the product of the "south side"!

It was not unusual for the young officers of the two garrisons to allude
to the battle in which Major Borroughcliffe had lost his limb--the
English ensign invariably whispering to the American, on such occasions,
that it occurred during the late contest, in a desperate affair on the
north eastern coast of their island, in which the major commanded, in
behalf of his country,--with great credit and signal success; and for
which service he obtained his present rank "without purchase!" A sort of
national courtesy: prevented the two veterans, for by this time both had
earned that honorable title, from participating at all in these delicate
allusions; though whenever, by any accident, they occurred near the
termination of the revels, Borroughcliffe would so far betray his
consciousness of what was passing as to favor his American friend with a
leer of singular significance, which generally produced in the other
that sort of dull recollection which all actors and painters endeavor to
represent by scratching the head. In this manner year after year rolled
by, the most perfect harmony existing between the two posts,
notwithstanding the angry passions that disturbed their respective
countries, when an end was suddenly put to the intercourse by the
unfortunate death of Manual. This rigid observer of discipline never
trusted his person on the neutral island without being accompanied by a
party of his warriors, who were posted as a regular picket, sustaining a
suitable line of sentries; a practice which he also recommended to his
friend, as being highly conducive to discipline, as well as a salutary
caution against a surprise on the part of either garrison. The major,
however, dispensed with the formality in his own behalf, but was
sufficiently good-natured to wink at the want of confidence it betrayed
in his boon companion. On one unhappy occasion, when the discussions oL
a new importation had made a heavy inroad on the morning, Manual left
the hut to make his way towards his picket, in such a state of utter
mental aberration as to forget the countersign when challenged by a
sentinel, when, unhappily, he met his death by a shot from a soldier
whom he drilled to such an exquisite state of insensibility that the man
cared but little whether he killed friend or enemy, so long as he kept
within military usage, and the hallowed limits established by the
articles of war. He lived long enough, however, to commend the fellow
for the deed, and died while delivering an eulogium to Borroughcliffe on
the high state of perfection to which he had brought his command.

About a year before this melancholy event, a quarter-cask of wine had
been duly ordered from the south side of the island of Madeira, which
was, at the death of Manual, toiling its weary way up the rapids of the
Mississippi and the Ohio; having been made to enter by the port of New
Orleans, with the intention of keeping it as long as possible under a
genial sun! The untimely fate of his friend imposed on Borroughcliffe
the necessity of attending to this precious relic of their mutual
tastes; and he procured a leave of absence from his superior, with the
laudable desire to proceed down the streams and superintend its farther
advance in person. The result of his zeal was a high fever, that set in
the day after he reached his treasure: and as the doctor and the major
espoused different theories, in treating a disorder so dangerous in that
climate--the one advising abstemiousness, and the other administering
repeated draughts of the cordial that had drawn him so far from home--
the disease was left to act its pleasure. Borroughcliffe died in three
days; and was carried back and interred by the side of his friend, in
the very hut which had so often resounded with their humors and
festivities. We have been thus particular in relating the sequel of the
lives of these rival chieftains, because, from their want of connection
with any kind heart of the other sex, no widows and orphans were left to
lament their several ends; and furthermore, as they were both mortal,
and might be expected to die at a suitable period, and yet did not
terminate their career until each had attained the mature age of
threescore, the reader can find no just grounds of dissatisfaction at
being allowed this deep glance into the womb of fate.

The chaplain abandoned the seas in time to retrieve his character, a
circumstance which gave no little satisfaction to Katherine, who
occasionally annoyed her worthy husband on the subject of the
informality of their marriage.

Griffith and his mourning bride conveyed the body of Colonel Howard in
safety to one of the principal towns in Holland, where it was
respectfully and sorrowfully interred; after which the young man removed
to Paris, with a view of erasing the sad images which the hurried and
melancholy events of the few preceding days had left on the mind of his
lovely companion. From this place Cecilia held communion, by letter,
with her friend Alice Dunscombe; and such suitable provision was made in
the affairs of her late uncle as the times would permit. Afterwards,
when Griffith obtained the command which had been offered him before
sailing on the cruise in the North Sea, they returned together to
America. The young man continued a sailor until the close of the war,
when he entirely withdrew from the ocean, and devoted the remainder of
his life to the conjoint duties of a husband and a good citizen.

As it was easy to reclaim the estates of Colonel Howard, which, in fact,
had been abandoned more from pride than necessity, and which had never
been confiscated, their joint inheritances made the young couple
extremely affluent; and we shall here take occasion to say that Griffith
remembered his promise to the dying master, and saw such a provision
made for the childless mother as her situation and his character
required.

It might have been some twelve years after the short cruise, which it
has been our task to record in these volumes, that Griffith, who was
running his eyes carelessly over a file of newspapers, was observed by
his wife to drop the bundle from before his face, and pass his hand
slowly across his brow, like a man who had been suddenly struck with
renewed impressions of some former event, or who was endeavoring to
recall to his mind images that had long since faded.

"See you anything in that paper to disturb you, Griffith?" said the
still lovely Cecilia. "I hope that now we have our confederate
government the States will soon recover from their losses--but it is one
of those plans to create a new navy that has met your eye! Ah! truant!
you sigh to become a wanderer again, and pine after your beloved ocean!"

"I have ceased sighing and pining since you have begun to smile," he
returned with a vacant manner, and without removing his hand from his
brow.

"Is not the new order of things, then, likely to succeed? Does the
Congress enter into contention with the President?"

"The wisdom and name of Washington will smooth the way for the
experiment, until time shall mature the system. Cecilia, do you remember
the man who accompanied Manual and myself to St. Ruth, the night we
became your uncle's prisoners, and who afterwards led the party which
liberated us, and rescued Barnstable?"

"Surely I do; he was the pilot of your ship, it was then said; and I
remember the shrewd soldier we entertained even suspected that he was
one greater than he seemed."

"The soldier surmised the truth; but you saw him not on that fearful
night, when he carried us through the shoals! and you could not witness
the calm courage with which he guided the ship into those very channels
again, while the confusion of battle was among us!"

"I heard the dreadful din! And I can easily imagine the horrid scene,"
returned his wife, her recollections chasing the color from her cheeks
even at that distance of time; "but what of him? is his name mentioned
in those papers? Ah! they are English prints! you called his name Gray,
If I remember?"

"That is the name he bore with us! He was a man who had formed romantic
notions of glory, and wished everything concealed in which he acted a
part that he thought would not contribute to his renown."

"Can there have been any connection between him and Alice Dunscombe?"
said Cecilia, dropping her work in her lap, in a thoughtful manner. "She
met him alone, at her own urgent request, the night Katherine and myself
saw you in your confinement, and even then my cousin whispered that they
were acquainted! The letter I received yesterday from Alice was sealed
with black, and I was pained with the melancholy, though gentle manner,
in which she wrote of passing from this world into another!"

Griffith glanced his eye at his wife with a look of sudden Intelligence,
and then answered, like one who began to see with the advantages of a
clearer atmosphere:

"Cecilia, your conjecture is surely true! Fifty things rushed to my mind
at that one surmise--his acquaintance with that particular spot--his
early life--his expedition--his knowledge of the abbey, all confirm it!
He, altogether, was indeed a man of marked character!"

"Why has he not been among us," asked Cecilia; "he appeared devoted to
our cause?"

"His devotion to America proceeded from desire of distinction, his
ruling passion, and perhaps a little also from resentment at some
injustice which he claimed to have suffered from his own countrymen. He
was a man, and not therefore without foibles--among which may have been
reckoned the estimation of his own acts but they were most daring, and
deserving of praise! neither did he at all merit the obloquy that he
received from his enemies. His love of liberty may be more questionable;
for if he commenced his deeds in the cause of these free States, they
terminated in the service of a despot! He is now dead--but had he lived
in times and under circumstances when his consummate knowledge of his
profession, his cool, deliberate, and even desperate courage, could have
been exercised in a regular and well-supported navy, and had the habits
of his youth better qualified him to have borne, meekly, the honors he
acquired in his age, he would have left behind him no name in its lists
that would have descended to the latest posterity of his adopted
countrymen with greater renown!"

"Why, Griffith," exclaimed Cecilia, in a little surprise, "you are
zealous in his cause! Who was he?"

"A man who held a promise of secrecy while living, which is not at all
released by his death. It is enough to know that he was greatly
instrumental in procuring our sudden union, and that our happiness might
have been wrecked in the voyage of life had we not met the unknown Pilot
of the German Ocean."

Perceiving her husband to rise, and carefully collect the papers in a
bundle, before he left the room, Cecilia made no further remark at the
time, nor was the subject ever revived between them.





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