The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Pirate, by Frederick Marryat

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Title: The Pirate

Author: Frederick Marryat

Release Date: May 22, 2007 [EBook #21580]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1


Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

Captain Frederick Marryat

"The Pirate"

Chapter One.

The Bay of Biscay.

It was in the latter part of the month of June, of the year seventeen hundred and ninety something, that the angry waves of the Bay of Biscay were gradually subsiding, after a gale of wind as violent as it was unusual during that period of the year. Still they rolled heavily; and, at times, the wind blew up in fitful, angry gusts, as if it would fain renew the elemental combat; but each effort was more feeble, and the dark clouds which had been summoned to the storm, now fled in every quarter before the powerful rays of the sun, who burst their masses asunder with a glorious flood of light and heat; and, as he poured down his resplendent beams, piercing deep into the waters of that portion of the Atlantic to which we now refer, with the exception of one object, hardly visible, as at creation, there was a vast circumference of water, bounded by the fancied canopy of heaven. We have said, with the exception of one object; for in the centre of this picture, so simple, yet so sublime, composed of the three great elements, there was a remnant of the fourth. We say a remnant, for it was but the hull of a vessel, dismasted, water-logged, its upper works only floating occasionally above the waves, when a transient repose from their still violent undulation permitted it to reassume its buoyancy. But this was seldom; one moment it was deluged by the seas, which broke as they poured over its gunwale; and the next, it rose from its submersion, as the water escaped from the portholes at its sides.

How many thousands of vessels—how many millions of property—have been abandoned, and eventually consigned to the all-receiving depths of the ocean, through ignorance or through fear! What a mine of wealth must lie buried in its sands! what riches lie entangled amongst its rocks, or remain suspended in its unfathomable gulf, where the compressed fluid is equal in gravity to that which it encircles, there to remain secured in its embedment from corruption and decay, until the destruction of the universe and the return of chaos!—Yet, immense as the accumulated loss may be, the major part of it has been occasioned from an ignorance of one of the first laws of nature, that of specific gravity. The vessel to which we have referred was, to all appearance, in a situation of as extreme hazard as that of a drowning man clinging to a single rope-yarn; yet, in reality, she was more secure from descending to the abyss below than many gallantly careering on the waters, their occupants dismissing all fear, and only calculating upon a quick arrival into port.

The Circassian had sailed from New Orleans, a gallant and well-appointed ship, with a cargo, the major part of which consisted of cotton. The captain was, in the usual acceptation of the term, a good sailor; the crew were hardy and able seamen. As they crossed the Atlantic, they had encountered the gale to which we have referred, were driven down into the Bay of Biscay, where, as we shall hereafter explain, the vessel was dismasted, and sprang a leak, which baffled all their exertions to keep under. It was now five days since the frightened crew had quitted the vessel in two of her boats, one of which had swamped, and every soul that occupied it had perished; the fate of the other was uncertain.

We said that the crew had deserted the vessel, but we did not assert that every existing being had been removed out of her. Had such been the case, we should not have taken up the reader’s time in describing inanimate matter. It is life that we portray, and life there still was in the shattered hull thus abandoned to the mockery of the ocean. In the caboose of the Circassian, that is, in the cooking-house secured on deck, and which fortunately had been so well fixed as to resist the force of the breaking waves, remained three beings—a man, a woman, and a child. The two first mentioned were of that inferior race which have, for so long a period, been procured from the sultry Afric coast, to toil, but reap not for themselves; the child which lay at the breast of the female was of European blood, now, indeed, deadly pale, as it attempted in vain to draw sustenance from its exhausted nurse, down whose sable cheeks the tears coursed, as she occasionally pressed the infant to her breast, and turned it round to leeward to screen it from the spray which dashed over them at each returning swell. Indifferent to all else, save her little charge, she spoke not, although she shuddered with the cold as the water washed her knees each time that the hull was careened into the wave. Cold and terror had produced a change in her complexion, which now wore a yellow, or sort of copper hue.

The male, who was her companion, sat opposite to her upon the iron range which once had been the receptacle of light and heat, but was now but a weary seat to a drenched and worn-out wretch. He, too, had not spoken for many hours; with the muscles of his face relaxed, his thick lips pouting far in advance of his collapsed cheeks, his high cheekbones prominent as budding horns, his eyes displaying little but their whites, he appeared to be an object of greater misery than the female, whose thoughts were directed to the infant and not unto herself. Yet his feelings were still acute, although his faculties appeared to be deadened by excess of suffering.

“Eh, me!” cried the negro woman faintly, after a long silence, her head falling back with extreme exhaustion. Her companion made no reply, but, roused at the sound of her voice, bent forward, slided open the door a little, and looked out to windward. The heavy spray dashed into his glassy eyes, and obscured his vision; he groaned, and fell back into his former position. “What you tink, Coco?” inquired the negress, covering up more carefully the child, as she bent her head down upon it. A look of despair, and a shudder from cold and hunger, were the only reply.

It was then about eight o’clock in the morning, and the swell of the ocean was fast subsiding. At noon the warmth of the sun was communicated to them through the planks of the caboose, while its rays poured a small stream of vivid light through the chinks of the closed panels. The negro appeared gradually to revive; at last he rose, and with some difficulty contrived again to slide open the door. The sea had gradually decreased its violence, and but occasionally broke over the vessel; carefully holding on by the door-jambs, Coco gained the outside, that he might survey the horizon.

“What you see, Coco?” said the female, observing from the caboose that his eyes were fixed upon a certain quarter.

“So help me God, me tink me see something; but ab so much salt water in um eye, me no see clear,” replied Coco, rubbing away the salt which had crystallised on his face during the morning.

“What you tink um like, Coco?”

“Only one bit cloud,” replied he, entering the caboose, and resuming his seat upon the grate with a heavy sigh.

“Eh, me!” cried the negress, who had uncovered the child to look at it, and whose powers were sinking fast. “Poor lilly Massa Eddard, him look very bad indeed—him die very soon, me fear. Look, Coco, no ab breath.”

The child’s head fell back upon the breast of its nurse, and life appeared to be extinct.

“Judy, you no ab milk for piccaninny; suppose um ab no milk, how can live? Eh! stop, Judy, me put lilly fingers in um mouth; suppose Massa Eddard no dead, him pull.”

Coco inserted his finger into the child’s mouth, and felt a slight drawing pressure. “Judy,” cried Coco, “Massa Eddard no dead yet. Try now, suppose you ab lilly drop oder side.”

Poor Judy shook her head mournfully, and a tear rolled down her cheek; she was aware that nature was exhausted. “Coco,” said she, wiping her cheek with the back of her hand, “me give me heart blood for Massa Eddard; but no ab milk—all gone.”

This forcible expression of love for the child, which was used by Judy, gave an idea to Coco. He drew his knife out of his pocket, and very coolly sawed to the bone of his fore-finger. The blood flowed and trickled down to the extremity, which he applied to the mouth of the infant.

“See, Judy, Massa Eddard suck—him not dead,” cried Coco, chuckling at the fortunate result of the experiment, and forgetting at the moment their almost hopeless situation.

The child, revived by the strange sustenance, gradually recovered its powers, and in a few minutes it pulled at the finger with a certain degree of vigour.

“Look Judy, how Massa Eddard take it,” continued Coco. “Pull away, Massa Eddard, pull away. Coco ab ten finger, and take long while suck em all dry.” But the child was soon satisfied, and fell asleep in the arms of Judy.

“Coco, suppose you go see again,” observed Judy. The negro again crawled out, and again he scanned the horizon.

“So help me God, dis time me tink, Judy—yes, so help me God, me see a ship!” cried Coco, joyfully.

“Eh!” screamed Judy, faintly, with delight: “den Massa Eddard no die.”

“Yes, so help me God—he come dis way!” and Coco, who appeared to have recovered a portion of his former strength and activity, clambered on the top of the caboose, where he sat, cross-legged, waving his yellow handkerchief, with the hope of attracting the attention of those on board; for he knew that it was very possible that an object floating little more than level with the water’s surface might escape notice.

As it fortunately happened, the frigate, for such she was, continued her course precisely for the wreck, although it had not been perceived by the look-out men at the mast-heads, whose eyes had been directed to the line of the horizon. In less than an hour our little party were threatened with a new danger, that of being run over by the frigate, which was now within a cable’s length of them, driving the seas before her in one widely extended foam, as she pursued her rapid and impetuous course. Coco shouted to his utmost, and fortunately attracted the notice of the men who were on the bowsprit, stowing away the foretopmast-staysail, which had been hoisted up to dry after the gale.

“Starboard, hard!” was roared out.

“Starboard it is,” was the reply from the quarterdeck, and the helm was shifted without inquiry, as it always is on board of a man-of-war, although, at the same time, it behoves people to be rather careful how they pass such an order, without being prepared with a subsequent and most satisfactory explanation.

The topmast studding-sail flapped and fluttered, the foresail shivered, and the jib filled as the frigate rounded to, narrowly missing the wreck, which was now under the bows, rocking so violently in the white foam of the agitated waters, that it was with difficulty that Coco could, by clinging to the stump of the mainmast, retain his elevated position. The frigate shortened sail, hove to, and lowered down a quarter-boat, and in less than five minutes Coco, Judy, and the infant, were rescued from their awful situation. Poor Judy, who had borne up against all for the sake of the child, placed it in the arms of the officer who relieved them, and then fell back in a state of insensibility, in which condition she was carried on board. Coco, as he took his place in the stern-sheets of the boat, gazed wildly round him, and then broke out into peals of extravagant laughter, which continued without intermission, and were the only replies which he could give to the interrogatories of the quarter-deck, until he fell down in a swoon, and was entrusted to the care of the surgeon.

Chapter Two.

The Bachelor.

On the evening of the same day on which the child and the two negroes had been saved from the wreck by the fortunate appearance of the frigate, Mr Witherington, of Finsbury Square, was sitting alone in his dining-room wondering what could have become of the Circassian, and why he had not received intelligence of her arrival. Mr Witherington, as we said before, was alone; he had his port and his sherry before him; and although the weather was rather warm, there was a small fire in the grate, because, as Mr Witherington asserted, it looked comfortable. Mr Witherington having watched the ceiling of the room for some time, although there was certainly nothing new to be discovered, filled another glass of wine, and then proceeded to make himself more comfortable by unbuttoning three more buttons of his waistcoat, pushing his wig further off his head, and casting loose all the buttons at the knees of his breeches; he completed his arrangements by dragging towards him two chairs within his reach, putting his legs on one, while he rested his arm on the other. And why was not Mr Witherington to make himself comfortable? He had good health, a good conscience, and eight thousand a-year.

Satisfied with all his little arrangements, Mr Witherington sipped his port wine, and putting down his glass again, fell back in his chair, placed his hands on his breast, interwove his fingers; and in this most comfortable position recommenced his speculations as to the non-arrival of the Circassian.

We will leave him to his cogitations while we introduce him more particularly to our readers.

The father of Mr Witherington was a younger son of one of the oldest and proudest families in the West Riding of Yorkshire: he had his choice of the four professions allotted to younger sons whose veins are filled with patrician blood—the army, the navy, the law, and the church. The army did not suit him, he said, as marching and counter-marching were not comfortable; the navy did not suit him, as there was little comfort in gales of wind and mouldy biscuit: the law did not suit him, as he was not sure that he would be at ease with his conscience, which would not be comfortable; the church was also rejected, as it was, with him, connected with the idea of a small stipend, hard duty, a wife and eleven children, which were anything but comfortable. Much to the horror of his family he eschewed all the liberal professions, and embraced the offer of an old backslider of an uncle, who proposed to him a situation in his banking-house, and a partnership as soon as he deserved it; the consequence was, that his relations bade him an indignant farewell, and then made no further inquiries about him: he was as decidedly cut as one of the female branches of the family would have been had she committed a faux pas.

Nevertheless, Mr Witherington senior stuck diligently to his business, in a few years was partner, and, at the death of the old gentleman, his uncle, found himself in possession of a good property, and every year coining money at his bank.

Mr Witherington senior then purchased a house in Finsbury Square, and thought it advisable to look out for a wife.

Having still much of the family pride in his composition, he resolved not to muddle the blood of the Witheringtons by any cross from Cateaton Street or Mincing Lane; and, after a proper degree of research, he selected the daughter of a Scotch earl, who went to London with a bevy of nine in a Leith smack to barter blood for wealth. Mr Witherington being so unfortunate as to be the first comer, had the pick of the nine ladies by courtesy; his choice was light-haired, blue-eyed, a little freckled, and very tall, by no means bad-looking, and standing on the list in the family Bible, Number Four. From this union Mr Witherington had issue; first, a daughter, christened Moggy, whom we shall soon have to introduce to our readers as a spinster of forty-seven; and second, Antony Alexander Witherington Esquire, whom we just now have left in a very comfortable position, and in a very brown study.

Mr Witherington senior persuaded his son to enter the banking-house, and, as a dutiful son, he entered it every day; but he did nothing more, having made the fortunate discovery that “his father was born before him;” or, in other words, that his father had plenty of money, and would be necessitated to leave it behind him.

As Mr Witherington senior had always studied comfort, his son had early imbibed the same idea, and carried his feelings, in that respect, to a much greater excess; he divided things into comfortable and uncomfortable. One fine day, Lady Mary Witherington, after paying all the household bills, paid the debt of Nature; that is, she died: her husband paid the undertaker’s bill, so it is to be presumed that she was buried.

Mr Witherington senior shortly afterwards had a stroke of apoplexy, which knocked him down. Death, who has no feelings of honour, struck him when down. And Mr Witherington, after having laid a few days in bed, was by a second stroke laid in the same vault as Lady Mary Witherington: and Mr Witherington junior (our Mr Witherington) after deducting 40,000 pounds for his sister’s fortune, found himself in possession of a clear 8,000 pounds per annum, and an excellent house in Finsbury Square. Mr Witherington considered this a comfortable income, and he therefore retired altogether from business.

During the lifetime of his parents he had been witness to one or two matrimonial scenes, which had induced him to put down matrimony as one of the things not comfortable: therefore he remained a bachelor.

His sister Moggy also remained unmarried; but whether it was from a very unprepossessing squint which deterred suitors, or from the same dislike to matrimony as her brother had imbibed, it is not in our power to say. Mr Witherington was three years younger than his sister; and although he had for some time worn a wig, it was only because he considered it more comfortable. Mr Witherington’s whole character might be summed up in two words—eccentricity and benevolence: eccentric he certainly was, as most bachelors usually are. Man is but a rough pebble without the attrition received from contact with the gentler sex: it is wonderful how the ladies pumice a man down to a smoothness which occasions him to roll over and over with the rest of his species, jostling but not wounding his neighbours, as the waves of circumstances bring him into collision with them.

Mr Witherington roused himself from his deep reverie, and felt for the string connected with the bell-pull, which it was the butler’s duty invariably to attach to the arm of his master’s chair previous to his last exit from the dining-room; for, as Mr Witherington very truly observed, it was very uncomfortable to be obliged to get up and ring the bell: indeed, more than once Mr Witherington had calculated the advantages and disadvantages of having a daughter about eight years old who could ring bells, air the newspapers, and cut the leaves of a new novel.

When, however, he called to mind that she could not always remain at that precise age, he decided that the balance of comfort was against it.

Mr Witherington, having pulled the bell again, fell into a brown study.

Mr Jonathan, the butler, made his appearance; but observing that his master was occupied, he immediately stopped at the door, erect, motionless, and with a face as melancholy as if he was performing mute at the porch of some departed peer of the realm; for it is an understood thing, that the greater the rank of the defunct the longer must be the face, and, of course, the better must be the pay.

Now, as Mr Witherington is still in profound thought, and Mr Jonathan will stand as long as a hackney-coach horse, we will just leave them as they are, while we introduce the brief history of the latter to our readers. Jonathan Trapp has served as footboy, which term, we believe, is derived from those who are in that humble capacity receiving a quantum suff. of the application of the feet of those above them to increase the energy of their service; then as footman; which implies that they have been promoted to the more agreeable right of administering instead of receiving the above dishonourable applications; and lastly, for promotion could go no higher in the family, he had been raised to the dignity of butler in the service of Mr Witherington senior. Jonathan then fell in love, for butlers are guilty of indiscretions as well as their masters: neither he nor his fair flame, who was a lady’s maid in another family, notwithstanding that they had witnessed the consequences of this error in others, would take warning; they gave warning, and they married.

Like most butlers and ladies’ maids who pair off, they set up a public-house; and it is but justice to the lady’s maid to say, that she would have preferred an eating-house, but was overruled by Jonathan, who argued, that although people would drink when they were not dry, they never would eat unless they were hungry.

Now, although there was truth in the observation, this is certain, that business did not prosper: it has been surmised that Jonathan’s tall, lank, lean figure injured his custom, as people are but too much inclined to judge of the goodness of the ale by the rubicund face and rotundity of the landlord; and therefore inferred that there could be no good beer where mine host was the picture of famine. There certainly is much in appearances in this world; and it appears that, in consequence of Jonathan’s cadaverous appearance, he very soon appeared in the Gazette; but what ruined Jonathan in one profession procured him immediate employment in another. An appraiser, upholsterer, and undertaker, who was called in to value the fixtures, fixed his eye upon Jonathan, and knowing the value of his peculiarly lugubrious appearance, and having a half-brother of equal height, offered him immediate employment as a mute. Jonathan soon forgot to mourn his own loss of a few hundreds in his new occupation of mourning the loss of thousands; and his erect, stiff, statue-like carriage, and long melancholy face, as he stood at the portals of those who had entered the portals of the next world, were but too often a sarcasm upon the grief of the inheritors. Even grief is worth nothing in this trafficking world unless it be paid for. Jonathan buried many, and at last buried his wife. So far all was well; but at last he buried his master, the undertaker, which was not quite so desirable. Although Jonathan wept not, yet did he express mute sorrow as he marshalled him to his long home, and drank to his memory in a pot of porter as he returned from the funeral, perched, with many others, like carrion crows on the top of the hearse.

And now Jonathan was thrown out of employment from a reason which most people would have thought the highest recommendation. Every undertaker refused to take him, because they could not match him. In this unfortunate dilemma, Jonathan thought of Mr Witherington junior; he had served and he had buried Mr Witherington his father, and Lady Mary his mother; he felt that he had strong claims for such variety of services, and he applied to the bachelor. Fortunately for Jonathan, Mr Witherington’s butler-incumbent was just about to commit the same folly as Jonathan had done before, and Jonathan was again installed, resolving in his own mind to lead his former life, and have nothing more to do with ladies’ maids. But from habit Jonathan still carried himself as a mute on all ordinary occasions—never indulging in an approximation to mirth, except when he perceived that his master was in high spirits, and then rather from a sense of duty than from any real hilarity of heart.

Jonathan was no mean scholar for his station in life, and during his service with the undertaker, he had acquired the English of all the Latin mottoes which are placed upon the hatchments; and these mottoes, when he considered them as apt, he was very apt to quote. We left Jonathan standing at the door; he had closed it, and the handle still remained in his hand. “Jonathan,” said Mr Witherington, after a long pause—“I wish to look at the last letter from New York, you will find it on my dressing-table.”

Jonathan quitted the room without reply, and made his reappearance with the letter.

“It is a long time that I have been expecting this vessel, Jonathan,” observed Mr Witherington, unfolding the letter.

“Yes, sir, a long while; tempus fugit,” replied the butler in a low tone, half shutting his eyes.

“I hope to God no accident has happened,” continued Mr Witherington: “my poor little cousin and her twins e’en now that I speak, they may be all at the bottom of the sea.”

“Yes, sir,” replied the butler; “the sea defrauds many an honest undertaker of his profits.”

“By the blood of the Witheringtons! I may be left without an heir, and shall be obliged to marry, which would be very uncomfortable.”

“Very little comfort,” echoed Jonathan—“my wife is dead. In caelo quies.”

“Well, we must hope for the best; but this suspense is anything but comfortable,” observed Mr Witherington, after looking over the contents of the letter for at least the twentieth time.

“That will do, Jonathan; I’ll ring for coffee presently;” and Mr Witherington was again alone and with his eyes fixed upon the ceiling.

A cousin of Mr Witherington, and a very great favourite (for Mr Witherington, having a large fortune, and not having anything to do with business, was courted by his relations), had, to a certain degree, committed herself; that is to say, that, notwithstanding the injunctions of her parents, she had fallen in love with a young lieutenant in a marching regiment, whose pedigree was but respectable, and whose fortune was anything but respectable, consisting merely of a subaltern’s pay. Poor men, unfortunately, always make love better than those who are rich, because, having less to care about, and not being puffed up with their own consequence, they are not so selfish and think much more of the lady than of themselves. Young ladies, also, who fall in love, never consider whether there is sufficient “to make the pot boil”—probably because young ladies in love lose their appetites, and, not feeling inclined to eat at that time, they imagine that love will always supply the want of food. Now, we will appeal to the married ladies whether we are not right in asserting that, although the collation spread for them and their friends on the day of the marriage is looked upon with almost loathing, they do not find their appetites return with interest soon afterwards. This was precisely the case with Cecilia, or rather, Cecilia Templemore, for she had changed her name the day before. It was also the case with her husband, who always had a good appetite, even during his days of courtship; and the consequence was, that the messman’s account, for they lived in barracks, was, in a few weeks, rather alarming. Cecilia applied to her family, who very kindly sent her word that she might starve; but, the advice neither suiting her nor her husband, she then wrote to her cousin Antony, who sent her word that he would be most happy to receive them at his table, and that they should take up their abode in Finsbury Square. This was exactly what they wished; but still there was a certain difficulty; Lieutenant Templemore’s regiment was quartered in a town in Yorkshire, which was some trifling distance from Finsbury Square; and to be at Mr Witherington’s dinner-table at six p.m., with the necessity of appearing at parade every morning at nine a.m., was a dilemma not to be got out of. Several letters were interchanged upon this knotty subject: and at last it was agreed that Mr Templemore should sell out, and come up to Mr Witherington with his pretty wife: he did so, and found that it was much more comfortable to turn out at nine o’clock in the morning to a good breakfast than to a martial parade. But Mr Templemore had an honest pride and independence of character which would not permit him to eat the bread of idleness, and after a sojourn of two months in most comfortable quarters, without a messman’s bill, he frankly stated his feelings to Mr Witherington, and requested his assistance to procure for himself an honourable livelihood. Mr Witherington, who had become attached to them both, would have remonstrated, observing that Cecilia was his own cousin, and that he was a confirmed bachelor; but, in this instance, Mr Templemore was firm, and Mr Witherington very unwillingly consented. A mercantile house of the highest respectability required a partner who could superintend their consignments to America. Mr Witherington advanced the sum required; and, in a few weeks, Mr and Mrs Templemore sailed for New York.

Mr Templemore was active and intelligent; their affairs prospered; and, in a few years, they anticipated a return to their native soil with a competence. But the autumn of the second year after their arrival proved very sickly; the yellow fever raged; and among the thousands who were carried off, Mr Templemore was a victim, about three weeks after his wife had been brought to bed of twins. Mrs Templemore rose from her couch a widow and the mother of two fine boys. The loss of Mr Templemore was replaced by the establishment with which he was connected, and Mr Witherington offered to his cousin that asylum which, in her mournful and unexpected bereavement, she so much required. In three months her affairs were arranged; and with her little boys hanging at the breasts of two negro nurses,—for no others could be procured who would undertake the voyage,—Mrs Templemore, with Coco as male servant, embarked on board of the good ship Circassian, A1, bound to Liverpool.

Chapter Three.

The Gale.

Those who, standing on the pier, had witnessed the proud bearing of the Circassian as she gave her canvas to the winds, little contemplated her fate: still less did those on board; for confidence is the characteristic of seamen, and they have the happy talent of imparting their confidence to whomsoever may be in their company. We shall pass over the voyage, confining ourselves to a description of the catastrophe.

It was during a gale from the north-west, which had continued for three days, and by which the Circassian had been driven into the Bay of Biscay, that at about twelve o’clock at night, a slight lull was perceptible. The captain, who had remained on deck, sent down for the chief mate. “Oswald,” said Captain Ingram, “the gale is breaking, and I think before morning we shall have had the worst of it. I shall lie down for an hour or two; call me if there be any change.”

Oswald Bareth, a tall, sinewy-built, and handsome specimen of transatlantic growth, examined the whole circumference of the horizon before he replied. At last his eyes were steadily fixed to leeward: “I’ve a notion not, sir,” said he; “I see no signs of clearing off to leeward: only a lull for relief, and a fresh hand at the bellows, depend upon it.”

“We have now had it three days,” replied Captain Ingram, “and that’s the life of a summer gale.”

“Yes,” rejoined the mate; “but always provided that it don’t blow back again. I don’t like the look of it, sir; and have it back we shall, as sure as there’s snakes in Virginny.”

“Well, so be if so be,” was the safe reply of the captain. “You must keep a sharp look out, Bareth, and don’t leave the deck to call me; send a hand down.”

The captain descended to his cabin. Oswald looked at the compass in the binnacle—spoke a few words to the man at the helm—gave one or two terrible kicks in the ribs to some of the men who were caulking—sounded the pump-well—put a fresh quid of tobacco into his cheek, and then proceeded to examine the heavens above. A cloud, much darker and more descending than the others, which obscured the firmament, spread over the zenith, and based itself upon the horizon to leeward. Oswald’s eye had been fixed upon it but a few seconds, when he beheld a small lambent gleam of lightning pierce through the most opaque part; then another, and more vivid. Of a sudden the wind lulled, and the Circassian righted from her careen. Again the wind howled, and again the vessel was pressed down to her bearings by its force: again another flash of lightning, which was followed by a distant peal of thunder.

“Had the worst of it, did you say, captain? I’ve a notion that the worst is yet to come,” muttered Oswald, still watching the heavens.

“How does she carry her helm, Matthew?” inquired Oswald, walking aft.

“Spoke a-weather.”

“I’ll have the trysail off her, at any rate,” continued the mate. “Aft, there my lads! and lower down the trysail. Keep the sheet fast till it’s down, or the flogging will frighten the lady-passenger out of her wits. Well, if ever I own a craft, I’ll have no women on board. Dollars shan’t tempt me.”

The lightning now played in rapid forks; and the loud thunder, which instantaneously followed each flash, proved its near approach. A deluge of slanting rain descended—the wind lulled—roared again—then lulled—shifted a point or two, and the drenched and heavy sails flapped.

“Up with the helm, Mat!” cried Oswald, as a near flash of lightning for a moment blinded, and the accompanying peal of thunder deafened, those on deck. Again the wind blew strong—it ceased, and it was a dead calm. The sails hung down from the yards, and the rain descended in perpendicular torrents, while the ship rocked to and fro in the trough of the sea, and the darkness became suddenly intense.

“Down there, one of you! and call the captain,” said Oswald. “By the Lord! we shall have it. Main braces there, men, and square the yards. Be smart! That topsail should have been in,” muttered the mate; “but I’m not captain. Square away the yards, my lads!” continued he; “quick, quick!—there’s no child’s play here!”

Owing to the difficulty of finding and passing the ropes to each other, from the intensity of the darkness, and the deluge of rain which blinded them, the men were not able to execute the order of the mate so soon as it was necessary; and before they could accomplish their task, or Captain Ingram could gain the deck, the wind suddenly burst upon the devoted vessel from the quarter directly opposite to that from which the gale had blown, taking her all a-back, and throwing her on her beam-ends. The man at the helm was hurled over the wheel; while the rest, who were with Oswald at the main-bits, with the coils of ropes, and every other article on deck not secured, were rolled into the scuppers, struggling to extricate themselves from the mass of confusion and the water in which they floundered. The sudden revulsion awoke all the men below, who imagined that the ship was foundering; and, from the only hatchway not secured, they poured up in their shirts with their other garments in their hands, to put them on—if fate permitted.

Oswald Bareth was the first who clambered up from to leeward. He gained the helm, which he put hard up. Captain Ingram and some of the seamen also gained the helm. It is the rendezvous of all good seamen in emergencies of this description: but the howling of the gale—the blinding of the rain and salt spray—the seas checked in their running by the shift of wind, and breaking over the ship in vast masses of water—the tremendous peals of thunder—and the intense darkness which accompanied these horrors, added to the inclined position of the vessel, which obliged them to climb from one part of the deck to another, for some time checked all profitable communication. Their only friend, in this conflict of the elements, was the lightning (unhappy, indeed, the situation in which lightning can be welcomed as a friend); but its vivid and forked flames, darting down upon every quarter of the horizon, enabled them to perceive their situation; and, awful as it was, when momentarily presented to their sight, it was not so awful as darkness and uncertainty. To those who have been accustomed to the difficulties and dangers of a sea-faring life, there are no lines which speak more forcibly to the imagination, or prove the beauty and power of the Greek poet, than those in the noble prayer of Ajax:

        “Lord of earth and air,

O king! O father! hear my humble prayer.

Dispel this cloud, that light of heaven restore;

Give me to see—and Ajax asks no more,

If Greece must perish—we Thy will obey;

But let us perish in the face of day!”

Oswald gave the helm to two of the seamen, and with his knife cut adrift the axes, which were lashed round the mizen-mast in painted canvas covers. One he retained for himself,—the others he put into the hands of the boatswain and the second mate. To speak so as to be heard was almost impossible, from the tremendous roaring of the wind; but the lamp still burned in the binnacle, and by its feeble light Captain Ingram could distinguish the signs made by the mate, and could give his consent. It was necessary that the ship should be put before the wind; and the helm had no power over her. In a short time the lanyards of the mizen rigging were severed, and the mizen-mast went over the side, almost unperceived by the crew on the other parts of the deck, or even those near, had it not been from blows received by those who were too close to it, from the falling of the topsail-sheets and the rigging about the mast.

Oswald, with his companions, regained the binnacle, and for a little while watched the compass. The ship did not pay off, and appeared to settle down more into the water. Again Oswald made his signs, and again the captain gave his assent. Forward sprang the undaunted mate, clinging to the bulwark and belaying-pins, and followed by his hardy companions, until they had all three gained the main channels. Here, their exposure to the force of the breaking waves, and the stoutness of the ropes yielding but slowly to the blows of the axes, which were used almost under water, rendered the service one of extreme difficulty and danger. The boatswain was washed over the bulwark and dashed to leeward, where the lee-rigging only saved him from a watery grave. Unsubdued, he again climbed up to windward, rejoined and assisted his companions. The last blow was given by Oswald—the lanyards flew through the dead-eyes—and the tall mast disappeared in the foaming seas. Oswald and his companions hastened from their dangerous position, and rejoined the captain, who, with many of the crew, still remained near the wheel. The ship now slowly paid off and righted. In a few minutes she was flying before the gale, rolling heavily, and occasionally striking upon the wrecks of the masts, which she towed with her by the lee-rigging.

Although the wind blew with as much violence as before, still it was not with the same noise, now that the ship was before the wind with her after-masts gone. The next service was to clear the ship of the wrecks of the masts; but, although all now assisted, but little could be effected until the day had dawned, and even then it was a service of danger, as the ship rolled gunwale under. Those who performed the duty were slung in ropes, that they might not be washed away; and hardly was it completed, when a heavy roll, assisted by a jerking heave from a sea which struck her on the chess-tree, sent the foremast over the starboard cathead. Thus was the Circassian dismasted in the gale.

Chapter Four.

The Leak.

The wreck of the foremast was cleared from the ship; the gale continued, but the sun shone brightly and warmly. The Circassian was again brought to the wind. All danger was now considered to be over, and the seamen joked and laughed as they were busied in preparing jury-masts to enable them to reach their destined port.

“I wouldn’t have cared so much about this spree,” said the boatswain, “if it warn’t for the mainmast; it was such a beauty. There’s not another stick to be found equal to it in the whole length of the Mississippi.”

“Bah! man,” replied Oswald; “there’s as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it, and as good sticks growing as ever were felled; but I guess we’ll pay pretty dear for our spars when we get to Liverpool,—but that concerns the owners.”

The wind, which, at the time of its sudden change to the southward and eastward, had blown with the force of a hurricane, now settled into a regular strong gale, such as sailors are prepared to meet and laugh at. The sky was also bright and clear, and they had not the danger of a lee shore. It was a delightful change after a night of darkness, danger, and confusion and the men worked that they might get sufficient sail on the ship to steady her, and enable them to shape a course.

“I suppose now that we have the trysail on her forward, the captain will be for running for it,” observed one who was busy turning in a dead-eye.

“Yes,” replied the boatswain; “and with this wind on our quarter we shan’t want much sail, I’ve a notion.”

“Well, then, one advantage in losing your mast—you haven’t much trouble about the rigging.”

“Trouble enough, though, Bill, when we get in,” replied another, gruffly; “new lower rigging to parcel and sarve, and every block to turn in afresh.”

“Never mind, longer in port—I’ll get spliced.”

“Why, how often do you mean to get spliced, Bill? You’ve a wife in every State, to my sartin knowledge.”

“I ain’t got one at Liverpool, Jack.”

“Well, you may take one there, Bill; for you’ve been sweet upon that nigger girl for these last three weeks.”

“Any port in a storm, but she won’t do for harbour duty. But the fact is, you’re all wrong there, Jack, its the babbies I likes—I likes to see them both together, hanging at the niggers’ breasts, I always think of two spider-monkeys nursing two kittens.”

“I knows the women, but I never knows the children. It’s just six of one and half-a-dozen of the other; ain’t it, Bill?”

“Yes; like two bright bullets out of the same mould. I say, Bill, did any of your wives ever have twins?”

“No; nor I don’t intend, until the owners give us double pay.”

“By-the-bye,” interrupted Oswald, who had been standing under the weather bulk-head, listening to the conversation, and watching the work in progress, “we may just as well see if she has made any water with all this straining and buffeting. By the Lord I never thought of that. Carpenter, lay down your adze and sound the well.”

The carpenter, who, notwithstanding the uneasiness of the dismasted vessel, was performing his important share of the work, immediately complied with the order. He drew up the rope-yarn, to which an iron rule had been suspended, and lowered down into the pump-well, and perceived that the water was dripping from it. Imagining that it must have been wet from the quantity of water shipped over all, the carpenter disengaged the rope-yarn from the rule, drew another from the junk lying on the deck, which the seamen were working up, and then carefully proceeded to plumb the well. He hauled it up, and, looking at it for some moments aghast, exclaimed, “Seven feet of water in the hold, by God.”

If the crew of the Circassian, the whole of which were on deck, had been struck with an electric shock, the sudden change of their countenances could not have been greater than was produced by this appalling intelligence.

Heap upon sailors every disaster, every danger which can be accumulated from the waves, the wind, the elements, or the enemy, and they will bear up against them with a courage amounting to heroism. All that they demand is, that the one plank “between them and death” is sound, and they will trust to their own energies, and will be confident in their own skill: but spring a leak and they are half paralysed; and if it gain upon them they are subdued; for when they find that their exertions are futile, they are little better than children.

Oswald sprang to the pumps when he heard the carpenter’s report. “Try again, Abel—it cannot be: cut away that line; hand us here a dry rope-yarn.”

Once more the well was sounded by Oswald, and the result was the same. “We must rig the pumps, my lads,” said the mate, endeavouring to conceal his own fears; “half this water must have found its way in when she was on her beam-ends.”

This idea, so judiciously thrown out, was caught at by the seamen, who hastened to obey the order, while Oswald went down to acquaint the captain, who, worn out with watching and fatigue, had, now that danger was considered to be over, thrown himself into his cot to obtain a few hours’ repose.

“Do you think, Bareth, that we have sprung a leak?” said the captain, earnestly, “She never could have taken in that quantity of water.”

“Never, sir,” replied the mate; “but she has been so strained, that she may have opened her top-sides. I trust it is no worse.”

“What is your opinion, then?”

“I am afraid that the wrecks of the masts have injured her: you may recollect how often we struck against them before we could clear ourselves of them; once, particularly, the mainmast appeared to be right under her bottom, I recollect, and she struck very heavy on it.”

“Well, it is God’s will: let us get on deck as fast as we can.”

When they arrived on deck, the carpenter walked up to the captain, and quietly said to him, “Seven feet three, sir.” The pumps were then in full action; the men had divided, by the direction of the boatswain, and, stripped naked to the waist, relieved each other every two minutes. For half an hour they laboured incessantly.

This was the half-hour of suspense: the great point to be ascertained was, whether she leaked through the top-sides, and had taken in the water during the second gale; if so, there was every hope of keeping it under. Captain Ingram and the mate remained in silence near the capstan, the former with his watch in his hand, during the time that the sailors exerted themselves to the utmost. It was ten minutes past seven when the half hour had expired; the well was sounded and the line carefully measured—Seven feet six inches! So that the water had gained upon them, notwithstanding that they had plied the pumps to the utmost of their strength.

A mute look of despair was exchanged among the crew, but it was followed up by curses and execrations. Captain Ingram remained silent, with his lips compressed.

“It’s all over with us!” exclaimed one of the men.

“Not yet, my lads; we have one more chance,” said Oswald. “I’ve a notion that the ship’s sides have been opened by the infernal straining of last night, and that she is now taking it in at the top-sides generally: if so, we have only to put her before the wind again, and have another good spell at the pumps. When no longer strained, as she is now with her broadside to the sea, she will close all up again.”

“I shouldn’t wonder if Mr Bareth is not right,” replied the carpenter; “however, that’s my notion, too.”

“And mine,” added Captain Ingram. “Come, my men! never say die while there’s a shot in the locker. Let’s try her again.” And, to encourage the men, Captain Ingram threw off his coat and assisted at the first spell, while Oswald went to the helm and put the ship before the wind.

As the Circassian rolled before the gale, the lazy manner in which she righted proved how much water there was in the hold. The seamen exerted themselves for a whole hour without intermission, and the well was again sounded—eight feet!

The men did not assert that they would pump no longer; but they too plainly showed their intentions by each resuming in silence his shirt and jacket, which had been taken off at the commencement of his exertions.

“What’s to be done, Oswald?” said Captain Ingram, as they walked aft. “You see the men will pump no longer: nor, indeed, would it be of any use. We are doomed.”

“The Circassian is, sir, I am afraid,” replied the mate: “pumping is of no avail; they could not keep her afloat till day-break. We must therefore, trust to our boats, which I believe to be all sound, and quit her before night.”

“Crowded boats in such a sea as this!” replied Captain Ingram, shaking his head mournfully.

“Are bad enough, I grant; but better than the sea itself. All we can do now is to try and keep the men sober, and if we can do so it will be better than to fatigue them uselessly; they’ll want all their strength before they put foot again upon dry land—if ever they are so fortunate. Shall I speak to them?”

“Do, Oswald,” replied the captain; “for myself I care little, God knows; but my wife—my children!”

“My lads,” said Oswald, going forward to the men, who had waited in moody silence the result of the conference—“as for pumping any longer it would be only wearing out your strength for no good. We must now look to our boats; and a good boat is better than a bad ship. Still this gale and cross-running sea are rather too much for boats at present; we had therefore better stick to the ship as long as we can. Let us set to with a will and get the boats ready, with provisions, water, and what may be needful, and then we must trust to God’s mercy and our own endeavours.”

“No boat can stand this sea,” observed one of the men. “I’m of opinion, as it’s to be a short life, it may as well be a merry one. What d’ye say, my lads?” continued he, appealing to the men.

Several of the crew were of the same opinion: but Oswald, stepping forward, seized one of the axes which lay at the main-bits, and going up to the seaman who had spoken, looked him steadfastly in the face:—

“Williams,” said the mate, “a short life it may be to all of us, but not a merry one; the meaning of which I understand very well. Sorry I shall be to have your blood, or that of others, on my hands; but as sure as there’s a heaven, I’ll cleave to the shoulder the first man who attempts to break into the spirit-room. You know I never joke. Shame upon you! Do you call yourselves men, when, for the sake of a little liquor now, you would lose your only chance of getting drunk every day as soon as we get on shore again? There’s a time for all things; and I’ve a notion this is a time to be sober.”

As most of the crew sided with Oswald, the weaker party were obliged to submit, and the preparations were commenced. The two boats on the booms were found to be in good condition. One party was employed cutting away the bulwarks, that the boats might be launched over the side, as there were no means of hoisting them out. The well was again sounded. Nine feet of water in the hold, and the ship evidently settling fast. Two hours had now passed, and the gale was not so violent; the sea, also, which at the change of wind had been cross, appeared to have recovered its regular run. All was ready; the sailors, once at work again, had, in some measure, recovered their spirits, and were buoyed up with fresh hopes at the slight change in their favour from the decrease of the wind. The two boats were quite large enough to contain the whole of the crew and passengers; but, as the sailors said among themselves (proving the kindness of their hearts), “What was to become of those two poor babbies, in an open boat for days and nights, perhaps?” Captain Ingram had gone down to Mrs Templemore, to impart to her their melancholy prospects; and the mother’s heart, as well as the mother’s voice, echoed the words of the seamen, “What will become of my poor babes?”

It was not till nearly six o’clock in the evening that all was ready: the ship was slowly brought to the wind again, and the boats launched over the side. By this time the gale was much abated; but the vessel was full of water, and was expected soon to go down.

There is no time in which coolness and determination are more required than in a situation like the one which we have attempted to describe. It is impossible to know the precise moment at which a water-logged vessel, in a heavy sea, may go down: and its occupants are in a state of mental fever, with the idea of their remaining in her so late that she will suddenly submerge, and leave them to struggle in the waves. This feeling actuated many of the crew of the Circassian, and they had already retreated to the boats. All was arranged; Oswald had charge of one boat, and it was agreed that the larger should receive Mrs Templemore and her children, under the protection of Captain Ingram. The number appointed to Oswald’s boat being completed, he shoved off, to make room for the other, and laid-to to leeward, waiting to keep company. Mrs Templemore came up with Captain Ingram, and was assisted by him into the boat. The nurse, with one child, was at last placed by her side; Coco was leading Judy, the other nurse, with the remaining infant in her arms, and Captain Ingram, who had been obliged to go into the boat with the first child, was about to return to assist Judy with the other, when the ship gave a heavy pitch, and her forecastle was buried in the wave: at the same time the gunwale of the boat was stove by coming in contact with the side of the vessel. “She’s down, by God!” exclaimed the alarmed seamen in the boat; shoving off to escape from the vortex.

Captain Ingram, who was standing on the boat’s thwarts to assist Judy, was thrown back into the bottom of the boat; and, before he could extricate himself, the boat was separated from the ship, and had drifted to leeward.

“My child!” screamed the mother: “my child!”

“Pull to again, my lads!” cried Captain Ingram, seizing the tiller.

The men, who had been alarmed at the idea that the ship was going down, now that they saw that she was still afloat, got out the oars and attempted to regain her, but in vain—they could not make head against the sea and wind. Further and further did they drift to leeward, notwithstanding their exertions; while the frantic mother extended her arms, imploring and entreating. Captain Ingram, who had stimulated the sailors to the utmost, perceived that further attempts were useless.

“My child! my child!” screamed Mrs Templemore, standing up, and holding out her arms towards the vessel. At a sign from the captain, the head of the boat was veered round. The bereaved mother knew that all hope was gone, and she fell down in a state of insensibility.

Chapter Five.

The Old Maid.

One morning, shortly after the disasters which we have described, Mr Witherington descended to his breakfast-room somewhat earlier than usual, and found his green morocco easy-chair already tenanted by no less a personage than William the footman, who, with his feet on the fender, was so attentively reading the newspaper that he did not hear his master’s entrance. “By my ancestor, who fought on his stumps! but I hope you are quite comfortable, Mr William; nay, I beg I may not disturb you, sir.”

William, although as impudent as most of his fraternity, was a little taken aback. “I beg your pardon, sir, but Mr Jonathan had not time to look over the paper.”

“Nor is it required that he should, that I know of, sir.”

“Mr Jonathan says, sir, that it is always right to look over the deaths, that news of that kind may not shock you.”

“Very considerate, indeed.”

“And there is a story there, sir, about a shipwreck.”

“A shipwreck! where, William? God bless me! where is it?”

“I am afraid it is the same ship you are so anxious about, sir,—the—I forget the name, sir.”

Mr Witherington took the newspaper, and his eye soon caught the paragraph in which the rescue of the two negroes and child from the wreck of the Circassian was fully detailed.

“It is indeed!” exclaimed Mr Witherington. “My poor Cecilia in an open boat! one of the boats was seen to go down,—perhaps she’s dead—merciful God! one boy saved. Mercy on me! where’s Jonathan?”

“Here, sir,” replied Jonathan, very solemnly, who had just brought in the eggs, and now stood erect as a mute behind his master’s chair, for it was a case of danger, if not of death.

“I must go to Portsmouth immediately after breakfast—shan’t eat though—appetite all gone.”

“People seldom do, sir, on these melancholy occasions,” replied Jonathan. “Will you take your own carriage, sir, or a mourning coach?”

“A mourning coach at fourteen miles an hour, with two pair of horses! Jonathan, you’re crazy.”

“Will you please to have black silk hatbands and gloves for the coachman and servants who attend you, sir?”

“Confound your shop! no; this is a resurrection, not a death; it appears that the negro thinks only one of the boats went down.”

Mors omnia vincit,” quoth Jonathan, casting up his eyes.

“Never you mind that; mind your own business. That’s the postman’s knock—see if there are any letters.”

There were several; and amongst the others there was one from Captain Maxwell, of the Eurydice, detailing the circumstances already known, and informing Mr Witherington that he had despatched the two negroes and the child to his address by that day’s coach, and that one of the officers, who was going to town by the same conveyance, would see them safe to his house.

Captain Maxwell was an old acquaintance of Mr Witherington—had dined at his house in company with the Templemores, and therefore had extracted quite enough information from the negroes to know where to direct them.

“By the blood of my ancestors! they’ll be here to night,” cried Mr Witherington; “and I have saved my journey. What is to be done? better tell Mary to get rooms ready: d’ye hear, William? beds for one little boy and two niggers.”

“Yes, sir,” replied William; “but where are the black people to be put?”

“Put! I don’t care; one may sleep with cook, the other with Mary.”

“Very well, sir, I’ll tell them,” replied William, hastening away, delighted at the row which he anticipated in the kitchen.

“If you please, sir,” observed Jonathan, “one of the negroes is, I believe, a man.”

“Well, what then?”

“Only, sir, the maids may object to sleep with him.”

“By all the plagues of the Witheringtons! this is true; well, you may take him, Jonathan—you like that colour.”

“Not in the dark, sir,” replied Jonathan with a bow.

“Well, then, let them sleep together: so that affair is settled.”

“Are they man and wife, sir?” said the butler.

“The devil take them both! how should I know? Let me have my breakfast, and we’ll talk over the matter by-and-by.”

Mr Witherington applied to his eggs, and muffin, eating his breakfast as fast as he could, without knowing why; but the reason was that he was puzzled and perplexed with the anticipated arrival, and longed to think quietly over the dilemma, for it was a dilemma to an old bachelor. As soon as he had swallowed his second cup of tea he put himself into his easy-chair, in an easy attitude, and was very soon soliloquising as follows:—

“By the blood of the Witheringtons! what am I, an old bachelor, to do with a baby, and a wet-nurse as black as the ace of spades, and another black fellow in the bargain. Send him back again? yes, that’s best: but the child—woke every morning at five o’clock with its squalling—obliged to kiss it three times a-day—pleasant!—and then that nigger of a nurse—thick lips—kissing child all day, and then holding it out to me—ignorant as a cow—if child has the stomach-ache she’ll cram a pepper-pod down its throat—West India fashion—children never without the stomach-ache!—my poor, poor cousin!—what has become of her and the other child, too?—wish they may pick her up, poor dear! and then she will come and take care of her own children—don’t know what to do—great mind to send for sister Moggy—but she’s so fussy—won’t be in a hurry. Think again.”

Here Mr Witherington was interrupted by two taps at the door.

“Come in,” said he; and the cook, with her face as red as if she had been dressing a dinner for eighteen, made her appearance without the usual clean apron.

“If you please, sir,” said she, curtseying, “I will thank you to suit yourself with another cook.”

“Oh, very well,” replied Mr Witherington, angry at the interruption.

“And if you please, sir, I should like to go this very day—indeed, sir, I shall not stay.”

“Go to the devil! if you please,” replied Mr Witherington, angrily; “but first go out and shut the door after you.”

The cook retired, and Mr Witherington was again alone.

“Confound the old woman—what a huff she is in! won’t cook for black people, I suppose—yes, that’s it.”

Here Mr Witherington was again interrupted by a second double tap at the door.

“Oh! thought better of it, I suppose. Come in.”

It was not the cook, but Mary, the housemaid, that entered.

“If you please, sir,” said she, whimpering, “I should wish to leave my situation.”

“A conspiracy, by heavens! Well, you may go.”

“To-night, sir, if you please,” answered the woman.

“This moment, for all I care!” exclaimed Mr Witherington in his wrath.

The housemaid retired; and Mr Witherington took some time to compose himself.

“Servants all going to the devil in this country,” said he at last; “proud fools—won’t clean rooms after black people, I suppose—yes, that’s it, confound them all, black and white! here’s my whole establishment upset by the arrival of a baby. Well, it is very uncomfortable—what shall I do?—send for sister Moggy?—no, I’ll send for Jonathan.”

Mr Witherington rang the bell, and Jonathan made his appearance.

“What is all this, Jonathan?” said he; “cook angry—Mary crying—both going away—what’s it all about?”

“Why, sir, they were told by William that it was your positive order that the two black people were to sleep with them; and I believe he told Mary that the man was to sleep with her.”

“Confound that fellow! he’s always at mischief; you know, Jonathan, I never meant that.”

“I thought not, sir, as it is quite contrary to custom,” replied Jonathan.

“Well, then, tell them so, and let’s hear no more about it.”

Mr Witherington then entered into a consultation with his butler, and acceded to the arrangements proposed by him. The parties arrived in due time, and were properly accommodated. Master Edward was not troubled with the stomach-ache, neither did he wake Mr Witherington at five o’clock in the morning; and, after all, it was not very uncomfortable. But, although things were not quite so uncomfortable as Mr Witherington had anticipated, still they were not comfortable; and Mr Witherington was so annoyed by continual skirmishes with his servants, complaints from Judy, in bad English, of the cook, who, it must be owned, had taken a prejudice against her and Coco, occasional illness of the child, et cetera, that he found his house no longer quiet and peaceable. Three months had now nearly passed, and no tidings of the boats had been received; and Captain Maxwell, who came up to see Mr Witherington, gave it as his decided opinion that they must have foundered in the gale. As, therefore, there appeared to be no chance of Mrs Templemore coming to take care of her child, Mr Witherington at last resolved to write to Bath, where his sister resided, and acquaint her with the whole story, requesting her to come and superintend his domestic concerns. A few days afterwards he received the following reply:—

Bath, August.

“My dear Brother Antony,

“Your letter arrived safe to hand on Wednesday last, and I must say that I was not a little surprised at its contents; indeed, I thought so much about it that I revoked at Lady Betty Blabkin’s whist-party, and lost four shillings and sixpence. You say that you have a child at your house belonging to your cousin, who married in so indecorous a manner. I hope what you say is true; but, at the same time, I know what bachelors are guilty of; although, as Lady Betty says, it is better never to talk or even to hint about these improper things. I cannot imagine why men should consider themselves, in an unmarried state, as absolved from that purity which maidens are so careful to preserve; and so says Lady Betty, with whom I had a little conversation on the subject. As, however, the thing is done, she agrees with me that it is better to hush it up as well as we can.

“I presume that you do not intend to make the child your heir, which I should consider as highly improper; and, indeed, Lady Betty tells me that the legacy-duty is ten per cent, and that it cannot be avoided. However, I make it a rule never to talk about these sort of things. As for your request that I will come up and superintend your establishment, I have advised with Lady Betty on the subject, and she agrees with me that, for the honour of the family, it is better that I should come, as it will save appearances. You are in a peck of troubles, as most men are who are free-livers and are led astray by artful and alluring females. However, as Lady Betty says, ‘the least said, the soonest mended.’

“I will, therefore, make the necessary arrangements for letting my house, and hope to join you in about ten days; sooner, I cannot, as I find that my engagements extend to that period. Many questions have already been put to me on this unpleasant subject; but I always give but one answer, which is, that bachelors will be bachelors; and that, at all events, it is not so bad as if you were a married man: for I make it a rule never to talk about, or even to hint about, these sort of things, for, as Lady Betty says, ‘Men will get into scrapes, and the sooner things are hushed up the better.’ So no more at present from your affectionate sister,

“Margaret Witherington.

“PS. Lady Betty and I both agree that you are very right in hiring two black people to bring the child into your house, as it makes the thing look foreign to the neighbours, and we can keep our own secrets.


“Now, by all the sins of the Witheringtons, if this is not enough to drive a man out of his senses!—Confound the suspicious old maid! I’ll not let her come into this house. Confound Lady Betty, and all scandal-loving old tabbies like her! Bless me!” continued Mr Witherington, throwing the letter on the table with a deep sigh, “this is anything but comfortable.”

But if Mr Witherington found it anything but comfortable at the commencement, he found it unbearable in the sequel.

His sister Moggy arrived, and installed herself in the house with all the pomp and protecting air of one who was the saviour of her brother’s reputation and character. When the child was first brought down to her, instead of perceiving at once its likeness to Mr Templemore, which was very strong, she looked at it and at her brother’s face with her only eye, and shaking her finger, exclaimed—

“Oh, Antony! Antony! and did you expect to deceive me?—the nose—the mouth exact—Antony, for shame! fie, for shame!”

But we must hurry over the misery that Mr Witherington’s kindness and benevolence brought upon him. Not a day passed—scarcely an hour, without his ears being galled with his sister’s insinuations. Judy and Coco were sent back to America; the servants, who had remained so long in his service, gave warning one by one, and afterwards, were changed as often almost as there was a change in the moon. She ruled the house and her brother despotically; and all poor Mr Witherington’s comfort was gone until the time arrived when Master Edward was to be sent to school. Mr Witherington then plucked up courage, and after a few stormy months drove his sister back to Bath, and once more found himself comfortable.

Edward came home during the holidays, and was a great favourite; but the idea had become current that he was the son of the old gentleman, and the remarks made were so unpleasant and grating to him, that he was not sorry, much as he was attached to the boy, when he declared his intention to choose the profession of a sailor.

Captain Maxwell introduced him into the service; and afterwards, when, in consequence of ill health and exhaustion, he was himself obliged to leave it for a time, he procured for his protégé other ships. We must, therefore, allow some years to pass away, during which time Edward Templemore pursues his career, Mr Witherington grows older and more particular, and his sister Moggy amuses herself with Lady Betty’s remarks and her darling game of whist.

During all this period no tidings of the boats, or of Mrs Templemore and her infant, had been heard; it was therefore naturally conjectured that they had all perished, and they were remembered but as things that had been.

Chapter Six.

The Midshipman.

The weather side of the quarter-deck of H.M. frigate Unicorn was occupied by two very great personages: Captain Plumbton, commanding the ship, who was very great in width if not in height, taking much more than his allowance of the deck, if it were not that he was the proprietor thereof, and entitled to the lion’s share. Captain P was not more than four feet ten inches in height; but then he was equal to that in girth: there was quite enough of him, if he had only been rolled out. He walked with his coat flying open, his thumbs stuck into the arm holes of his waistcoat, so as to throw his shoulders back and increase his horizontal dimensions. He also held his head well aft, which threw his chest and stomach well forward. He was the prototype of pomposity and good nature, and he strutted like an actor in a procession.

The other personage was the first lieutenant, whom Nature had pleased to fashion in another mould. He was as tall as the captain was short—as thin as his superior was corpulent. His long, lanky legs were nearly up to the captain’s shoulders; and he bowed down over the head of his superior, as if he were the crane to hoist up, and the captain the bale of goods to be hoisted. He carried his hands behind his back, with two fingers twisted together; and his chief difficulty appeared to be to reduce his own stride to the parrot march of the captain. His features were sharp and lean as was his body, and wore every appearance of a cross-grained temper.

He had been making divers complaints of divers persons, and the captain had hitherto appeared imperturbable. Captain Plumbton was an even-tempered man, who was satisfied with a good dinner. Lieutenant Markitall was an odd-tempered man, who would quarrel with his bread and butter.

“Quite impossible, sir,” continued the first-lieutenant, “to carry on the duty without support.”

This oracular observation, which, from the relative forms of the two parties, descended as it were from above, was replied to by the captain with a “Very true.”

“Then, sir, I presume you will not object to my putting that man in the report for punishment?”

“I’ll think about it, Mr Markitall.” This, with Captain Plumbton, was as much as to say, No.

“The young gentlemen, sir, I am sorry to say, are very troublesome.”

“Boys always are,” replied the captain.

“Yes sir: but the duty must be carried on, and I cannot do without them.”

“Very true—midshipmen are very useful.”

“But I am sorry to say, sir, that they are not. Now sir, there’s Mr Templemore; I can do nothing with him—he does nothing but laugh.”

“Laugh!—Mr Markitall, does he laugh at you?”

“Not exactly, sir; but he laughs at everything. If I send him to the mast-head, he goes up laughing; if I call him down, he comes down laughing; if I find fault with him, he laughs the next minute: in fact, sir, he does nothing but laugh. I should particularly wish, sir, that you would speak to him, and see if any interference on your part—”

“Would make him cry—eh? better to laugh than cry in this world. Does he never cry, Mr Markitall?”

“Yes, sir, and very unseasonably. The other day, you may recollect, when you punished Wilson the marine, whom I appointed to take care of his chest and hammock, he was crying the whole time; almost tantamount—at least an indirect species of mutiny on his part, as it implied—”

“That the boy was sorry that his servant was punished; I never flog a man but I’m sorry myself, Mr Markitall.”

“Well, I do not press the question of his crying—that I might look over; but his laughing, sir, I must beg that you will take notice of that. Here he is, sir, coming up the hatchway. Mr Templemore, the captain wishes to speak to you.”

Now the captain did not wish to speak to him, but, forced upon him as it was by the first-lieutenant, he could do no less. So Mr Templemore touched his hat, and stood before the captain, we regret to say, with such a good-humoured, sly, confiding smirk on his countenance, as at once established the proof of the accusation, and the enormity of the offence.

“So, sir,” said Captain Plumbton, stopping in his perambulation, and squaring his shoulders still more, “I find that you laugh at the first-lieutenant.”

“I, sir?” replied the boy, the smirk expanding into a broad grin.

“Yes; you, sir,” said the first-lieutenant, now drawing up to his full height; “why you’re laughing now, sir.”

“I can’t help it, sir—it’s not my fault; and I’m sure it’s not yours, sir,” added the boy, demurely.

“Are you aware, Edward—Mr Templemore, I mean—of the impropriety of disrespect to your superior officer?”

“I never laughed at Mr Markitall but once, sir, that I can recollect, and that was when he tumbled over the messenger.”

“And why did you laugh at him then, sir?”

“I always do laugh when any one tumbles down,” replied the lad; “I can’t help it, sir.”

“Then, sir, I suppose you would laugh if you saw me rolling in the lee-scuppers?” said the captain.

“Oh!” replied the boy, no longer able to contain himself, “I’m sure I should burst myself with laughing—I think I see you now, sir.”

“Do you, indeed! I’m very glad that you do not; though I’m afraid, young gentleman, you stand convicted by your own confession.”

“Yes, sir, for laughing, if that is any crime; but it’s not in the Articles of War.”

“No, sir; but disrespect is. You laugh when you go to the mast-head.”

“But I obey the order, sir, immediately—Do I not, Mr Markitall?”

“Yes, sir, you obey the order; but, at the same time, your laughing proves that you do not mind the punishment.”

“No more I do, sir. I spend half my time at the mast-head, and I’m used to it now.”

“But, Mr Templemore, ought you not to feel the disgrace of the punishment?” inquired the captain, severely.

“Yes, sir, if I felt I deserved it I should. I should not laugh, sir, if you sent me to the mast-head,” replied the boy, assuming a serious countenance.

“You see, Mr Markitall, that he can be grave,” observed the captain.

“I’ve tried all I can to make him so, sir,” replied the first-lieutenant; “but I wish to ask Mr Templemore what he means to imply by saying, ‘when he deserves it.’ Does he mean to say that I have ever punished him unjustly?”

“Yes, sir,” replied the boy, boldly; “five times out of six, I am mast-headed for nothing—and that’s the reason why I do not mind it.”

“For nothing, sir! Do you call laughing nothing?”

“I pay every attention that I can to my duty, sir; I always obey your orders; I try all I can to make you pleased with me—but you are always punishing me.”

“Yes, sir, for laughing, and, what is worse, making the ship’s company laugh.”

“They ‘haul and hold’ just the same, sir—I think they work all the better for being merry.”

“And pray, sir, what business have you to think?” replied the first-lieutenant, now very angry. “Captain Plumbton, as this young gentleman thinks proper to interfere with me and the discipline of the ship, I beg you will see what effect your punishing may have upon him.”

“Mr Templemore,” said the captain, “you are, in the first place, too free in your speech, and, in the next place, too fond of laughing. There is, Mr Templemore, a time for all things—a time to be merry, and a time to be serious. The quarter-deck is not a fit place for mirth.”

“I’m sure the gangway is not,” shrewdly interrupted the boy.

“No—you are right, nor the gangway; but you may laugh on the forecastle, and when below with your messmates.”

“No, sir, we may not; Mr Markitall always sends out if he hears us laughing.”

“Because, Mr Templemore, you’re always laughing.”

“I believe I am, sir; and if it’s wrong I’m sorry to displease you, but I mean no disrespect. I laugh in my sleep—I laugh when I awake—I laugh when the sun shines—I always feel so happy; but though you do mast-head me, Mr Markitall, I should not laugh, but be very sorry, if any misfortune happened to you.”

“I believe you would, boy—I do indeed, Mr Markitall,” said the captain.

“Well, sir,” replied the first-lieutenant, “as Mr Templemore appears to be aware of his error, I do not wish to press my complaint—I have only to request that he will never laugh again.”

“You hear, boy, what the first-lieutenant says; it’s very reasonable, and I beg I may hear no more complaints. Mr Markitall, let me know when the foot of that foretopsail will be repaired—I should like to shift it to-night.”

Mr Markitall went down under the half-deck to make the inquiry.

“And, Edward,” said Captain Plumbton, as soon as the lieutenant was out of ear-shot, “I have a good deal more to say to you upon this subject, but I have no time now. So come and dine with me—at my table, you know, I allow laughing in moderation.”

The boy touched his hat, and with a grateful, happy countenance, walked away.

We have introduced this little scene, that the reader may form some idea of the character of Edward Templemore. He was indeed the soul of mirth, good-humour, and kindly feelings towards others; he even felt kindly towards the first-lieutenant, who persecuted him for his risible propensities. We do not say that the boy was right in laughing at all times, or that the first-lieutenant was wrong in attempting to check it. As the captain said, there is a time for all things, and Edward’s laugh was not always seasonable; but it was his nature, and he could not help it. He was joyous as the May morning; and thus he continued for years, laughing at everything—pleased with everybody—almost universally liked—and his bold, free, and happy spirit unchecked by vicissitude or hardship.

He served his time—was nearly turned back when he was passing his examination for laughing, and then went laughing to sea again—was in command of a boat at the cutting-out of a French corvette, and when on board was so much amused by the little French captain skipping about with his rapier, which proved fatal to many, that at last he received a pink from the little gentleman himself, which laid him on deck. For this affair, and in consideration of his wound, he obtained his promotion to the rank of lieutenant—was appointed to a line-of-battle ship in the West Indies—laughed at the yellow-fever—was appointed to the tender of that ship, a fine schooner, and was sent to cruise for prize-money for the admiral, and promotion for himself, if he could, by any fortunate encounter, be so lucky as to obtain it.

Chapter Seven.

Sleeper’s Bay.

On the western coast of Africa, there is a small bay, which has received more than one name from its occasional visitors. That by which it was designated by the adventurous Portuguese, who first dared to cleave the waves of the Southern Atlantic, has been forgotten with their lost maritime pre-eminence; the name allotted to it by the woolly-headed natives of the coast has never, perhaps, been ascertained; it is, however, marked down in some of the old English charts as Sleeper’s Bay.

The mainland which, by its curvature, has formed this little dent on a coast possessing, and certainly at present requiring few harbours, displays, perhaps, the least inviting of all prospects; offering to the view nothing but a shelving beach of dazzling white sand, backed with a few small hummocks beat up by the occasional fury of the Atlantic gales—arid, bare, and without the slightest appearance of vegetable life. The inland prospect is shrouded over by a dense mirage, through which here and there are to be discovered the stems of a few distant palm-trees, so broken and disjoined by refraction that they present to the imagination anything but the idea of foliage or shade. The water in the bay is calm and smooth as the polished mirror; not the smallest ripple is to be heard on the beach, to break through the silence of nature; not a breath of air sweeps over its glassy surface, which is heated with the intense rays of a vertical noonday sun, pouring down a withering flood of light and heat: not a sea-bird is to be discovered wheeling on its flight, or balancing on its wings as it pierces the deep with its searching eye, ready to dart upon its prey. All is silence, solitude, and desolation, save that occasionally may be seen the fin of some huge shark, either sluggishly moving through the heated element, or stationary in the torpor of the mid-day heat. A site so sterile, so stagnant, so little adapted to human life, cannot well be conceived, unless, by flying to extremes, we were to portray the chilling blast, the transfixing cold, and “close-ribbed ice,” at the frozen poles.

At the entrance of this bay, in about three fathoms water, heedless of the spring cable which hung down as a rope which had fallen overboard, there floated, motionless as death, a vessel whose proportions would have challenged the unanimous admiration of those who could appreciate the merits of her build, had she been anchored in the most frequented and busy harbour of the universe. So beautiful were her lines, that you might almost have imagined her a created being that the ocean had been ordered to receive, as if fashioned by the Divine Architect, to add to the beauty and variety of His works; for, from the huge leviathan to the smallest of the finny tribe—from the towering albatross to the boding petrel of the storm—where could be found, among the winged or finned frequenters of the ocean, a form more appropriate, more fitting, than this specimen of human skill, whose beautiful model and elegant tapering spars were now all that could be discovered to break the meeting lines of the firmament and horizon of the offing.

Alas! she was fashioned, at the will of avarice, for the aid of cruelty and injustice, and now was even more nefariously employed. She had been a slaver—she was now the far-famed, still more dreaded, pirate-schooner, the Avenger.

Not a man-of-war which scoured the deep but had her instructions relative to this vessel, which had been so successful in her career of crime—not a trader in any portion of the navigable globe but whose crew shuddered at the mention of her name, and the remembrance of the atrocities which had been practised by her reckless crew. She had been everywhere—in the east, the west, the north, and the south, leaving a track behind her of rapine and of murder. There she lay in motionless beauty; her low sides were painted black, with one small, narrow riband of red—her raking masts were clean scraped—her topmasts, her cross-trees, caps, and even running-blocks, were painted in pure white. Awnings were spread fore and aft to protect the crew from the powerful rays of the sun; her ropes were hauled taut; and in every point she wore the appearance of being under the control of seamanship and strict discipline. Through the clear smooth water her copper shone brightly; and as you looked over her taffrail down into the calm blue sea, you could plainly discover the sandy bottom beneath her and the anchor which then lay under her counter. A small boat floated astern, the weight of the rope which attached her appearing, in the perfect calm, to draw her towards the schooner.

We must now go on board, and our first cause of surprise will be the deception relative to the tonnage of the schooner, when viewed from a distance. Instead of a small vessel of about ninety tons, we discover that she is upwards of two hundred; that her breadth of beam is enormous; and that those spars, which appeared so light and elegant, are of unexpected dimensions. Her decks are of narrow fir planks, without the least spring or rise; her ropes are of Manilla hemp, neatly secured to copper belaying-pins, and coiled down on the deck, whose whiteness is well contrasted with the bright green paint of her bulwarks; her capstern and binnacles are cased in fluted mahogany, and ornamented with brass; metal stanchions protect the skylights, and the bright muskets are arranged in front of the mainmast, while the boarding-pikes are lashed round the mainboom.

In the centre of the vessel, between the fore and main masts, there is a long brass 32-pounder fixed upon a carriage revolving in a circle, and so arranged that in bad weather it can be lowered down and housed; while on each side of her decks are mounted eight brass guns of smaller calibre and of exquisite workmanship. Her build proves the skill of the architect; her fitting-out, a judgment in which nought has been sacrificed to, although everything has been directed by, taste; and her neatness and arrangement, that, in the person of her commander, to the strictest discipline there is united the practical knowledge of a thorough seaman. How, indeed, otherwise could she have so long continued her lawless yet successful career? How could it have been possible to unite a crew of miscreants, who feared not God nor man, most of whom had perpetrated foul murders, or had been guilty of even blacker iniquities? It was because he who commanded the vessel was so superior as to find in her no rivalry. Superior in talent, in knowledge of his profession, in courage, and, moreover, in physical strength—which in him was almost Herculean—unfortunately he was also superior to all in villainy, in cruelty, and contempt of all injunctions, moral and Divine.

What had been the early life of this person was but imperfectly known. It was undoubted that he had received an excellent education, and it was said that he was of an ancient border family on the banks of the Tweed: by what chances he had become a pirate—by what errors he had fallen from his station in society, until he became an outcast, had never been revealed; it was only known that he had been some years employed in the slave-trade previous to his seizing this vessel and commencing his reckless career. The name by which he was known to the crew of the pirate-vessel was “Cain,” and well had he chosen this appellation; for, had not his hand for more than three years been against every man’s, and every man’s hand against his? In person he was about six feet high, with a breadth of shoulders and of chest denoting the utmost of physical force which, perhaps, has ever been allotted to man. His features would have been handsome had they not been scarred with wounds; and, strange to say, his eye was mild and of a soft blue. His mouth was well formed, and his teeth of a pearly white: the hair of his head was crisped and wavy, and his beard, which he wore, as did every person composing the crew of the pirate, covered the lower part of his face in strong, waving, and continued curls. The proportions of his body were perfect; but from their vastness they became almost terrific. His costume was elegant, and well adapted to his form: linen trousers, and untanned yellow leather boots, such as are made at the Western Isles; a broad-striped cotton shirt; a red Cashmere shawl round his waist as a sash; a vest embroidered in gold tissue, with a jacket of dark velvet, and pendant gold buttons, hanging over his left shoulder, after the fashion of the Mediterranean seamen; a round Turkish skull-cap, handsomely embroidered; a pair of pistols, and a long knife in his sash, completed his attire.

The crew consisted in all of 165 men, of almost every nation; but it was to be remarked that all those in authority were either Englishmen or from the northern countries; the others were chiefly Spaniards and Maltese. Still there were Portuguese, Brazilians, negroes, and others, who made up the complement, which at the time we now speak of was increased by twenty-five additional hands. These were Kroumen, a race of blacks well known at present, who inhabit the coast near Cape Palmas, and are often employed by our men-of-war stationed on the coast to relieve the English seamen from duties which would be too severe to those who were not inured to the climate. They are powerful, athletic men, good sailors, of a happy, merry disposition, and, unlike other Africans, will work hard. Fond of the English, they generally speak the language sufficiently to be understood, and are very glad to receive a baptism when they come on board. The name first given them they usually adhere to as long as they live; and you will now on the coast meet with a Blucher, a Wellington, a Nelson, etcetera, who will wring swabs, or do any other of the meanest description of work, without feeling that it is discreditable to sponsorials so grand.

It is not to be supposed that these men had voluntarily come on board of the pirate; they had been employed in some British vessels trading on the coast, and had been taken out of them when the vessels were burnt, and the Europeans of the crews murdered. They had received a promise of reward, if they did their duty; but, not expecting it, they waited for the earliest opportunity to make their escape.

The captain of the schooner is abaft with his glass in his hand, occasionally sweeping the offing in expectation of a vessel heaving in sight: the officers and crew are lying down, or lounging listlessly, about the decks, panting with the extreme heat, and impatiently waiting for the sea-breeze to fan their parched foreheads. With their rough beards and exposed chests, and their weather-beaten fierce countenances, they form a group which is terrible even in repose.

We must now descend into the cabin of the schooner. The fittings-up of this apartment are simple: on each side is a standing bed-place; against the after bulkhead is a large buffet, originally intended for glass and china, but now loaded with silver and gold vessels of every size and description, collected by the pirate from the different ships which he had plundered; the lamps are also of silver, and evidently had been intended to ornament the shrine of some Catholic saint.

In this cabin there are two individuals, to whom we shall now direct the reader’s attention. The one is a pleasant-countenanced, good-humoured Krouman, who had been christened “Pompey the Great;” most probably on account of his large proportions. He wears a pair of duck trousers; the rest of his body is naked, and presents a sleek, glossy skin, covering muscle, which an anatomist or a sculptor would have viewed with admiration. The other is a youth of eighteen, or thereabouts, with an intelligent, handsome countenance, evidently of European blood. There is, however, an habitually mournful cast upon his features: he is dressed much in the same way as we have described the captain, but the costume hangs more gracefully upon his slender, yet well-formed limbs. He is seated on a sofa, fixed in the fore part of the cabin, with a book in his hand, which occasionally he refers to, and then lifts his eyes from, to watch the motions of the Krouman, who is busy in the office of steward, arranging and cleaning the costly articles in the buffet.

“Massa Francisco, dis really fine ting,” said Pompey, holding up a splendidly embossed tankard, which he had been rubbing.

“Yes,” replied Francisco, gravely; “it is, indeed, Pompey.”

“How Captain Cain came by dis?”

Francisco shook his head, and Pompey put his finger up to his mouth, his eyes, full of meaning, fixed upon Francisco.

At this moment the personage referred to was heard descending the companion-ladder. Pompey recommenced rubbing the silver, and Francisco dropped his eyes upon the book.

What was the tie which appeared to bind the captain to this lad was not known; but, as the latter had always accompanied, and lived together with him, it was generally supposed that he was the captain’s son; and he was as often designated by the crew as young Cain as he was by his Christian name of Francisco. Still it was observed that latterly they had frequently been heard in altercation, and that the captain was very suspicious of Francisco’s movements.

“I beg I may not interrupt your conversation,” said Cain, on entering the cabin; “the information you may obtain from a Krouman must be very important.”

Francisco made no reply, but appeared to be reading his book. Cain’s eyes passed from one to the other, as if to read their thoughts.

“Pray what were you saying, Mr Pompey?”

“Me say, Massa Captain? me only tell young Massa dis very fine ting; ask where you get him—Massa Francisco no tell.”

“And what might it be to you, you black scoundrel?” cried the captain, seizing the goblet, and striking the man with it a blow on the head which flattened the vessel, and at the same time felled the Krouman, powerful as he was, to the deck. The blood streamed, as the man slowly rose, stupefied and trembling from the violent concussion. Without saying a word, he staggered out of the cabin, and Cain threw himself on one of the lockers in front of the standing bed-place, saying, with a bitter smile, “So much for your intimates, Francisco!”

“Rather, so much for your cruelty and injustice towards an unoffending man,” replied Francisco, laying his book on the table. “His question was an innocent one,—for he knew not the particulars connected with the obtaining of that flagon.”

“And you, I presume, do not forget them? Well, be it so, young man; but I warn you again—as I have warned you often—nothing but the remembrance of your mother has prevented me, long before this, from throwing your body to the sharks.”

“What influence my mother’s memory may have over you, I know not; I only regret that, in any way, she had the misfortune to be connected with you.”

“She had the influence,” replied Cain, “which a woman must have over a man when they have for years swung in the same cot; but that is wearing off fast. I tell you so candidly; I will not (even) allow even her memory to check me, if I find you continue your late course. You have shown disaffection before the crew—you have disputed my orders—and I have every reason to believe that you are now plotting against me.”

“Can I do otherwise than show my abhorrence,” replied Francisco, “when I witness such acts of horror, of cruelty—cold-blooded cruelty, as lately have been perpetrated? Why do you bring me here? and why do you now detain me? All I ask is, that you will allow me to leave the vessel. You are not my father; you have told me so.”

“No, I am not your father; but—you are your mother’s son.”

“That gives you no right to have power over me, even if you had been married to my mother; which—”

“I was not.”

“I thank God; for marriage with you would have been even greater disgrace.”

“What!” cried Cain, starting up, seizing the young man by the neck, and lifting him off his seat as if he had been a puppet; “but no—I cannot forget your mother.” Cain released Francisco, and resumed his seat on the locker.

“As you please,” said Francisco, as soon as he had recovered himself; “it matters little whether I am brained by your own hand, or launched overboard as a meal for the sharks; it will be but one more murder.”

“Mad fool! why do you tempt me thus?” replied Cain, again starting up, and hastily quitting the cabin.

The altercation which we have just described was not unheard on deck, as the doors of the cabin were open, and the skylight removed to admit the air. The face of Cain was flushed as he ascended the ladder. He perceived his chief mate standing by the hatchway, and many of the men, who had been slumbering abaft, with their heads raised on their elbows, as if they had been listening to the conversation below.

“It will never do, sir,” said Hawkhurst, the mate, shaking his head.

“No,” replied the captain; “not if he were my own son. But what is to be done?—he knows no fear.”

Hawkhurst pointed to the entering port.

“When I ask your advice, you may give it,” said the captain, turning gloomily away.

In the meantime, Francisco paced the cabin in deep thought. Young as he was, he was indifferent to death; for he had no tie to render life precious. He remembered his mother, but not her demise; that had been concealed from him. At the age of seven he had sailed with Cain in a slaver, and had ever since continued with him. Until lately, he had been led to suppose that the captain was his father. During the years that he had been in the slave-trade, Cain had devoted much time to his education; it so happened that the only book which could be found on board of the vessel, when Cain first commenced teaching, was a Bible belonging to Francisco’s mother. Out of this book he learned to read; and, as his education advanced, other books were procured. It may appear strange that the very traffic in which his reputed father was engaged did not corrupt the boy’s mind, but, accustomed to it from his infancy, he had considered these negroes as another species,—an idea fully warranted by the cruelty of the Europeans towards them.

There are some dispositions so naturally kind and ingenuous that even example and evil contact cannot debase them: such was the disposition of Francisco. As he gained in years and knowledge, he thought more and more for himself, and had already become disgusted with the cruelties practised upon the unfortunate negroes, when the slave-vessel was seized upon by Cain and converted into a pirate. At first, the enormities committed had not been so great; vessels had been seized and plundered, but life had been spared. In the course of crime, however, the descent is rapid: and as, from information given by those who had been released, the schooner was more than once in danger of being captured, latterly no lives had been spared; and but too often the murders had been attended with deeds even more atrocious.

Francisco had witnessed scenes of horror until his young blood curdled: he had expostulated to save, but in vain. Disgusted with the captain and the crew, and their deeds of cruelty, he had latterly expressed his opinions fearlessly, and defied the captain; for, in the heat of an altercation, Cain had acknowledged that Francisco was not his son.

Had any of the crew or officers expressed but a tithe of what had fallen from the bold lips of Francisco, they would have long before paid the forfeit of their temerity; but there was a feeling towards Francisco which could not be stifled in the breast of Cain—it was the feeling of association and habit. The boy had been his companion for years: and from assuetude had become, as it were, a part of himself. There is a principle in our nature which, even when that nature is most debased, will never leave us—that of requiring something to love, something to protect and watch over: it is shown towards a dog, or any other animal, if it cannot be lavished upon one of our own species. Such was the feeling which so forcibly held Cain towards Francisco; such was the feeling which had hitherto saved his life.

After having paced up and down for some time, the youth took his seat on the locker which the captain had quitted: his eye soon caught the head of Pompey, who looked into the cabin and beckoned with his finger.

Francisco rose, and, taking up a flagon from the buffet which contained some spirits, walked to the door, and, without saying a word, handed it to the Krouman.

“Massa Francisco,” whispered Pompey, “Pompey say—all Kroumen say—suppose they run away, you go too? Pompey say—all Kroumen say—suppose they try to kill you? Nebber kill you while one Krouman alive.”

The negro then gently pushed Francisco back with his hand, as if not wishing to hear his answer, and hastened forward on the berth deck.

Chapter Eight.

The Attack.

In the meantime, the sea-breeze had risen in the offing, and was sweeping along the surface to where the schooner was at anchor. The captain ordered a man to the cross-trees, directing him to keep a good look-out, while he walked the deck in company with his first mate.

“She may not have sailed until a day or two later,” said the captain, continuing the conversation; “I have made allowance for that, and, depend upon it, as she makes the eastern passage, we must soon fall in with her; if she does not heave in sight this evening, by daylight I shall stretch out in the offing; I know the Portuguese well. The sea-breeze has caught our craft: let them run up the inner jib, and see that she does not foul her anchor.”

It was now late in the afternoon, and dinner had been sent into the cabin; the captain descended, and took his seat at the table with Francisco, who ate in silence. Once or twice the captain, whose wrath had subsided, and whose kindly feelings towards Francisco, checked for a time, had returned with greater force, tried, but in vain, to rally him to conversation, when “Sail ho!” was shouted from the mast-head.

“There she is, by God!” cried the captain, jumping from, and then, as if checking himself, immediately resuming, his seat.

Francisco put his hand to his forehead, covering his eyes as his elbow leant upon the table.

“A large ship, sir; we can see down to the second reef of her topsails,” said Hawkhurst, looking down the skylight.

The captain hastily swallowed some wine from a flagon, cast a look of scorn and anger upon Francisco, and rushed on deck.

“Be smart, lads!” cried the captain, after a few seconds’ survey of the vessel through his glass; “that’s her: furl the awnings, and run the anchor up to the bows: there’s more silver in that vessel, my lads, than your chests will hold: and the good saints of the churches at Goa will have to wait a little longer for their gold candlesticks.”

The crew were immediately on the alert; the awnings were furled, and all the men, stretching aft the spring cable, walked the anchor up to the bows. In two minutes more the Avenger was standing out on the starboard tack, shaping her course so as to cut off the ill-fated vessel. The breeze freshened, and the schooner darted through the smooth water with the impetuosity of a dolphin after its prey. In an hour the hull of the ship was plainly to be distinguished; but the sun was near to the horizon, and before they could ascertain what their force might be, daylight had disappeared. Whether the schooner had been perceived or not, it was impossible to say; at all events, the course of the ship had not been altered, and if she had seen the schooner, she evidently treated her with contempt. On board the Avenger, they were not idle; the long gun in the centre had been cleared from the incumbrances which surrounded it, the other guns had been cast loose, shot handed up, and everything prepared for action, with all the energy and discipline of a man-of-war. The chase had not been lost sight of, the eyes of the pirate-captain were fixed upon her through a night-glass. In about an hour more the schooner was within a mile of the ship, and now altered her course so as to range up within a cable’s length of her to leeward. Cain stood upon the gunwale and hailed. The answer was in Portuguese.

“Heave to, or I’ll sink you!” replied he in the same language.

A general discharge from a broadside of carronades, and a heavy volley of muskets from the Portuguese, was the decided answer. The broadside, too much elevated to hit the low hull of the schooner, was still not without effect—the foretopmast fell, the jaws of the main-gaff were severed, and a large proportion of the standing as well as the running rigging came rattling down on her decks. The volley of musketry was more fatal: thirteen of the pirates were wounded, some of them severely.

“Well done! John Portuguese,” cried Hawkhurst: “by the holy poker! I never gave you credit for so much pluck.”

“Which they shall dearly pay for,” was the cool reply of Cain, as he still remained in his exposed situation.

“Blood for blood! if I drink it,” observed the second mate, as he looked at the crimson rivulet trickling down the fingers of his left hand from a wound in his arm—“just tie my handkerchief round this, Bill.”

In the interim, Cain had desired his crew to elevate their guns, and the broadside was returned.

“That will do, my lads: starboard; ease off the boom-sheet; let her go right round, Hawkhurst,—we cannot afford to lose our men.”

The schooner wore round, and ran astern of her opponent.

The Portuguese on board the ship, imagining that the schooner, finding she had met with unexpected resistance, had sheered off, gave a loud cheer.

“The last you will ever give, my fine fellows!” observed Cain, with a sneer.

In a few moments the schooner had run a mile astern of the ship.

“Now then, Hawkhurst, let her come too and about; man the long gun, and see that every shot is pitched into her, while the rest of them get up a new foretopmast, and knot and splice the rigging.”

The schooner’s head was again turned towards the ship; her position was right astern, about a mile distant or rather more; the long 82-pounder gun amidships was now regularly served, every shot passing through the cabin-windows, or some other part of the ship’s stern, raking her fore and aft. In vain did the ship alter her course, and present her broadside to the schooner; the latter was immediately checked in her speed, so as to keep the prescribed distance at which the carronades of the ship were useless, and the execution from the long gun decisive. The ship was at the mercy of the pirate; and, as may be expected, no mercy was shown. For three hours did this murderous attack continue, when the gun, which, as before observed, was of brass, became so heated that the pirate-captain desired his men to discontinue. Whether the ship had surrendered or not it was impossible to say, as it was too dark to distinguish: while the long gun was served, the foretop-mast and main-gaff had been shifted, and all the standing and running rigging made good; the schooner keeping her distance, and following in the wake of the ship until daylight.

We must now repair on board of the ship; she was an Indiaman; one of the very few that occasionally are sent out by the Portuguese government to a country which once owned their undivided sway, but in which, at present, they hold but a few miles of territory. She was bound to Goa, and had on board a small detachment of troops, a new governor and his two sons, a bishop and his niece, with her attendant. The sailing of a vessel with such a freight was a circumstance of rare occurrence, and was, of course, generally bruited about long before her departure. Cain had, for some months, received all the necessary intelligence relative to her cargo and destination; but, as usual with the Portuguese of the present day, delay upon delay had followed, and it was not until about three weeks previous that he had been assured of her immediate departure. He then ran down the coast to the bay we have mentioned, that he might intercept her; and, as the event had proved, showed his usual judgment and decision. The fire of the schooner had been most destructive; many of the Indiaman’s crew, as well as of the troops, had been mowed down one after another; until at last, finding that all their efforts to defend themselves were useless, most of those who were still unhurt had consulted their safety, and hastened down to the lowest recesses of the hold to avoid the raking and destructive shot. At the time that the schooner had discontinued her fire to allow the gun to cool, there was no one on deck but the Portuguese captain and one old weatherbeaten seaman who stood at the helm. Below, in the orlop-deck, the remainder of the crew and the passengers were huddled together in a small space: some were attending to the wounded, who were numerous; others were invoking the saints to their assistance; the bishop, a tall, dignified person, apparently nearly sixty years of age, was kneeling in the centre of the group, which was dimly lighted by two or three lanterns, at one time in fervent prayer, at another, interrupted, that he might give absolution to those wounded men whose spirits were departing, and who were brought down and laid before him by their comrades. On one side of him knelt his orphan niece, a young girl of about seventeen years of age, watching his countenance as he prayed, or bending down with a look of pity and tearful eyes on her expiring countrymen, whose last moments were gladdened by his holy offices. On the other side of the bishop, stood the governor, Don Philip de Ribiera, and his two sons, youths in their prime, and holding commissions in the king’s service. There was melancholy on the brow of Don Ribiera; he was prepared for, and he anticipated, the worst. The eldest son had his eyes fixed upon the sweet countenance of Teresa de Silva—that very evening, as they walked together on the deck, had they exchanged their vows—that very evening they had luxuriated in the present, and had dwelt with delightful anticipation on the future. But we must leave them and return on deck.

The captain of the Portuguese ship had walked aft, and now went up to Antonio, the old seaman, who was standing at the wheel.

“I still see her with the glass, Antonio, and yet she has not fired for nearly two hours; do you think any accident has happened to her long gun? if so, we may have some chance.”

Antonio shook his head. “We have but little chance, I am afraid, my captain; I knew by the ring of the gun, when she fired it, that it was brass; indeed, no schooner could carry a long iron gun of that calibre. Depend upon it, she only waits for the metal to cool and daylight to return: a long gun or two might have saved us; but now, as she has the advantage of us in heels, we are at her mercy.”

“What can she be—a French privateer?”

“I trust it may be so; and I have promised a silver candlestick to St. Antonio that it may prove no worse: we then may have some chance of seeing our homes again; but I fear not.”

“What, then, do you imagine her to be, Antonio?”

“The pirate which we have heard so much of.”

“Jesu protect us! we must then sell our lives as dearly as we can.”

“So I intend to do, my captain,” replied Antonio, shifting the helm a spoke.

The day broke, and showed the schooner continuing her pursuit at the same distance astern, without any apparent movement on board. It was not until the sun was some degrees above the horizon that the smoke was again seen to envelop her bows, and the shot crashed through the timbers of the Portuguese ship. The reason for this delay was, that the pirate waited till the sun was up to ascertain if there were any other vessels to be seen, previous to his pouncing on his quarry. The Portuguese captain went aft and hoisted his ensign, but no flag was shown by the schooner. Again whistled the ball, and again did it tear up the decks of the unfortunate ship: many of those who had re-ascended to ascertain what was going on, now hastily sought their former retreat.

“Mind the helm, Antonio,” said the Portuguese captain; “I must go down and consult with the governor.”

“Never fear, my captain; as long as these limbs hold together, I will do my duty,” replied the old man, exhausted as he was by long watching and fatigue.

The captain descended to the orlop-deck, where he found the major part of the crew and passengers assembled.

“My lords,” said he, addressing the governor and the bishop, “the schooner has not shown any colours, although our own are hoisted. I am come down to know your pleasure. Defence we can make none; and I fear that we are at the mercy of a pirate.”

“A pirate!” ejaculated several, beating their breasts, and calling upon their saints.

“Silence, my good people, silence,” quietly observed the bishop; “as to what it may be best to do,” continued he, turning to the captain, “I cannot advise; I am a man of peace, and unfit to hold a place in a council of war. Don Ribiera, I must refer the point to you and your sons. Tremble not, my dear Teresa; are we not under the protection of the Almighty?”

“Holy Virgin, pity us!”

“Come, my sons,” said Don Ribiera, “we will go on deck and consult: let not any of the men follow us; it is useless risking lives which may yet be valuable.”

Don Ribiera and his sons followed the captain to the quarter deck, and with him and Antonio they held a consultation.

“We have but one chance,” observed the old man, after a time: “let us haul down our colours as if in submission; they will then range up alongside, and either board us from the schooner, or from their boats; at all events, we shall find out what she is, and, if a pirate, we must sell our lives as dearly as we can. If, when we haul down the colours, she ranges up alongside, as I expect she will, let all the men be prepared for a desperate struggle.”

“You are right, Antonio,” replied the governor; “go aft captain, and haul down the colours!—let us see what she does now. Down, my boys! and prepare the men to do their duty.”

As Antonio had predicted, so soon as the colours were hauled down, the schooner ceased firing and made sail. She ranged up on the quarter of the ship, and up to her main peak soared the terrific black flag; her broadside was poured into the Indiaman, and before the smoke had cleared away there was a concussion from the meeting sides, and the bearded pirates poured upon her decks.

The crew of the Portuguese, with the detachment of troops, still formed a considerable body of men. The sight of the black flag had struck ice into every heart, but the feeling was resolved into one of desperation.

“Knives, men, knives!” roared Antonio, rushing on to the attack, followed by the most brave.

“Blood for blood!” cried the second mate, aiming a blow at the old man.

“You have it,” replied Antonio, as his knife entered the pirate’s heart, while, at the same moment, he fell and was himself a corpse.

The struggle was deadly, but the numbers and ferocity of the pirates prevailed. Cain rushed forward followed by Hawkhurst, bearing down all who opposed them. With one blow from the pirate-captain, the head of Don Ribiera was severed to the shoulder; a second struck down the eldest son, while the sword of Hawkhurst passed through the body of the other. The Portuguese captain had already fallen, and the men no longer stood their ground. A general massacre ensued, and the bodies were thrown overboard as fast as the men were slaughtered. In less than five minutes there was not a living Portuguese on the bloody decks of the ill-fated ship.

Chapter Nine.

The Capture.

“Pass the word for not a man to go below, Hawkhurst,” said the pirate-captain.

“I have, sir; and sentries are stationed at the hatchways. Shall we haul the schooner off?”

“No, let her remain; the breeze is faint already: we shall have a calm in half an hour. Have we lost many men?”

“Only seven, that I can reckon; but we have lost Wallace,” (the second mate).

“A little promotion will do no harm,” replied Cain; “take a dozen of our best men and search the ship, there are others alive yet. By-the-by, send a watch on board of the schooner; she is left to the mercy of the Kroumen, and—”

“One who is better out of her,” replied Hawkhurst.

“And those we find below—” continued the mate.


“True; we may else be puzzled where to find that portion of her cargo which suits us,” said Hawkhurst, going down the hatchway to collect the men who were plundering on the main deck and in the captain’s cabin.

“Here, you Maltese! up, there! and look well round if there is anything in sight,” said the captain, walking aft.

Before Hawkhurst had collected the men and ordered them on board of the schooner, as usual in those latitudes, it had fallen a perfect calm.

Where was Francisco during this scene of blood? He had remained in the cabin of the schooner. Cain had more than once gone down to him, to persuade him to come on deck and assist at the boarding of the Portuguese, but in vain—his sole reply to the threats and solicitations of the pirate was—

“Do with me as you please—I have made up my mind—you know I do not fear death—as long as I remain on board of this vessel, I will take no part in your atrocities. If you do respect my mother’s memory, suffer her son to seek an honest and honourable livelihood.”

The words of Francisco were ringing in the ears of Cain as he walked up and down on the quarter-deck of the Portuguese vessel, and, debased as he was, he could not help thinking that the youth was his equal in animal, and his superior in mental, courage—he was arguing in his own mind upon the course he should pursue with respect to Francisco, when Hawkhurst made his appearance on deck, followed by his men, who dragged up six individuals who had escaped the massacre. These were the bishop; his niece, a Portuguese girl; her attendant; the supercargo of the vessel; a sacristan; and a servant of the ecclesiastic; they were hauled along the deck and placed in a row before the captain, who cast his eye upon them in severe scrutiny. The bishop and his niece looked round, the one proudly meeting the eye of Cain, although he felt that his hour was come; the other carefully avoiding his gaze, and glancing round to ascertain whether there were any other prisoners, and if so, if her betrothed was amongst them; but her eye discovered not what she sought—it was met only by the bearded faces of the pirate-crew, and the blood which bespattered the deck.

She covered her face with her hands.

“Bring that man forward,” said Cain, pointing to the servant. “Who are you.”

“A servant of my lord the bishop.”

“And you?” continued the captain.

“A poor sacristan attending upon my lord the bishop.”

“And you?” cried he to a third.

“The supercargo of this vessel.”

“Put him aside, Hawkhurst!”

“Do you want the others?” inquired Hawkhurst significantly.


Hawkhurst gave a signal to some of the pirates, who led away the sacristan and the servant. A stifled shriek and a heavy plunge in the water were heard a few seconds after. During this time the pirate had been questioning the supercargo as to the contents of the vessel, and her stowage, when he was suddenly interrupted by one of the pirates, who in a hurried voice, stated that the ship had received several shot between wind and water, and was sinking fast. Cain, who was standing on the side of the carronade with his sword in his hand, raised his arm and struck the pirate a blow on the head with the hilt, which, whether intended or not, fractured his skull, and the man fell upon the deck.

“Take that, babbler! for your intelligence; if these men are obstinate, we may have worked for nothing.”

The crew, who felt the truth of their captain’s remark, did not appear to object to the punishment inflicted, and the body of the man was dragged away.

“What mercy can we expect from those who show no mercy even to each other?” observed the bishop, lifting his eyes to heaven.

“Silence!” cried Cain, who now interrogated the supercargo as to the contents of the hold—the poor man answered as well as he could—“the plate! the money for the troops—where are they?”

“The money for the troops is in the spirit-room, but of the plate I know nothing; it is in some of the cases belonging to my lord the bishop.”

“Hawkhurst! down at once into the spirit-room, and see to the money; in the mean time I will ask a few questions of this reverend father.”

“And the supercargo—do you want him any more?”

“No; he may go.”

The poor man fell down on his knees in thankfulness at what he considered his escape: he was dragged away by the pirates, and, it is scarcely necessary to add that in a minute his body was torn to pieces by the sharks, who, scenting their prey from a distance, were now playing in shoals around the two vessels.

The party on the quarter-deck were now (unperceived by the captain) joined by Francisco, who, hearing from the Krouman, Pompey, that there were prisoners still on board, and amongst them two females, had come over to plead the cause of mercy.

“Most reverend father,” observed Cain, after a short pause, “you have many articles of value in this vessel?”

“None,” replied the bishop, “except this poor girl; she is, indeed, beyond price, and will, I trust, soon be an angel in heaven.”

“Yet is this world, if what you preach be true, a purgatory which must be passed through previous to arriving there, and that girl may think death a blessing compared to what she may expect if you refuse to tell me what I would know. You have good store of gold and silver ornaments for your churches—where are they?”

“They are among the packages intrusted to my care.”

“How many may you have in all?”

“A hundred, if not more.”

“Will you deign to inform me where I may find what I require?”

“The gold and silver are not mine, but are the property of that God to whom they have been dedicated,” replied the bishop.

“Answer quickly; no more subterfuge, good sir. Where is it to be found?”

“I will not tell, thou blood-stained man; at least; in this instance, there shall be disappointment, and the sea shall swallow up those earthly treasures to obtain which thou hast so deeply imbrued thy hands. Pirate! I repeat it, I will not tell.”

“Seize that girl, my lads!” cried Cain; “she is yours, do with her as you please.”

“Save me! oh, save me!” shrieked Teresa, clinging to the bishop’s robe.

The pirates advanced and laid hold of Teresa. Francisco bounded from where he stood behind the captain, and dashed away the foremost.

“Are you men?” cried he, as the pirates retreated. “Holy sir, I honour you. Alas! I cannot save you,” continued Francisco, mournfully. “Yet will I try. On my knees—by the love you bore my mother—by the affection you once bore me—do not commit this horrid deed. My lads!” continued Francisco, appealing to the pirates, “join with me and entreat your captain; ye are too brave, too manly, to injure the helpless and the innocent—above all, to shed the blood of a holy man, and of this poor trembling maiden.”

There was a pause—even the pirates appeared to side with Francisco, though none of them dared to speak. The muscles of the captain’s face quivered with emotion, but from what source could not be ascertained.

At this moment the interest of the scene was heightened. The girl who attended upon Teresa, crouched on her knees with terror, had been casting her fearful eyes upon the men who composed the pirate-crew; suddenly she uttered a scream of delight as she discovered among them one that she well knew. He was a young man, about twenty-five years of age, with little or no beard. He had been her lover in his more innocent days; and she, for more than a year, had mourned him as dead, for the vessel in which he sailed had never been heard of. It had been taken by the pirate, and, to save his life, he had joined the crew.

“Filippo! Filippo!” screamed the girl, rushing into his arms. “Mistress! it is Filippo; and we are safe.”

Filippo instantly recognised her: the sight of her brought back to his memory his days of happiness and of innocence; and the lovers were clasped in each other’s arms.

“Save them! spare them!—by the spirit of my mother! I charge you,” repeated Francisco, again appealing to the captain.

“May God bless thee, thou good young man!” said the bishop, advancing and placing his hand upon Francisco’s head.

Cain answered not; but his broad expanded chest heaved with emotion—when Hawkhurst burst into the group.

“We are too late for the money, captain: the water is already six feet above it. We must now try for the treasure.”

This intelligence appeared to check the current of the captain’s feelings.

“Now, in one word, sir,” said he to the bishop, “where is the treasure? Trifle not, or, by Heaven—!”

“Name not Heaven,” replied the bishop; “you have had my answer.”

The captain turned away, and gave some directions to Hawkhurst, who hastened below.

“Remove that boy,” said Cain to the pirates, pointing to Francisco, “Separate those two fools,” continued he, looking towards Filippo and the girl, who were sobbing in each other’s arms.

“Never!” cried Filippo.

“Throw the girl to the sharks! Do you hear? Am I to be obeyed?” cried Cain, raising his cutlass.

Filippo started up, disengaged himself from the girl, and, drawing his knife, rushed towards the captain to plunge it in his bosom.

With the quickness of lightning the captain caught his uplifted hand, and, breaking his wrist, hurled him to the deck.

“Indeed!” cried he, with a sneer.

“You shall not separate us,” said Filippo, attempting to rise.

“I do not intend it, my good lad,” replied Cain. “Lash them both together and launch them overboard.”

This order was obeyed: for the pirates not only quailed before the captain’s cool courage, but were indignant that his life had been attempted. There was little occasion to tie the unhappy pair together; they were locked so fast in each other’s arms that it would have been impossible almost to separate them. In this state they were carried to the entering-port, and cast into the sea.

“Monster!” cried the bishop, as he heard the splash, “thou wilt have a heavy reckoning for this.”

“Now bring these forward,” said Cain, with a savage voice.

The bishop and his niece were led to the gangway.

“What dost thou see, good bishop?” said Cain pointing to the discoloured water, and the rapid motion of the fins of the sharks, eager in the anticipation of a further supply.

“I see ravenous creatures after their kind,” replied the bishop, “who will, in all probability, soon tear asunder those poor limbs; but I see no monster like thyself. Teresa, dearest, fear not; there is a God, an avenging God; as well as a rewarding one.”

But Teresa’s eyes were closed—she could not look upon the scene.

“You have your choice; first torture, and then your body to those sharks for your own portion: and as for the girl, this moment I hand her over to my crew.”

“Never!” shrieked Teresa, springing from the deck and plunging into the wave.

There was a splash of contention, the lashing of tails, until the water was in a foam, and then the dark colour gradually cleared away, and nought was to be seen, but the pure blue wave and the still unsatisfied monsters of the deep.

“The screws—the screws! quick! we’ll have the secret from him,” cried the pirate-captain, turning to his crew, who, villains as they were, had been shocked at this last catastrophe. “Seize him!”

“Touch him not!” cried Francisco, standing on the hammock-netting; “touch him not! if you are men.”

Boiling with rage, Cain let go the arm of the bishop, drew his pistol, and levelled it at Francisco. The bishop threw up the arm of Cain as he fired; saw that he had missed his aim, and clasping his hands, raised his eyes to heaven in thankfulness at Francisco’s escape. In this position he was collared by Hawkhurst, whose anger overcame his discretion, and who hurled him through the entering-port into the sea.

“Officious fool!” muttered Cain, when he perceived what the mate had done. Then, recollecting himself, he cried,—“Seize that boy and bring him here.”

One or two of the crew advanced to obey his orders; but Pompey and the Kroumen, who had been attentive to what was going on, had collected round Francisco, and a scuffle ensued. The pirates, not being very determined, nor very anxious to take Francisco, allowed him to be hurried away in the centre of the Kroumen, who bore him safely to the schooner.

In the meantime Hawkhurst, and the major part of the men on board of the ship, had been tearing up the hold to obtain the valuables, but without success. The water had now reached above the orlop-deck, and all further attempts were unavailing. The ship was settling fast, and it became necessary to quit her, and haul off the schooner; that she might not be endangered by the vortex of the sinking vessel. Cain and Hawkhurst, with their disappointed crew, returned on board the schooner, and before they had succeeded in detaching the two vessels a cable’s length the ship went down with all the treasure so coveted. The indignation and rage which were expressed by the captain as he rapidly walked the deck in company with his first mate—his violent gesticulation—proved to the crew that there was mischief brewing. Francisco did not return to the cabin; he remained forward with the Kroumen, who, although but a small portion of the ship’s company, were known to be resolute and not to be despised. It was also observed that all of them had supplied themselves with arms, and were collected forward, huddled together, watching every motion and manoeuvre, and talking rapidly in their own language. The schooner was now steered to the north-westward under all press of sail. The sun again disappeared, but Francisco returned not to the cabin—he went below, surrounded by the Kroumen, who appeared to have devoted themselves to his protection. Once during the night Hawkhurst summoned them on deck, but they obeyed not the order; and to the expostulation of the boatswain’s mate, who came down, they made no reply. But there were many of the pirates in the schooner who appeared to coincide with the Kroumen in their regard for Francisco. There are shades of villainy in the most profligate of societies; and among the pirate’s crew some were not yet wholly debased. The foul murder of a holy man—the cruel fate of the beautiful Teresa—and the barbarous conduct of the captain towards Filippo and his mistress, were deeds of an atrocity to which even the most hardened were unaccustomed. Francisco’s pleadings in behalf of mercy were at least no crime; and yet they considered that Francisco was doomed. He was a general favourite; the worst-disposed of the pirates, with the exception of Hawkhurst, if they did not love him, could not forbear respecting him; although at the same time they felt that if Francisco remained on board the power even of Cain himself would soon be destroyed. For many months Hawkhurst, who detested the youth, had been most earnest that he should be sent out of the schooner. Now he pressed the captain for his removal in any way, as necessary for their mutual safety, pointing out to Cain the conduct of the Kroumen, and his fears that a large proportion of the ship’s company were equally disaffected. Cain felt the truth of Hawkhurst’s representation, and he went down to his cabin to consider upon what should be done.

It was past midnight, when Cain, worn out with the conflicting passions of the day, fell into an uneasy slumber. His dreams were of Francisco’s mother—she appeared to him pleading for her son, and Cain “babbled in his sleep.” At this time Francisco, with Pompey, had softly crawled aft, that they might obtain, if they found the captain asleep, the pistols of Francisco, with some ammunition. Pompey slipped in first, and started back when he heard the captain’s voice. They remained at the cabin-door listening. “No, no,” murmured Cain, “he must die—useless—plead not, woman!—I know I murdered thee—plead not, he dies!”

In one of the sockets of the silver lamp there was a lighted wick, the rays of which were sufficient to afford a dim view of the cabin. Francisco, overhearing the words of Cain, stepped in, and walked up to the side of the bed. “Boy! plead not,” continued Cain, lying on his back and breathing heavily—“plead not—woman!—to-morrow he dies.” A pause ensued, as if the sleeping man was listening to a reply. “Yes, as I murdered thee, so will I murder him.”

“Wretch!” said Francisco, in a low, solemn voice, “didst thou kill my mother?”

“I did—I did!” responded Cain, still sleeping.

“And why?” continued Francisco, who at this acknowledgment on the part of the sleeping captain was careless of discovery.

“In my mood she vexed me,” answered Cain.

“Fiend; thou hast then confessed it!” cried Francisco in a loud voice, which awoke the captain, who started up; but before his senses were well recovered, or his eyes open so as to distinguish their forms, Pompey struck out the light, and all was darkness; he then put his hand to Francisco’s mouth, and led him out of the cabin.

“Who’s there?—who’s there?” cried Cain.

The officer in charge of the deck hastened down. “Did you call, sir?”

“Call!” repeated the captain. “I thought there was some one in the cabin. I want a light—that’s all,” continued he, recovering himself, as he wiped the cold perspiration from his forehead.

In the meantime Francisco, with Pompey, had gained his former place of refuge with the Kroumen. The feelings of the young man changed from agony to revenge; his object in returning to the cabin to recover his weapons had been frustrated, but his determination now was to take the life of the captain if he possibly could. The following morning the Kroumen again refused to work or go on deck; and the state of affairs was reported by Hawkhurst to his chief. The mate now assumed another tone: for he had sounded not the majority but the most steady and influential men on board, who, like himself, were veterans in crime.

“It must be, sir; or you will no longer command this vessel. I am desired to say so.”

“Indeed!” replied Cain, with a sneer. “Perhaps you have already chosen my successor?”

Hawkhurst perceived that he had lost ground, and he changed his manner. “I speak but for yourself: if you do not command this vessel I shall not remain in her: if you quit her, I quit also; and we must find another.”

Cain was pacified, and the subject was not renewed.

“Turn the hands up,” at last said the captain. The pirate-crew assembled aft.

“My lads, I am sorry that our laws oblige me to make an example; but mutiny and disaffection must be punished. I am equally bound as yourselves by the laws which we have laid down for our guidance while we sail together; and you may believe that in doing my duty in this instance I am guided by a sense of justice, and wish to prove to you that I am worthy to command. Francisco has been with me since he was a child; he has lived with me, and it is painful to part with him: but I am here to see that our laws are put in force. He has been guilty of repeated mutiny and contempt, and—he must die.”

“Death! death!” cried several of the pirates in advance: “death and justice!”

“No more murder!” said several voices from behind.

“Who’s that that speaks?”

“Too much murder yesterday—no more murder!” shouted several voices at once.

“Let the men come forward who speak,” cried Cain with a withering look. No one obeyed this order. “Down, then, my men! and bring up Francisco.”

The whole of the pirate-crew hastened below, but with different intentions. Some were determined to seize Francisco, and hand him over to death—others to protect him. A confused noise was heard—the shouts of “Down and seize him!” opposed to those of “No murder! No murder!”

Both parties had snatched up their arms; those who sided with Francisco joined the Kroumen, whilst the others also hastened below to bring him on deck. A slight scuffle ensued before they separated, and ascertained by the separation the strength of the contending parties. Francisco, perceiving that he was joined by a large body, desired his men to follow him, went up the fore-ladder, and took possession of the forecastle. The pirates on his side supplied him with arms, and Francisco stood forward in advance. Hawkhurst, and those of the crew who sided with him, had retreated to the quarter-deck, and rallied round the captain, who leaned against the capstern. They were then able to estimate their comparative strength. The number, on the whole, preponderated in favour of Francisco; but on the captain’s side were the older and more athletic of the crew, and, we may add, the more determined. Still, the captain and Hawkhurst perceived the danger of their situation, and it was thought advisable to parley for the present, and wreak their vengeance hereafter. For a few minutes there was a low consultation between both parties; at last Cain advanced.

“My lads,” said he, addressing those who had rallied round Francisco, “I little thought that a fire-brand would have been cast in this vessel to set us all at variance. It was my duty, as your captain, to propose that our laws should be enforced. Tell me now what is it that you wish. I am only here as your captain, and to take the sense of the whole crew. I have no animosity against that lad: I have loved him—I have cherished him; but like a viper, he has stung me in return. Instead of being in arms against each other, ought we not to be united? I have, therefore, one proposal to make to you, which is this: let the sentence go by vote, or ballot, if you please; and whatever the sentence may be, I shall be guided by it. Can I say more?”

“My lads,” replied Francisco, when the captain had done speaking, “I think it better that you should accept this proposal rather than that blood should be shed. My life is of little consequence; say, then, will you agree to the vote, and submit to those laws, which, as the captain says, have been laid down to regulate the discipline of the vessel?”

The pirates on Francisco’s side looked round among their party, and, perceiving that they were the most numerous, consented to the proposal; but Hawkhurst stepped forward and observed: “Of course the Kroumen can have no votes, as they do not belong to the vessel.”

This objection was important, as they amounted to twenty-five, and, after that number was deducted, in all probability, Francisco’s adherents would have been in the minority. The pirates, with Francisco, objected, and again assumed the attitude of defence.

“One moment,” said Francisco, stepping in advance; “before this point is settled, I wish to take the sense of all of you as to another of your laws. I ask you, Hawkhurst, and all who are now opposed to me, whether you have not one law, which is Blood for blood?”

“Yes—yes,” shouted all the pirates.

“Then let your captain stand forward, and answer to my charge, if he dares.”

Cain curled his lip in derision, and walked within two yards of Francisco.

“Well, boy, I’m here; and what is your charge?”

“First—I ask you, Captain Cain, who are so anxious that the laws should be enforced, whether you acknowledge that ‘Blood for blood’ is a just law?”

“Most just: and, when shed, the party who revenges is not amenable.”

“’Tis well: then villain that thou art, answer—Didst thou not murder my mother?”

Cain, at this accusation, started.

“Answer the truth, or lie like a recreant!” repeated Francisco. “Did you not murder my mother?”

The captain’s lips and the muscles of his face quivered, but he did not reply.

Blood for blood!” cried Francisco, as he fired his pistol at Cain, who staggered, and fell on the deck.

Hawkhurst and several of the pirates hastened to the captain, and raised him.

“She must have told him last night,” said Cain, speaking with difficulty, as the blood flowed from the wound.

“He told me so himself,” said Francisco, turning round to those who stood by him.

Cain was taken down into the cabin. On examination, his wound was not mortal, although his loss of blood had been rapid and very great. In a few minutes Hawkhurst joined the party on the quarter deck. He found that the tide had turned more in Francisco’s favour than he had expected; the law of “Blood for blood” was held most sacred: indeed, it was but the knowledge that it was solemnly recognised, and that, if one pirate wounded another, the other was at liberty to take his life, without punishment, which prevented constant affrays between parties, whose knives would otherwise have been the answer to every affront. It was a more debased law of duelling, which kept such profligate associates on good terms. Finding, therefore, that this feeling predominated, even among those who were opposed to Francisco on the other question, Hawkhurst thought it advisable to parley.

“Hawkhurst,” said Francisco, “I have but one request to make, which, if complied with, will put an end to this contention; it is, that you will put me on shore at the first land that we make. If you and your party engage to do this, I will desire those who support me to return to their obedience.”

“I grant it,” replied Hawkhurst; “and so will the others. Will you not, my men?”

“Agreed—agreed upon all sides,” cried the pirates, throwing away their weapons, and mingling with each other, as if they had never been opposed.

There is an old saying, that there is honour amongst thieves; and so it often proves. Every man in the vessel knew that this agreement would be strictly adhered to; and Francisco now walked the deck with as much composure as if nothing had occurred.

Hawkhurst, who was aware that he must fulfil his promise, carefully examined the charts when he went down below, came up and altered the course of the schooner two points more to the northward. The next morning he was up at the mast-head nearly half an hour, when he descended, and again altered the course. By nine o’clock a low sandy island appeared on the lee bow; when within half a mile of it, he ordered the schooner to be hove to, and lowered down the small boat from the stern. He then turned the hands up. “My lads, we must keep our promise, to put Francisco on shore at the first land which we made. There it is!” And a malicious smile played on the miscreant’s features as he pointed out to them the barren sand-bank, which promised nothing but starvation and a lingering death. Several of the crew murmured; but Hawkhurst was supported by his own party, and had, moreover, taken the precaution quietly to remove all the arms, with the exception of those with which his adherents were provided.

“An agreement is an agreement; it is what he requested himself, and we promised to perform. Send for Francisco.”

“I am here, Hawkhurst; and I tell you candidly, that, desolate as is that barren spot, I prefer it to remaining in your company. I will bring my chest up immediately.”

“No—no; that was not a part of the agreement,” cried Hawkhurst.

“Every man here has a right to his own property: I appeal to the whole of the crew.”

“True—true,” replied the pirates; and Hawkhurst found himself again in the minority.

“Be it so.”

The chest of Francisco was handed into the boat.

“Is that all?” cried Hawkhurst.

“My lads, am I to have no provisions or water?” inquired Francisco.

“No,” replied Hawkhurst.

“Yes—yes,” cried most of the pirates.

Hawkhurst did not dare put it to the vote; he turned sulkily away. The Kroumen brought up two breakers of water, and some pieces of pork.

“Here, massa,” said Pompey, putting into Francisco’s hand a fishing-line with hooks.

“Thank you, Pompey; but I had forgot—that book in the cabin—you know which I mean.”

Pompey nodded his head, and went below; but it was some time before he returned, during which Hawkhurst became impatient. It was a very small boat which had been lowered down; it had a lug-sail and two pair of sculls in it, and was quite full when Francisco’s chest and the other articles had been put in.

“Come! I have no time to wait,” said Hawkhurst; “in the boat!”

Francisco shook hands with many of the crew, and wished all of them farewell. Indeed, now that they beheld the poor lad about to be cast on the desolate island, even those most opposed to him felt some emotions of pity. Although they acknowledged that his absence was necessary, yet they knew his determined courage; and with them that quality was always a strong appeal.

“Who will row this lad ashore, and bring the boat off?”

“Not I,” replied one; “it would haunt me ever afterwards.”

So they all appeared to think, for no one volunteered. Francisco jumped into the boat.

“There is no room for any one but me; and I will row myself on shore,” cried he. “Farewell, my lads! farewell!”

“Stop? not so; he must not have the boat—he may escape from the island,” cried Hawkhurst.

“And why shouldn’t he, poor fellow?” replied the men. “Let him have the boat.”

“Yes—yes, let him have the boat;” and Hawkhurst was again overruled.

“Here, Massa Francisco—here de book.”

“What’s that, sir?” cried Hawkhurst, snatching the book out of Pompey’s hand.

“Him, massa, Bible.” Francisco waited for the book.

“Shove off!” cried Hawkhurst.

“Give me my book, Mr Hawkhurst!”

“No!” replied the malignant rascal, tossing the Bible over the taffrail; “he shall not have that. I’ve heard say that there is consolation in it for the afflicted.”

Francisco shoved off his boat, and seizing his sculls, pushed astern, picked up the book, which still floated, and laid it to dry on the after-thwart of the boat. He then pulled in for the shore. In the meantime the schooner had let draw her fore-sheet, and had already left him a quarter of a mile astern. Before Francisco had gained the sand-bank she was hull-down to the northward.

Chapter Ten.

The Sand-Bank.

The first half hour that Francisco was on this desolate spot he watched the receding schooner: his thoughts were unconnected and vague. Wandering through the various scenes which had passed on the decks of that vessel, and recalling to his memory the different characters of those on board of her, much as he had longed to quit her—disgusted as he had been with those with whom he had been forced to associate—still, as her sails grew fainter and fainter to his view, as she increased her distance, he more than once felt that even remaining on board of her would have been preferable to his present deserted lot. “No, no!” exclaimed he, after a little further reflection, “I had rather perish here, than continue to witness the scenes which I have been forced to behold.”

He once more fixed his eyes upon her white sails, and then sat down on the loose sand, and remained in deep and melancholy reverie until the scorching heat reminded him of his situation; he afterwards rose and turned his thoughts upon his present situation, and to what would be the measures most advisable to take. He hauled his little boat still farther on the beach, and attached the painter to one of the oars, which he fixed deep in the sand; he then proceeded to survey the bank, and found that but a small portion was uncovered at high water; for trifling as was the rise of the tide, the bank was so low that the water flowed almost over it. The most elevated part was not more than fifteen feet above high-water mark, and that was a small knoll of about fifty feet in circumference.

To this part he resolved to remove his effects: he returned to the boat, and having lifted out his chest, the water, the provisions, with the other articles which he had obtained, he dragged them up, one by one, until they were all collected at the spot he had chosen. He then took out of the boat the oars and little sail, which, fortunately, had remained in her. His last object, to haul the little boat up to the same spot, was one which demanded all his exertion; but, after considerable fatigue, he contrived, by first lifting round her bow, and then her stern, to effect his object.

Tired and exhausted, he then repaired to one of the breakers of water and refreshed himself. The heat, as the day advanced, had become intolerable; but it stimulated him to fresh exertion. He turned over the boat, and contrived that the bow and stern should rest upon two little hillocks, so as to raise it above the level of the sand beneath it two or three feet; he spread out the sail from the keel above, with the thole-pins as pegs, so as to keep off the rays of the sun. Dragging the breakers of water and the provisions underneath the boat, he left his chest outside; and having thus formed for himself a sort of covering which would protect him from the heat of the day and the damp of the night, he crept in, to shelter himself until the evening.

Although Francisco had not been on deck, he knew pretty well whereabouts he then was. Taking out a chart from his chest, he examined the coast to ascertain the probable distance which he might be from any prospect of succour. He calculated that he was on one of a patch of sand-banks off the coast of Loango, and about seven hundred miles from the Isle of St. Thomas—the nearest place where he might expect to fall in with a European face. From the coast he felt certain that he could not be more than forty or fifty miles at the most; but could he trust himself among the savage natives who inhabited it? He knew how ill they had been treated by Europeans; for at that period, it was quite as common for the slave-trader to land and take away the inhabitants as slaves by force, as to purchase them in the more northern territories: still, he might be fortunate enough to fall in with some trader on the coast, as there were a few who still carried on a barter for gold-dust and ivory.

We do not know—we cannot conceive a situation much more deplorable than the one we have just described to have been that of Francisco. Alone—without a chance of assistance—with only a sufficiency of food for a few days, and cut off from the rest of his fellow-creatures, with only so much terra firma as would prevent his being swallowed up by the vast, unfathomable ocean, into which the horizon fell on every side around him! And his chance of escape how small! Hundreds of miles from any from whom he might expect assistance, and the only means of reaching them a small boat—a mere cockleshell, which the first rough gale would inevitably destroy.

Such, indeed, were the first thoughts of Francisco; but he soon recovered from his despondency. He was young, courageous, and buoyant with hope; and there is a feeling of pride—of trust in our own resources and exertions, which increases and stimulates us in proportion to our danger and difficulty; it is the daring of the soul, proving its celestial origin and eternal duration.

So intense was the heat that Francisco almost panted for sufficient air to support life, as he lay under the shade of the boat during the whole of that day; not a breath of wind disturbed the glassy wave—all nature appeared hushed into one horrible calm. It was not until the shades of night were covering the solitude that Francisco ventured forth from his retreat; but he found little relief; there was an unnatural closeness in the air—a suffocation unusual even in those climes. Francisco cast his eyes up to the vault of heaven, and was astonished to find that there were no stars visible—a grey mist covered the whole firmament. He directed his view downwards to the horizon, and that, too, was not to be defined; there was a dark bank all around it. He walked to the edge of the sand-bank; there was not even a ripple—the wide ocean appeared to be in a trance, in a state of lethargy or stupor.

He parted the hair from his feverish brow, and once more surveying the horrible, lifeless, stagnant waste, his soul sickened, and he cast himself upon the sand. There he lay for many hours in a state bordering upon wild despair. At last he recovered himself, and, rising to his knees, he prayed for strength and submission to the will of Heaven.

When he was once more upon his feet, and had again scanned the ocean, he perceived that there was a change rapidly approaching. The dark bank on the horizon had now risen higher up; the opaqueness was everywhere more dense; and low murmurs were heard, as if there was wind stirring aloft, although the sea was still glassy as a lake. Signs of some movement about to take place were evident, and the solitary youth watched and watched. And now the sounds increased, and here and there a wild thread of air—whence coming, who could tell? and as rapidly disappearing—would ruffle, for a second, a portion of the stagnant sea. Then came whizzing sounds and moans, and then the rumbling noise of distant thunder—loud and louder yet—still louder—a broad black line is seen sweeping along the expanse of water—fearful in its rapidity it comes!—and the hurricane burst, at once and with all its force, and all its terrific sounds, upon the isolated Francisco.

The first blast was so powerful and so unexpected that it threw him down, and prudence dictated to him to remain in that position, for the loose sand was swept off and whirled in such force as to blind and prevent his seeing a foot from him; he would have crawled to the boat for security, but he knew not in which direction to proceed. But this did not last; for now the water was borne up upon the strong wings of the hurricane, and the sand was rendered firm by its saturation with the element.

Francisco felt that he was drenched, and he raised his head. All he could discover was, that the firmament was mantled with darkness, horrible from its intensity, and that the sea was in one extended foam—boiling everywhere, and white as milk—but still smooth, as if the power of the wind had compelled it to be so; but the water had encroached, and one half the sand-bank was covered with it, while over the other the foam whirled, each portion chasing the other with wild rapidity.

And now the windows of heaven were opened, and the rain, mingled with the spray caught up by the hurricane, was dashed and hurled upon the forlorn youth, who still lay where he had been first thrown down. But of a sudden, a wash of water told him that he could remain there no longer: the sea was rising—rising fast; and before he could gain a few paces on his hands and knees, another wave, as if it chased him in its wrath, repeated the warning of his extreme danger, and he was obliged to rise on his feet and hasten to the high part of the sand-bank, where he had drawn up his boat and his provisions.

Blinded as he was by the rain and spray, he could distinguish nothing. Of a sudden, he fell violently; he had stumbled over one of the breakers of water, and his head struck against a sea-chest. Where, then, was the boat? It was gone!—it must have been swept away by the fury of the wind. Alas, then, all chance was over! and, if not washed away by the angry waters, he had but to prolong his existence but a few days, and then to die. The effect of the blow he had received on his forehead, with the shock of mind occasioned by the disappearance of the boat, overpowered him, and he remained for some time in a state of insensibility.

When Francisco recovered, the scene was again changed: the wide expanse was now in a state of wild and fearful commotion, and the water roared as loud as did the hurricane. The whole sand-bank, with the exception of that part on which he stood, was now covered with tumultuous foam, and his place of refuge was occasionally invaded, when some vast mass, o’erlording the other waves, expended all its fury, even to his feet. Francisco prepared to die!

But gradually the darkness of the heavens disappeared, and there was no longer a bank upon the horizon, and Francisco hoped—alas! hoped what?—that he might be saved from the present impending death to be reserved for one still more horrible; to be saved from the fury of the waves, which would swallow him up, and in a few seconds remove him from all pain and suffering, to perish for want of sustenance under a burning sun; to be withered—to be parched to death—calling in his agony for water; and as Francisco thought of this he covered his face with his hands, and prayed, “Oh, God, thy will be done! but in thy mercy, raise, still higher raise the waters!”

But the waters did not rise higher. The howling of the wind gradually decreased, and the foaming seas had obeyed the Divine injunction—they had gone so far, but no farther! And the day dawned, and the sky cleared: and the first red tints, announcing the return of light and heat, had appeared on the broken horizon, when the eyes of the despairing youth were directed to a black mass on the tumultuous waters. It was a vessel, with but one mast standing, rolling heavily, and running before the gale right on for the sand-bank where he stood; her hull, one moment borne aloft and the next disappearing from his view in the hollow of the agitated waters. “She will be dashed to pieces!” thought Francisco; “she will be lost!—they cannot see the bank!” And he would have made a signal to her, if he had been able, to warn her of her danger, forgetting at the time his own desolate situation.

As Francisco watched, the sun rose, bright and joyous over this scene of anxiety and pain. On came the vessel, flying before the gale, while the seas chased her as if they would fain overwhelm her. It was fearful to see her scud—agonising to know that she was rushing to destruction.

At last he could distinguish those on board. He waved his hand, but they perceived him not; he shouted, but his voice was borne away by the gale. On came the vessel, as if doomed. She was within two cables’ length of the bank when those on board perceived their danger. It was too late!—they had rounded her to—another, and another wave hurled her towards the sand. She struck!—her only remaining mast fell over the side, and the roaring waves hastened to complete their work of destruction and of death!

Chapter Eleven.

The Escape.

Francisco’s eyes were fixed upon the vessel, over which the sea now broke with terrific violence. There appeared to be about eight or nine men on her deck, who sheltered themselves under the weather bulwarks. Each wave, as it broke against her side and then dashed in foam over her, threw her, with a convulsive jerk, still further on the sand-bank. At last she was so high up that their fury was partly spent before they dashed against her frame. Had the vessel been strong and well built—had she been a collier coasting the English shores—there was a fair chance that she might have withstood the fury of the storm until it had subsided, and that by remaining on board, the crew might have survived: but she was of a very different mould, and, as Francisco justly surmised, an American brig, built for swift sailing, very sharp, and, moreover, very slightly put together.

Francisco’s eyes, as may easily be supposed, were never removed from the only object which could now interest him—the unexpected appearance and imminent danger of his fellow-creatures at this desolate spot. He perceived that two of the men went to the hatches, and slid them over to leeward: they then descended, and although the seas broke over the vessel, and a large quantity of water must have poured into her, the hatches were not put on again by those who remained on deck. But in a few minutes this mystery was solved; one after another, at first, and then by dozens, poured forth, out of the hold, the kidnapped Africans who composed her cargo. In a short time the decks were covered with them: the poor creatures had been released by the humanity of two English sailors, that they might have the same chance with themselves of saving their lives. Still, no attempt was made to quit the vessel. Huddled together, like a flock of sheep, with the wild waves breaking over them, there they all remained, both European and African; and as the heavy blows of the seas upon the sides of the vessel careened and shook her, they were seen to cling, in every direction, with no distinction between the captured and their oppressors.

But this scene was soon changed; the frame of the vessel could no longer withstand the violence of the waves, and as Francisco watched, of a sudden it was seen to divide a-midships, and each portion to turn over. Then was the struggle for life; hundreds were floating on the raging element, and wrestling for existence, and the white foam of the ocean was dotted by the black heads of the negroes who attempted to gain the bank. It was an awful, terrible scene, to witness so many at one moment tossed and dashed about by the waves—so many fellow-beings threatened with eternity. At one moment they were close to the beach, forced on to it by some tremendous wave; at the next, the receding water and the undertow swept them all back; and of the many who had been swimming one half had disappeared to rise no more. Francisco watched with agony as he perceived that the number decreased, and that none had yet gained the shore. At last he snatched up the haulyards of his boat’s sail which were near him, and hastened down to the spot to afford such succour as might be possible; nor were his efforts in vain. As the seas washed the apparently inanimate bodies on shore, and would then have again swept them away to return them in mockery, he caught hold of them and dragged them safe on the bank, and thus did he continue his exertions until fifteen of the bodies of the negroes were spread upon the beach. Although exhausted and senseless, they were not dead, and long before he had dragged up the last of the number, many of those previously saved had, without any other assistance than the heat of the sun, recovered from their insensibility.

Francisco would have continued his task of humanity, but the parted vessel had now been riven into fragments by the force of the waves, and the whole beach was strewed with her timbers and her stores, which were dashed on shore by the waters, and then swept back again by the return. In a short time the severe blows he received from these fragments disabled him from further exertion, and he sank exhausted on the sand; indeed, all further attempts were useless. All on board the vessel had been launched into the sea at the same moment, and those who were not now on shore were past all succour. Francisco walked up to those who had been saved: he found twelve of them were recovered and sitting on their hams; the rest were still in a state of insensibility. He then went up to the knoll, where his chest and provisions had been placed, and, throwing himself down by them, surveyed the scene.

The wind had lulled, the sun shone brightly, and the sea was much less violent. The waves had subsided, and, no longer hurried on by the force of the hurricane, broke majestically, and solemnly, but not with the wildness and force which, but a few hours before, they had displayed. The whole of the beach was strewed with the fragments of the vessel, with spars and water-casks; and at every moment was to be observed the corpse of a negro turning round and round in the froth of the wave, and then disappearing.

For an hour did he watch and reflect and then he walked again to where the men who had been rescued were sitting, not more than thirty yards from him; they were sickly, emaciated forms, but belonging to a tribe who inhabited the coast, and who having been accustomed from their infancy to be all the day in the water, had supported themselves better than the other slaves, who had been procured from the interior, or the European crew of the vessel, all of whom had perished.

The Africans appeared to recover fast by the heat of the sun, so oppressive to Francisco, and were now exchanging a few words with each other. The whole of them had revived, but those who were most in need of aid were neglected by the others. Francisco made signs to them, but they understood him not. He returned to the knoll, and pouring out water into a tin pan from the breaker, brought it down to them. He offered it to one, who seized it eagerly; water was a luxury seldom obtained in the hold of a slave-vessel. The man drank deeply, and would have drained the cup, but Francisco prevented him, and held it to the lips of another. He was obliged to refill it three times before they had all been supplied: he then brought them a handful of biscuit, and left them, for he reflected that, without some precautions, the whole sustenance would be seized by them and devoured. He buried half a foot deep, and covered over with sand, the breakers of water and the provisions, and by the time he had finished this task, unperceived by the negroes, who still squatted together, the sun had sunk below the horizon. Francisco had already matured his plans, which were, to form a raft out of the fragments of the vessel, and, with the assistance of the negroes, attempt to gain the mainland. He lay down, for the second night, on this eventful spot of desolation, and commending himself to the Almighty protection, was soon in a deep slumber.

It was not until the powerful rays of the sun blazed on the eyes of the youth that he awoke, so tired had he been with the anxiety and fatigue of the preceding day, and the sleepless harrowing night which had introduced it. He rose and seated himself upon his sea-chest: how different was the scene from that of yesterday! Again the ocean slept, the sky was serene, and not a cloud to be distinguished throughout the whole firmament; the horizontal line was clear, even, and well defined: a soft breeze just rippled over the dark blue sea, which now had retired to its former boundary, and left the sand-bank as extended as when first Francisco had been put on shore. But here the beauty of the landscape terminated: the foreground was horrible to look upon; the whole of the beach was covered with the timbers of the wreck, with water-casks, and other articles, in some parts heaped and thrown up one upon another; and among them lay, jammed and mangled, the bodies of the many who had perished. In other parts there were corpses thrown up high and dry, or still rolling and turning to the rippling wave: it was a scene of desolation and of death.

The negroes who had been saved were all huddled up together, apparently in deep sleep, and Francisco quitted his elevated position and walked down to the low beach, to survey the means which the disaster of others afforded him for his own escape. To his great joy he found not only plenty of casks, but many of them full of fresh water, provisions also in sufficiency, and, indeed, everything that could be required to form a raft, as well as the means of support for a considerable time for himself and the negroes who had survived. He then walked up to them and called to them, but they answered not, nor even moved. He pushed them, but in vain; and his heart beat quick, for he was fearful that they were dead from previous exhaustion. He applied his foot to one of them, and it was not until he had used force, which in any other case he would have dispensed with, that the negro awoke from his state of lethargy and looked vacantly about him. Francisco had some little knowledge of the language of the Kroumen, and he addressed the negro in that tongue. To his great joy, he was answered in a language which, if not the same, had so great an affinity to it that communication became easy. With the assistance of the negro, who used still less ceremony with his comrades, the remainder of them were awakened, and a palaver ensued.

Francisco soon made them understand that they were to make a raft and go back to their own country; explaining to them that if they remained there, the water and provisions would soon be exhausted, and they would all perish. The poor creatures hardly knew whether to consider him a supernatural being or not; they talked among themselves; they remarked at his having brought them fresh water the day before; they knew that he did not belong to the vessel in which they had been wrecked, and they were puzzled.

Whatever might be their speculations, they had one good effect, which was, that they looked upon the youth as a superior and a friend, and most willingly obeyed him. He led them up to the knoll, and, desiring them to scrape away the sand, supplied them again with fresh water and biscuit. Perhaps the very supply, and the way in which it was given to them, excited their astonishment as much as anything. Francisco ate with them, and, selecting from his sea-chest the few tools in his possession, desired them to follow him. The casks were collected and rolled up; the empty ones arranged for the raft: the spars were hauled up and cleared of the rigging, which was carefully separated for lashings; the one or two sails which had been found rolled up on the spars were spread out to dry; and the provisions and articles of clothing, which might be useful, laid together on one side. The negroes worked willingly, and showed much intelligence: before the evening closed, everything which might be available was secured, and the waves now only tossed about lifeless forms, and the small fragments of timber which could not be serviceable.

It would occupy too much time were we to detail all the proceedings of Francisco and the negroes for the space of four days, during which they laboured hard. Necessity is truly the mother of invention, and many were the ingenious resources of the party before they could succeed in forming a raft large enough to carry them and their provisions, with a mast and sail well secured. At length it was accomplished; and on the fifth day, Francisco and his men embarked; and, having pushed clear of the bank with poles, they were at last able to hoist their sail to a fine breeze, and steer for the coast before the wind at the rate of about three miles an hour. But it was not until they had gained half a mile from the bank that they were no longer annoyed by the dreadful smell arising from the putrefaction of so many bodies, for to bury them all would have been a work of too great time. The last two days of their remaining on the island, the effluvia had become so powerful as to be a source of the greatest horror and disgust even to the negroes.

But before night when the raft was about eight leagues from the sand-bank, it fell calm, and continued so for the next day, when a breeze sprang up from the south-east, to which they trimmed their sail with their head to the northward.

This wind, and the course steered, sent them off from the land, but there was no help for it; and Francisco felt grateful that they had such an ample supply of provisions and water as to enable them to yield to a few days’ contrary wind without danger of want. But the breeze continued steady and fresh, and they were now crossing the Bight of Benin; the weather was fine and the sea smooth; the flying-fish rose in shoals, and dropped down into the raft, which still forced its way through the water to the northward.

Thus did Francisco and his negro crew remain for a fortnight floating on the wide ocean, without any object meeting their view. Day after day it was the same dreary “sky and water,” and by the reckoning of Francisco they could not be far from the land, when, on the fifteenth day, they perceived two sails to the northward.

Francisco’s heart bounded with joy and gratitude to Heaven; he had no telescope to examine them, but he steered directly for them, and, about dark, he made them out to be a ship and a schooner, hove to.

As Francisco scanned them, surmising what they might be, the sun set behind the two vessels, and after it had sunk below the horizon their forms were, for a few minutes, delineated with remarkable precision and clearness. There could be no mistake. Francisco felt convinced that the schooner was the Avenger; and his first impulse was to run to the sweep with which they were steered, and put the head of the raft again to the northward. A moment’s reflection determined him to act otherwise; he lowered down his sail that he might escape observation, and watched the motions of the vessels during the few minutes of light which remained. That the ship had been captured, and that her capture had been attended with the usual scene of outrage and violence, he had no doubt. He was now about four miles from them, and just as they were vanishing from his straining eyes he perceived that the schooner had made all sail to the westward. Francisco, feeling that he was then secure from being picked up by her, again hoisted his sail with the hope of reaching the ship, which, if not scuttled, he intended to remove on board of, and then make sail for the first port on the coast. But hardly had the raft regained her way when the horizon was lighted up, and he perceived that the pirates had set fire to the vessel. Then it was useless to proceed towards her; and Francisco again thought of putting the head of the raft to the northward, when the idea struck him, knowing the character and cruelty of the pirates, that there might be some unfortunate people left on board to perish in the flames. He therefore continued his course, watching the burning vessel; the flames increased in violence, mounting up to the masts and catching the sails one after another. The wind blew fresh, and the vessel was kept before the wind—a circumstance that assured Francisco that there were people on board. At first she appeared to leave the raft, but as her sails, one after another, were consumed by the element, so did she decrease her speed, and Francisco, in about an hour, was close to her and under her counter.

The ship was now one mass of fire from her bows to her mainmast; a volume of flame poured from her main hold, rising higher than her lower masts, and ending in a huge mass of smoke carried by the wind ahead of her; the quarter-deck was still free from fire, but the heat on it was so intense that those on board were all collected at the taffrail; and there they remained, some violent, others in mute despair; for the Avenger’s people, in their barbarity, had cut away and destroyed all the boats, to prevent their escape. From the light thrown round the vessel, those on board had perceived the approach of Francisco to their rescue, and immediately that it was under the counter, and the sail lowered, almost all of them had descended by ropes, or the stern ladder, and gained a place in her. In a few minutes, without scarcely an exchange of a word, they were all out of the brig, and Francisco pushed off just as the flames burst from the cabin-windows, darting out in a horizontal line like the tongues of fiery serpents. The raft, now encumbered with twelve more persons, was then steered to the northward; and as soon as those who had been saved had been supplied with some water, which they so much needed, Francisco obtained the intelligence which he desired. The ship was from Carthagena, South America; had sailed from thence to Lisbon with a Don Cumanos, who had large property up the Magdalen river. He had wished to visit a part of his family at Lisbon, and from thence had sailed to the Canary Isles, where he also had property. In their way from Lisbon to South America they had been beaten by stress of weather to the southward, and afterwards had been chased by the Avenger; being a very fast sailer she had run down several degrees before she had been captured. When the pirate took possession, and found that she had little or no cargo of value to them, for her hold was chiefly filled with furniture and other articles for the use of Don Cumanos, angry at their disappointment, they had first destroyed all their boats and then set fire to the vessel, taking care not to leave her until all chance of the fire being put out was hopeless. And thus had these miscreants left innocent and unfortunate people to perish.

Francisco heard the narrative of Don Cumanos, and then informed him in what manner he had left the schooner, and his subsequent adventures. Francisco was now very anxious to make the land, or obtain succour from some vessel. The many who were now on board, and the time that he had already been at sea, obliged him to reduce the allowance of water. Fortune favoured him after all his trials; on the third day a vessel hove in sight, and they were seen by her. She made sail for them, and took them all on board. It was a schooner trafficking on the coast for gold-dust and ivory; but the magnificent offers of Don Cumanos induced them to give up their voyage and run across the Atlantic to Carthagena. To Francisco it was of little moment where he went, and in Don Cumanos he had found a sincere friend.

“You have been my preserver,” said the Spaniard, “allow me to return the obligation—come and live with me.”

As Francisco was equally pleased with Don Cumanos, he accepted the offer; they all arrived safely at Carthagena, and from thence proceeded to his estate on the Magdalen river.

Chapter Twelve.

The Lieutenant.

When we last mentioned Edward Templemore, we stated that he was a lieutenant of the admiral’s ship on the West India station, commanding the tender. Now the name of the tender was the Enterprise: and it was singular that she was one of two schooners built at Baltimore, remarkable for their beauty and good qualities; yet how different were their employments! Both had originally been built for the slave-trade; now one hoisted the English pennant, and cruised as the Enterprise; the other threw out the black flag, and scoured the seas as the Avenger.

The Enterprise was fitted much in the same way as we have already described her sister vessel—that is, with one long brass gun amidships, and smaller ones for her broadside. But in the numbers of their crew there was a great disparity; the Enterprise not being manned with more than sixty-five English sailors, belonging to the admiral’s ship. She was employed, as most admirals’ tenders usually were, sometimes carrying a tender made for a supply of provisions, or a tender of services, if required, from the admiral; or, if not particularly wanted, with the important charge of a tender billet-doux to some fair friend. But this is a tender subject to touch upon. In the meantime it must be understood that she had the same commission to sink, burn, and destroy, as all other of his Majesty’s vessels, if anything came in her way; but as she usually carried despatches, the real importance of which were, of course, unknown, she was not to go out of her way upon such service.

Edward Templemore did, however, occasionally go a little out of his way, and had lately captured a very fine privateer after a smart action, for which he anticipated his promotion; but the admiral thought him too young, and therefore gave the next vacancy to his own nephew, who, the admiral quite forgot, was much younger.

Edward laughed when he heard of it, upon his arrival at Port Royal; and the admiral, who expected that he would make his appearance pouting with disappointment, when he came up to the Penn to report himself, was so pleased with his good humour that he made a vow that Templemore should have the next vacancy; but this he also quite forgot, because Edward happened to be, at the time it occurred, on a long cruise,—and “out of sight out of mind” is a proverb so well established, that it may be urged as an excuse for a person who had so many other things to think of as the admiral entrusted with the command of the West India station.

Lieutenant Templemore had, in consequence, commanded the Enterprise for nearly two years, and without grumbling; for he was of a happy disposition, and passed a very happy sort of life. Mr Witherington was very indulgent to him, and allowed him to draw liberally; he had plenty of money for himself or for a friend who required it, and he had plenty of amusement. Amongst other diversions, he had fallen most desperately in love; for, in one of his trips to the Leeward Isles (so called from their being to windward) he had succoured a Spanish vessel, which had on board the new Governor of Porto Rico, with his family, and had taken upon himself to land them on that island in safety; for which service the English admiral received a handsome letter, concluding with the moderate wish that his Excellency might live a thousand years, and Edward Templemore an invitation to go and see them whenever he might pass that way; which, like most general invitations, was as much a compliment as the wish which wound up the letter to the admiral. It did, however, so happen that the Spanish governor had a very beautiful and only daughter, carefully guarded by a duenna, and a monk who was the depository of all the sins of the governor’s establishment; and it was with this daughter that Edward Templemore fell into the heresy of love.

She was, indeed, very beautiful; and, like all her countrywomen, was ardent in her affection. The few days that she was on board the schooner with her father, during the time that the Enterprise convoyed the Spanish vessel into port, were quite sufficient to ignite two such inflammable beings as Clara d’Alfarez and Edward Templemore. The monk had been left on board of the leaky vessel; there was no accommodation in the schooner for him or the duenna, and Don Felix de Maxos de Cobas de Manilla d’Alfarez was too busy with his cigar to pay attention to his daughter.

When they were landed, Edward Templemore was asked to their residence, which was not in the town, but at a lovely bay on the south side of the island. The town mansion was appropriated to business and the ceremony of the court: it was too hot for a permanent abode, and the governor only went there for a few hours each day.

Edward Templemore remained a short time at the island, and at his departure received the afore-mentioned letter from the father to the English admiral, and an assurance of unalterable fidelity from the daughter to the English lieutenant. On his return he presented the letter, and the admiral was satisfied with his conduct.

When ordered out to cruise, which he always was when there was nothing else to do, he submitted to the admiral whether, if he should happen to be near Porto Rico, he could not leave an answer to the Spanish governor’s letter; and the admiral, who knew the value of keeping up a good understanding with foreign relations, took the hint, and gave him one to deliver, if convenient. The second meeting was, as may be supposed, more cordial than the first on the part of the young lady; not so, however, on the part of the duenna and holy friar, who soon found out that their charge was in danger from heretical opinions.

Caution became necessary; and as secrecy adds a charm to an amour, Clara received a long letter and a telescope from Edward. The letter informed her that, whenever he could, he would make his appearance in his schooner off the south of the island, and await a signal made by her at a certain window, acknowledging her recognition of his vessel. On the night of that signal he would land in his boat and meet her at an appointed spot. This was all very delightful; and it so happened that Edward had four or five times contrived, during the last year, to meet Clara without discovery, and again and again to exchange his vows. It was agreed between them that when he quitted the station, she would quit her father and her home, and trust her future happiness to an Englishman and a heretic.

It may be a matter of surprise to some of our readers that the admiral should not have discovered the frequent visits of the Enterprise to Porto Rico, as Edward was obliged to bring his log for examination every time that he returned; but the admiral was satisfied with Edward’s conduct, and his anxiety to cruise when there was nothing else for him to do. His logs were brought on shore to the admiral’s secretary, carefully rolled and sealed up. The admiral’s secretary threw the packages on one side, and thought no more of the matter, and Edward had always a ready story to tell when he took his seat at the admiral’s dinner-table; besides, he is a very unfit person to command a vessel who does not know how to write a log that will bear an investigation. A certain latitude is always allowed in every degree of latitude as well as longitude.

The Enterprise had been despatched to Antigua, and Edward thought this an excellent opportunity to pay a visit to Clara d’Alfarez: he therefore, upon his return, hove to off the usual headland, and soon perceived the white curtain thrown out of the window.

“There it is, sir,” said one of the midshipmen who was near him—for he had been there so often that the whole crew of the Enterprise were aware of his attachment—“She has shown her flag of truce.”

“A truce to your nonsense, Mr Warren,” replied Edward, laughing; “how came you to know anything about it?”

“I only judge by cause and effect, sir; and I know that I shall have to go on shore and wait for you tonight.”

“That’s not unlikely; but let draw the foresheet; we must now get behind the headland.”

The youngster was right: that evening, a little before dark, he attended his commander on shore, the Enterprise lying to with a lantern at her peak.

“Once more, dearest Clara!” said Edward, as he threw off her long veil and pressed her in his arms.

“Yes, Edward, once more—but I am afraid only once more; for my maid, Inez, has been dangerously ill, and has confessed to Friar Ricardo. I fear much that, in her fright (for she thought that she was dying), she has told all. She is better now.”

“Why should you imagine so, Clara?”

“Oh, you know not what a frightened fool that Inez is when she is ill! Our religion is not like yours.”

“No, dear, it is not; but I will teach you a better.”

“Hush, Edward, you must not say that. Holy Virgin! if Friar Ricardo should hear you! I think that Inez must have told him, for he fixes his dark eyes upon me so earnestly. Yesterday he observed to me that I had not confessed.”

“Tell him to mind his own business.”

“That is his business, and I was obliged to confess to him last night. I told him a great many things, and then he asked if that was all. His eyes went through me. I trembled as I uttered an untruth, for I said it was.”

“I confess my sins but to my Maker, Clara! and I confess my love but to you. Follow my plan, dearest!”

“I will half obey you, Edward. I will not tell my love.”

“And sins you have none, Clara; so you will obey me in all.”

“Hush, Edward, you must not say that. We all have sins; and, oh! what a grievous sin they say it is to love you, who are a heretic! Holy Virgin, pardon me! but I could not help it.”

“If that is your only sin, dearest, I can safely give you absolution.”

“Nay, Edward, don’t joke, but hear me. If Inez has confessed, they will look for me here, and we must not meet again—at least not in this place. You know the little bay behind the rock, it is not much farther off, and there is a cave where I can wait: another time it must be there.”

“It shall be there, dearest; but is it not too near the beach? will you not be afraid of the men in the boat, who must see you?”

“But we can leave the beach. It is Ricardo alone that I am in dread of, and the Donna Maria. Merciful Heaven! should my father know all, we should be lost—be separated for ever!” and Clara laid her forehead on Edward’s shoulder, as her tears fell fast.

“There is nought to fear, Clara. Hush! I heard a rustling in those orange-trees. Listen!”

“Yes! yes!” whispered Clara, hastily; “there is some one. Away! dear Edward, away!”

Clara sprang from his side, and hastened up the grove. Edward made his retreat, and flying down the rocky and narrow path through the underwood, was soon on the beach and into his boat. The Enterprise arrived at head quarters, and Edward reported himself to the admiral.

“I have work for you, Mr Templemore,” said the admiral; “you must be ready to proceed on service immediately. We’ve found your match.”

“I hope I may find her, sir,” replied the lieutenant.

“I hope so, too; for, if you give a good account of her, it will put another swab on your shoulder. The pirate schooner, which has so long infested the Atlantic, has been seen and chased off Barbadoes by the Amelia: but it appears that there is not a vessel in the squadron which can come near her unless it be the Enterprise. She has since captured two West Indiamen, and was seen steering with them towards the coast of Guiana. Now, I am going to give you thirty additional hands, and send you after her.”

“Thank you, sir,” replied Edward, his countenance beaming with delight.

“How soon will you be ready?” inquired the admiral.

“To-morrow morning, sir.”

“Very good. Tell Mr Hadley to bring me the order for the men and your sailing orders, and I will sign them; but recollect, Mr Templemore, you will have an awkward customer. Be prudent—brave I know you to be.”

Edward Templemore promised everything, as most people do in such cases; and before the next evening the Enterprise was well in the offing, under a heavy press of sail.

Chapter Thirteen.

The Landing.

The property of Don Cumanos, to which he had retired with his family, accompanied by Francisco, extended from the mouth of, to many miles up, the Magdalen river. It was a fine alluvial soil, forming one vast strip of rich meadow, covered with numerous herds of cattle. The house was not a hundreds yards from the bank of the magnificent stream, and a small but deep creek ran up to the adjacent buildings; for Don Cumanos had property even more valuable, being proprietor of a gold mine near the town of Jambrano, about eight miles farther up, and which mine had latterly become exceedingly productive. The ore was brought down the river in boats, and smelted in the outhouses near the creek to which we have just referred.

It will be necessary to observe that the establishment of the noble Spaniard was numerous, consisting of nearly one hundred persons, employed in the smelting-house or attached to the household.

For some time Francisco remained here happy and contented; he had become the confidential supervisor of Don Cumanos’ household, proved himself worthy of a trust so important, and was considered as one of the family.

One morning, as Francisco was proceeding down to the smelting-house to open the hatches of the small deck boats which had arrived from Jambrano with ore, and which were invariably secured with a padlock by the superintendent above, to which Don Cumanos had a corresponding key, one of the chief men informed him that a vessel had anchored off the mouth of the river the day before, and weighed again early that morning, and that she was now standing off and on.

“From Carthagena, probably, beating up,” replied Francisco.

“Valga me Dios, if I know that, sir,” said Diego, “I should have thought nothing about it; but Giacomo and Pedro, who went out to fish last night, as usual, instead of coming back before midnight, have not been heard of since.”

“Indeed! that is strange. Did they ever stay so long before?”

“Never, sir; and they have fished together now for seven years.”

Francisco gave the key to the man, who opened the locks of the hatches, and returned it.

“There she is!” cried the man; the head-sails making their appearance as the vessel opened to their view from the projecting point distant about four miles. Francisco directed his eye towards her, and, without further remark, hastened to the house.

“Well, Francisco,” said Don Cumanos, who was stirring a small cup of chocolate, “what’s the news this morning?”

“The Nostra Señora del Carmen and the Aguilla have arrived, and I have just unlocked the hatches. There is a vessel off the point which requires examination, and I have come for the telescope.”

“Requires examination! Why, Francisco?”

“Because Giacomo and Pedro, who went fishing last night, have not returned, and there are no tidings of them.”

“That is strange! But how is this connected with the vessel?”

“That I will explain as soon as I have had an examination of her,” replied Francisco, who had taken up the telescope, and was drawing out the tube. Francisco fixed the glass against the sill of the window, and examined the vessel some time in silence.

“Yes! by the living God, it is the Avenger, and no other,” exclaimed he, as he removed the telescope from his eye.

“Eh?” cried Don Cumanos.

“It is the pirate vessel—the Avenger—I’ll forfeit my life upon it! Don Cumanos, you must be prepared. I know that they have long talked of a visit to this quarter, and anticipate great booty, and they have those on board who know the coast well. The disappearance of your two men convinces me that they sent up their boats last night to reconnoitre, and have captured them. Torture will extract the information which the pirates require, and I have little doubt but that the attack will be made, when they learn how much bullion there is at present on your premises.”

“You may be right,” replied Don Cumanos, thoughtfully; “that is, provided you are sure that it is the pirate vessel.”

“Sure, Don Cumanos! I know every timber and plank in her; there is not a rope nor a block but I can recognise. At the distance of four miles, with such a glass as this, I can discover every little variety in her rigging from other craft, I will swear to her,” repeated Francisco, once more looking through the telescope.

“And if they attack, Francisco?”

“We must defend ourselves, and, I trust, beat them off. They will come in their boats, and at night. If they were to run in the schooner by daylight and anchor abreast of us, we should have but a poor chance. But they little think that I am here, and that they are recognised. They will attack this night, I rather think.”

“And what do you then propose, Francisco?”

“That we should send all the females away to Don Teodoro’s—it is but five miles—and call the men together as soon as possible. We are strong enough to beat them off if we barricade the house. They cannot land more than from ninety to one hundred men, as some must remain in charge of the schooner; and we can muster quite as many. It may be as well to promise our men a reward if they do their duty.”

“That is all right enough; and the bullion we have here.”

“Here we had better let it remain; it will take too much time to remove it, and, besides, will weaken our force by the men who must be in charge of it. The out-houses must be abandoned, and everything which is of consequence taken from them. Fire them they will, in all probability. At all events we have plenty of time before us, if we begin at once.”

“Well, Francisco, I shall make you commandant, and leave the arrangements to you, while I go and speak to Donna Isidora. Send for the men and speak to them; promise them rewards, and act as if you were ordering upon your own responsibility.”

“I trust I shall prove myself worthy of your confidence, sir,” replied Francisco.

“Carambo!” exclaimed the old don, as he left the room; “but it is fortunate you are here. We might all have been murdered in our beds.”

Francisco sent for the head men of the establishment, and told them what he was convinced they would have to expect; and he then explained to them his views. The rest were all summoned; and Francisco pointed out to them the little mercy they would receive if the pirates were not repulsed, and the rewards which were promised by Don Cumanos if they did their duty.

Spaniards are individually brave; and, encouraged by Francisco, they agreed that they would defend the property to the last.

The house of Don Cumanos was well suited to resist an attack of this description, in which musketry only was expected to be employed. It was a long parallelogram of stone walls, with a wooden veranda on the first floor,—for it was only one story high. The windows on the first story were more numerous, but at the basement there were but two, and no other opening but the door in the whole line of building. It was of a composite architecture, between the Morisco and the Spanish. If the lower part of the house, which was of stone, could be secured from entrance, the assailants would, of course, fight under a great disadvantage. The windows below were the first secured by piling a heavy mass of stones in the interior of the rooms against them, rising to the ceiling from a base like the segment of a pyramid, extending to the opposite side of the chamber; and every preparation was made for effectually barricading the door before night. Ladders were then fixed to ascend to the veranda, which was rendered musket-proof nearly as high as its railings, to protect the men. The Donna Isidora, and the women of the establishment, were, in the afternoon, despatched to Don Teodoro’s; and, at the request of Francisco, joined to the entreaties of Donna Isidora, Don Cumanos was persuaded to accompany them. The don called his men, and telling them that he left Francisco in command, expected them to do their duty; and then shaking hands with him, the cavalcade was soon lost in the woods behind the narrow meadows which skirted the river.

There was no want of muskets and ammunition. Some were employed casting bullets, and others in examining the arms which had long been laid by. Before evening all was ready; every man had received his arms and ammunition; the flints had been inspected; and Francisco had time to pay more attention to the schooner, which had, during the day, increased her distance from the land, but was now again standing in for the shore. Half-an-hour before dusk, when within three miles, she wore round and put her head to the offing.

“They’ll attack this night,” said Francisco, “I feel almost positive: their yards and stay-tackles are up, all ready for hoisting out the long-boat.”

“Let them come, señor; we will give them a warm reception,” replied Diego, the second in authority.

It was soon too dark to perceive the vessel. Francisco and Diego ordered every man, but five, into the house; the door was firmly barricaded, and some large pieces of rock, which had been rolled into the passage, piled against it. Francisco then posted the five men down the banks of the river, at a hundred yards’ distance from each other, to give notice of the approach of the boats. It was about ten o’clock at night, when Francisco and Diego descended the ladder and went to examine their outposts.

“Señor,” said Diego, as he and Francisco stood on the bank of the river, “at what hour is it your idea that these villains will make their attempt?”

“That is difficult to say. If the same captain commands them who did when I was on board of her, it will not be until after the moon is down, which will not be till midnight; but should it be any other who is in authority, they may not be so prudent.”

“Holy Virgin! señor, were you ever on board of that vessel?”

“Yes, Diego, I was, and for a long while, too; but not with my own good will. Had I not been on board I never should have recognised her.”

“Very true, señor; then we may thank the saints that you have once been a pirate.”

“I hope that I never was that, Diego,” replied Francisco, smiling; “but I have been a witness to dreadful proceedings on board of that vessel, at the remembrance of which, even now, my blood curdles.”

To pass away the time, Francisco then detailed many scenes of horror to Diego which he had witnessed when on board of the Avenger; and he was still in the middle of a narrative when a musket was discharged by the farthermost sentinel.

“Hark, Diego!”

Another, and another, nearer and nearer to them, gave the signal that the boats were close at hand. In a few minutes the men all came in, announcing that the pirates were pulling up the stream in three boats, and were less than a quarter of a mile from the landing-place.

“Diego, go to the house with these men, and see that all is ready,” said Francisco. “I will wait here a little longer; but do not fire till I come to you.”

Diego and the men departed, and Francisco was left on the beach alone.

In another minute, the sound of the oars was plainly distinguishable, and Francisco’s ears were directed to catch, if possible, the voices. “Yes,” thought he, “you come with the intentions of murder and robbery; but you will, through me, be disappointed.” As the boats approached, he heard the voice of Hawkhurst. The signal muskets fired had told the pirates that they were discovered, and that, in all probability, they would meet with resistance; silence was, therefore, no longer of any advantage.

“Oars, my lads!—oars!” cried Hawkhurst.

One boat ceased rowing, and soon afterwards the two others. The whole of them were now plainly seen by Francisco, at the distance of about one cable’s length from where he stood; and the clear still night carried the sound of their voices along the water.

“Here is a creek, sir,” said Hawkhurst, “leading up to those buildings. Would it not be better to land there, as, if they are not occupied, they will prove a protection to us if we have a hard fight for it?”

“Very true, Hawkhurst,” replied a voice, which Francisco immediately recognised to be that of Cain.

“He is alive, then,” thought Francisco, “and his blood is not yet upon my hands.”

“Give way, my lads!” cried Hawkhurst.

The boats dashed up the creek, and Francisco hastened back to the house.

“Now, my lads,” said he, as he sprang up the ladder, “you must be resolute; we have to deal with desperate men. I have heard the voices of the captain and the chief mate; so there is no doubt as to its being the pirate. The boats are up the creek and will land behind the out-buildings. Haul up these ladders, and lay them fore and aft on the veranda; and do not fire without taking a good aim. Silence! my men—silence! Here they come.”

The pirates were now seen advancing from the out-buildings in strong force. In the direction in which they came, it was only from the side of the veranda, at which not more than eight or ten men could be placed, that the enemy could be repulsed. Francisco therefore gave orders that as soon as some of the men had fired they should retreat and load their muskets, to make room for others.

When the pirates had advanced halfway to the house, on the clear space between it and the outbuildings, Francisco gave the word to fire. The volley was answered by another, and a shout from the pirates, who, with Hawkhurst and Cain at their head, now pressed on, but not until they had received a second discharge from the Spaniards, and the pirates had fired in return. As the Spaniards could not at first fire a volley of more than a dozen muskets at a time, their opponents imagined their force to be much less than it really was. They now made other arrangements. They spread themselves in a semicircle in front of the veranda, and kept up a continued galling fire. This was returned by the party under Francisco for nearly a quarter of an hour; and as all the muskets were now called into action, the pirates found out that they had a more formidable enemy to cope with than they had anticipated.

It was now quite dark, and not a figure was to be distinguished, except by the momentary flashing of the fire-arms. Cain and Hawkhurst, leaving their men to continue the attack, had gained the house, and a position under the veranda. Examining the windows and door, there appeared but little chance of forcing an entrance; but it immediately occurred to them that under the veranda their men would not be exposed, and that they might fire through the wooden floor of it upon those above. Hawkhurst hastened away, and returned with about half the men, leaving the others to continue their attack as before. The advantage of this manoeuvre was soon evident. The musket-balls of the pirates pierced the planks, and wounded many of the Spaniards severely; and Francisco was at last obliged to order his men to retreat into the house, and fire out of the windows.

But even this warfare did not continue; for the supporting-pillars of the veranda being of wood, and very dry, they were set fire to by the pirates. Gradually the flames wound round them, and their forked tongues licked the balustrade. At last, the whole of the veranda was in flames. This was a great advantage to the attacking party, who could now distinguish the Spaniards without their being so clearly seen themselves. Many were killed and wounded. The smoke and heat became so intense in the upper story that the men could no longer remain there; and, by the advice of Francisco, they retreated to the basement of the house.

“What shall we do now, señor?” said Diego, with a grave face.

“Do?” replied Francisco; “they have burnt the veranda, that is all. The house will not take fire; it is of solid stone: the roof indeed may; but still here we are. I do not see that they are more advanced than they were before. As soon as the veranda has burnt down, we must return above, and commence firing again from the windows.”

“Hark, sir! they are trying the door.”

“They may try a long while; they should have tried the door while the veranda protected them from our sight. As soon as it is burnt, we shall be able to drive them away from it. I will go up again and see how things are.”

“No, señor; it is of no use. Why expose yourself now that the flames are so bright?”

“I must go and see if that is the case, Diego. Put all the wounded men in the north chamber, it will be the safest, and more out of the way.”

Francisco ascended the stone staircase, and gained the upper story. The rooms were filled with smoke, and he could distinguish nothing. An occasional bullet whistled past him. He walked towards the windows, and sheltered himself behind the wall between them.

The flames were not so violent, and the heat more bearable. In a short time, a crash, and then another told him that the veranda had fallen in. He looked through the window. The mass of lighted embers had fallen down in front of the house, and had, for a time, driven away the assailants. Nothing was left of the veranda but the burning ends of the joists fixed in the wall above the windows, and the still glowing remains of the posts which once supported it.

But the smoke from below now cleared away, and the discharge of one or two muskets told Francisco that he was perceived by the enemy.

“The roof is safe,” thought he, as he withdrew from the window; “and now I do not know whether the loss of the veranda may not prove a gain to us.”

What were the intentions of the pirates it was difficult to ascertain. For a time they had left off firing, and Francisco returned to his comrades. The smoke had gradually cleared away, and they were able to resume their position above; but as the pirates did not fire, they, of course, could do nothing, as it was only by the flashing of the muskets that the enemy was to be distinguished. No further attempts were made at the door or windows below; and Francisco in vain puzzled himself as to the intended plans of the assailants.

Nearly half an hour of suspense passed away. Some of the Spaniards were of opinion that they had retreated to their boats and gone away, but Francisco knew them better. All he could do was to remain above, and occasionally look out to discover their motions. Diego, and one or two more, remained with him; the other men were kept below, that they might be out of danger.

“Holy Francis! but this has been a dreadful night, señor! How many hours until daylight?” said Diego.

“Two hours at least, I should think,” replied Francisco; “but the affair will be decided before that.”

“The saints protect us! See, señor, are they not coming?”

Francisco looked through the gloom, in the direction of the outbuildings, and perceived a group of men advancing. A few moments and he could clearly make them out.

“Yes, truly, Diego; and they have made ladders, which they are carrying. They intend to storm the windows. Call them up; and now we must fight hard indeed.”

The Spaniards hastened up and filled the room above, which had three windows in the front, looking towards the river, and which had been sheltered by the veranda.

“Shall we fire now, señor?”

“No—no: do not fire till your muzzles are at their hearts. They cannot mount more than two at a time at each window. Recollect, my lads, that you must now fight hard, for your lives will not be spared; they will show no quarter and no mercy.”

The ends of the rude ladders now made their appearance above the sill of each window. They had been hastily, yet firmly, constructed; and were nearly as wide as the windows. A loud cheer was followed by a simultaneous mounting of the ladders.

Francisco was at the centre window, when Hawkhurst made his appearance, sabre in hand. He struck aside the musket aimed at him, and the ball whizzed harmless over the broad water of the river. Another step, and he would have been in, when Francisco fired his pistol; the ball entered the left shoulder of Hawkhurst, and he dropped his hold. Before he could regain it, a Spaniard charged at him with a musket, and threw him back. He fell, bearing down with him one or two of his comrades, who had been following him up the ladder.

Francisco felt as if the attack at that window was of little consequence after the fall of Hawkhurst, whose voice he had recognised; and he hastened to the one on the left, as he had heard Cain encouraging his men in that direction. He was not wrong in his conjecture; Cain was at the window, attempting to force an entrance, but was opposed by Diego and other resolute men. But the belt of the pirate-captain was full of pistols, and he had already fired three with effect. Diego and the two best men were wounded, and the others who opposed him were alarmed at his giant proportions. Francisco rushed to attack him; but what was the force of so young a man against the Herculean power of Cain! Still Francisco’s left hand was at the throat of the pirate, and the pistol was pointed in his right, when a flash of another pistol, fired by one who followed Cain, threw its momentary vivid light upon the features of Francisco, as he cried out, “Blood for blood!” It was enough; the pirate captain uttered a yell of terror at the supposed supernatural appearance; and he fell from the ladder in a fit among the still burning embers of the veranda.

The fall of their two chiefs, and the determined resistance of the Spaniards, checked the impetuosity of the assailants. They hesitated; and they at last retreated, bearing away with them their wounded. The Spaniards cheered, and, led by Francisco, followed them down the ladders, and, in their turn, became the assailants. Still the pirates’ retreat was orderly: they fired, and retired rank behind rank successively. They kept the Spaniards at bay, until they had arrived at the boats; when a charge was made, and a severe conflict ensued. But the pirates had lost too many men, and, without their commander, felt dispirited. Hawkhurst was still on his legs and giving his orders as coolly as ever. He espied Francisco, and rushing at him, while the two parties were opposed muzzle to muzzle, seized him by his collar and dragged him in amongst the pirates. “Secure him at all events!” cried Hawkhurst, as they slowly retreated and gained the out-houses. Francisco was overpowered and hauled into one of the boats, all of which in a few minutes afterwards were pulling with all their might to escape from the muskets of the Spaniards, who followed the pirates by the banks of the river, annoying them in their retreat.

Chapter Fourteen.

The Meeting.

The pirates returned to their vessel discomfited. Those on board, who were prepared to hoist in ingots of precious metal, had to receive nought but wounded men, and many of their comrades had remained dead on the shore. Their captain was melancholy and downcast. Hawkhurst was badly wounded, and obliged to be carried below as soon as he came on board. The only capture which they had made was their former associate Francisco, who, by the last words spoken by Hawkhurst as he was supported to his cabin was ordered to be put in irons. The boats were hoisted in without noise, and a general gloom prevailed. All sail was then made upon the schooner, and when day dawned she was seen by the Spaniards far away to the northward.

The report was soon spread through the schooner that Francisco had been the cause of their defeat; and this was only a surmise, still, as they considered that had he not recognised the vessel the Spaniards would not have been prepared, they had good grounds for what had swelled into an assertion. He became, therefore, to many of them, an object of bitter enmity, and they looked forward with pleasure to his destruction, which his present confinement they considered but the precursor of.

“Hist! Massa Francisco!” said a low voice near to where Francisco sat on the chest. Francisco turned round and beheld the Krouman, his old friend.

“Ah! Pompey, are you all still on board?” said Francisco.

“All! no,” replied the man, shaking his head; “some die—some get away—only four Kroumen left. Massa Francisco, how you come back again? Everybody tink you dead. I say no, not dead—ab charm with him—ab book.”

“If that was my charm, I have it still,” replied Francisco, taking the Bible out of his vest; for, strange to say, Francisco himself had a kind of superstition relative to that Bible, and had put it into his bosom previous to the attack made by the pirates.

“Dat very good, Massa Francisco; den you quite safe. Here come Johnson—he very bad man. I go away.”

In the meantime Cain had retired to his cabin with feelings scarcely to be analysed. He was in a bewilderment. Notwithstanding the wound he had received by the hand of Francisco, he would never have sanctioned Hawkhurst putting him on shore on a spot which promised nothing but a lingering and miserable death. Irritated as he had been by the young man’s open defiance, he loved him—loved him much more than he was aware of himself; and when he had recovered sufficiently from his wound, and had been informed where Francisco had been sent on shore, he quarrelled with Hawkhurst, and reproached him bitterly and sternly, in language which Hawkhurst never forgot or forgave. The vision of the starving lad haunted Cain, and rendered him miserable. His affection for him, now that he was, as he supposed, lost for ever, increased with tenfold force; and since that period Cain had never been seen to smile. He became more gloomy, more ferocious than ever, and the men trembled when he appeared on deck.

The apparition of Francisco after so long an interval, and in such an unexpected quarter of the globe, acted, as we have before described, upon Cain. When he was taken to the boat he was still confused in his ideas, and it was not until they were nearly on board that he perceived that this young man was indeed at his side. He could have fallen on his neck and kissed him: for Francisco had become to him a capture more prized than all the wealth of the Indies. But one pure, good feeling was unextinguished in the bosom of Cain; stained with every crime—with his hands so deeply imbrued in blood—at enmity with all the rest of the world, that one feeling burnt bright and clear, and was not to be quenched. It might have proved a beacon-light to steer him back to repentance and to good works.

But there were other feelings which also crowded upon the mind of the pirate-captain. He knew Francisco’s firmness and decision. By some inscrutable means, which Cain considered as supernatural, Francisco had obtained the knowledge, and had accused him, of his mother’s death. Would not the affection which he felt for the young man be met with hatred and defiance? He was but too sure that it would. And then his gloomy, cruel disposition would reassume its influence, and he thought of revenging the attack upon his life. His astonishment at the reappearance of Francisco was equally great, and he trembled at the sight of him, as if he were his accusing and condemning spirit. Thus did he wander from one fearful fancy to another, until he at last summoned up resolution to send for him.

A morose, dark man, whom Francisco had not seen when he was before in the schooner, obeyed the commands of the captain. The irons were unlocked, and Francisco was brought down into the cabin. The captain rose and shut the door.

“I little thought to see you here, Francisco,” said Cain.

“Probably not,” replied Francisco, boldly, “but you have me again, in your power, and may now wreak your vengeance.”

“I feel none, Francisco; nor would I have suffered you to have been put on shore as you were, had I known of it. Even now that our expedition has failed through your means, I feel no anger towards you, although I shall have some difficulty in preserving you from the enmity of others. Indeed, Francisco, I am glad to find that you are alive, and I have bitterly mourned your loss:” and Cain extended his hand.

But Francisco folded his arms, and was silent.

“Are you then so unforgiving?” said the captain. “You know that I tell the truth.”

“I believe that you state the truth, Captain Cain, for you are too bold to lie; and, as far as I am concerned, you have all the forgiveness you may wish; but I cannot take that hand; nor are our accounts yet settled.”

“What would you more? Cannot we be friends again? I do not ask you to remain on board. You are free to go where you please. Come, Francisco, take my hand, and let us forget what is past.”

“The hand that is imbrued with my mother’s blood, perhaps!” exclaimed Francisco. “Never!”

“Not so, by God!” exclaimed Cain. “No, no; not quite so bad as that. In my mood I struck your mother; I grant it. I did not intend to injure her, but I did, and she died. I will not lie—that is the fact. And it is also the fact that I wept over her, Francisco; for I loved her as I do you.

“It was a hasty, bitter blow, that,” continued Cain, soliloquising, with his hand to his forehead, and unconscious of Francisco’s presence at the moment. “It made me what I am, for it made me reckless.”

“Francisco,” said Cain, raising his head, “I was bad, but I was no pirate when your mother lived. There is a curse upon me: that which I love most I treat the worst. Of all the world, I loved your mother most: yet did she from me receive much injury, and at last I caused her death. Next to your mother, whose memory I at once revere and love, and tremble when I think of (and each night does she appear to me), I have loved you, Francisco; for you, like her, have an angel’s feelings: yet have I treated you as ill. You thwarted me, and you were right. Had you been wrong, I had not cared; but you were right, and it maddened me. Your appeals by day—your mother’s in my dreams—”

Francisco’s heart was softened; if not repentance, there was at least contrition. “Indeed I pity you,” replied Francisco.

“You must do more, Francisco; you must be friends with me,” said Cain, again extending his hand.

“I cannot take that hand, it is too deeply dyed in blood,” replied Francisco.

“Well, well, so would have said your mother. But hear me, Francisco,” said Cain, lowering his voice to a whisper, lest he should be overheard; “I am tired of this life—perhaps sorry for what I have done—I wish to leave it—have wealth in plenty concealed where others know not. Tell me, Francisco, shall we both quit this vessel, and live together happily and without doing wrong? You shall share all, Francisco. Say, now, does that please you?”

“Yes; it pleases me to hear that you will abandon your lawless life, Captain Cain; but share your wealth I cannot, for how has it been gained?”

“It cannot be returned, Francisco; I will do good with it. I will indeed, Francisco. I—will—repent;” and again the hand was extended.

Francisco hesitated.

“I do, so help me God! I do repent, Francisco!” exclaimed the pirate-captain.

“And I, as a Christian, do forgive you all,” replied Francisco, taking the still extended hand. “May God forgive you, too!”

“Amen!” replied the pirate, solemnly, covering his face up in his hands.

In this position he remained some minutes, Francisco watching him in silence. At last the face was uncovered, and, to the surprise of Francisco, a tear was on the cheek of Cain and his eyes suffused with moisture. Francisco no longer waited for the hand to be extended; he walked up to the captain, and taking him by the hand, pressed it warmly.

“God bless you, boy! God bless you!” said Cain; “but leave me now.”

Francisco returned on deck with a light and grateful heart. His countenance at once told those who were near him that he was not condemned, and many who dared not before take notice of him, now saluted him. The man who had taken him out of irons looked round; he was a creature of Hawkhurst, and he knew not how to act. Francisco observed him, and, with a wave of the hand, ordered him below. That Francisco was again in authority was instantly perceived, and the first proof of it was, that the new second mate reported to him that there was a sail on the weather bow.

Francisco took the glass to examine her. It was a large schooner under all sail. Not wishing that any one should enter the cabin but himself, he went down to the cabin-door, and knocked before he entered, and reported the vessel.

“Thank you, Francisco; you must take Hawkhurst’s duty for the present—it shall not be for long; and fear not that I shall make another capture. I swear to you I will not, Francisco. But this schooner—I know very well what she is: she has been looking after us some time: and a week ago, Francisco, I was anxious to meet her, that I might shed more blood. Now I will do all I can to avoid her, and escape. I can do no more, Francisco. I must not be taken.”

“There I cannot blame you. To avoid her will be easy, I should think; the Avenger outsails everything.”

“Except, I believe, the Enterprise, which is a sister-vessel. By heaven! it’s a fair match,” continued Cain, his feelings of combativeness returning for a moment; “and it will look like a craven to refuse the fight: but fear not, Francisco—I have promised you, and I shall keep my word.”

Cain went on deck, and surveyed the vessel through the glass.

“Yes, it must be her,” said he aloud, so as to be heard by the pirates; “she has been sent out by the admiral on purpose, full of his best men. What a pity we are short-handed!”

“There’s enough of us, sir,” observed the boatswain.

“Yes,” replied Cain, “if there was anything but hard blows to be got; but that is all, and I cannot spare more men. Ready about!” continued he, walking aft.

The Enterprise, for she was the vessel in pursuit, was then about five miles distant, steering for the Avenger, who was on a wind. As soon as the Avenger tacked, the Enterprise took in her topmast studding-sail, and hauled her wind. This brought the Enterprise well on the weather-quarter of the Avenger, who now made all sail. The pirates, who had had quite enough of fighting, and were not stimulated by the presence of Hawkhurst, or the wishes of their captain, now showed as much anxiety to avoid, as they usually did to seek, a combat.

At the first trial of sailing between the two schooners there was no perceptible difference; for half an hour they both continued on a wind, and when Edward Templemore examined his sextant a second time, he could not perceive that he had gained upon the Avenger one cable’s length.

“We will keep away half a point,” said Edward to his second in command. “We can afford that, and still hold the weather-gage.”

The Enterprise was kept away, and increased her speed: they neared the Avenger more than a quarter of a mile.

“They are nearing us,” observed Francisco; “we must keep away a point.”

Away went the Avenger, and would have recovered her distance, but the Enterprise was again steered more off the wind.

Thus did they continue altering their course until the studding-sails below and aloft were set by both, and the position of the schooners was changed; the Enterprise now being on the starboard instead of the larboard quarter of the Avenger. The relative distance between the two schooners was, however, nearly the same, that is, about three miles and a half from each other; and there was every prospect of a long and weary chase on the part of the Enterprise, who again kept away a point to near the Avenger.

Both vessels were now running to the eastward.

It was about an hour before dark that another sail hove in sight right a-head of the Avenger, and was clearly made out to be a frigate. The pirates were alarmed at this unfortunate circumstance, as there was little doubt but that she would prove a British cruiser; and, if not, they had equally reason to expect that she would assist in their capture. She had evidently perceived the two schooners, and had made all sail, tacking every quarter of an hour so as to keep her relative position. The Enterprise, who had also made out the frigate, to attract her attention, although not within range of the Avenger, commenced firing with her long-gun.

“This is rather awkward,” observed Cain.

“It will be dark in less than an hour,” observed Francisco; “and that is our only chance.”

Cain reflected a minute.

“Get the long-gun ready, my lads! We will return her fire, Francisco, and hoist American colours; that will puzzle the frigate at all events, and the night may do the rest.”

The long-gun of the Avenger was ready.

“I would not fire the long-gun,” observed Francisco, “it will show our force, and will give no reason for our attempt to escape. Now, if we were to fire our broadside-guns, the difference of report between them and the one of large calibre fired by the other schooner would induce them to think that we are an American vessel.”

“Very true,” replied Cain, “and, as America is at peace with all the world, that our antagonist is a pirate. Hold fast the long-gun, there; and unship the starboard ports. See that the ensign blows out clear.”

The Avenger commenced firing an occasional gun from her broadside, the reports of which were hardly to be heard by those on board of the frigate; while the long-gun of the Enterprise reverberated along the water, and its loud resonance was swept by the wind to the frigate to leeward.

Such was the state of affairs when the sun sank down in the wave, and darkness obscured the vessels from each other’s sight, except with the assistance of the night telescopes.

“What do you propose to do, Captain Cain?” said Francisco.

“I have made up my mind to do a bold thing. I will run down to the frigate, as if for shelter; tell him that the other vessel is a pirate, and claim his protection. Leave me to escape afterwards; the moon will not rise till nearly one o’clock.”

“That will be a bold ruse, indeed; but suppose you are once under her broadside, and she suspects you?”

“Then I will show her my heels. I should care nothing for her and her broadside if the schooner was not here.”

In an hour after dark the Avenger was close to the frigate, having steered directly for her. She shortened sail gradually, as if she had few hands on board; and, keeping his men out of sight, Cain ran under the stern of the frigate.

“Schooner ahoy! What schooner is that?”

Eliza of Baltimore, from Carthagena,” replied Cain, rounding to under the lee of the man-of-war, and then continuing: “That vessel in chase is a pirate. Shall I send a boat on board?”

“No; keep company with us.”

“Ay, ay, sir,” replied Cain.

“Hands about ship!” now resounded with the boatswain’s whistle on board of the frigate, and in a minute they were on the other tack. The Avenger also tacked and kept close under the frigate’s counter.

In the meantime, Edward Templemore and those on board of the Enterprise who, by the course steered, had gradually neared them, perceiving the motions of the two other vessels, were quite puzzled. At one time they thought they had made a mistake, and that it was not the pirate vessel; at another they surmised that the crew had mutinied and surrendered to the frigate. Edward hauled his wind, and steered directly for them, to ascertain what the real facts were. The captain of the frigate, who had never lost sight of either vessel, was equally astonished at the boldness of the supposed pirate.

“Surely the rascal does not intend to board us?” said he to the first-lieutenant.

“There is no saying, sir; you know what a character he has: and some say there are three hundred men on board, which is equal to our ship’s company. Or perhaps, sir, he will pass to windward of us, and give us a broadside, and be off in the wind’s eye again.”

“At all events we will have a broadside ready for him,” replied the captain. “Clear away the starboard guns, and take out the tompions. Pipe starboard watch to quarters.”

The Enterprise closed with the frigate to windward, intending to run round her stern and bring to on the same tack.

“He does not shorten sail yet, sir,” said the first-lieutenant, as the schooner appeared skimming along about a cable’s length on their weather bow.

“And she is full of men, sir,” said the master, looking at her through the night-glass.

“Fire a gun at her!” said the captain.

Bang! The smoke cleared away, and the schooner’s foretopsail, which she was in the act of clewing up, lay over side. The shot had struck the foremast of the Enterprise, and cut it in two below the catharpings. The Enterprise was, for the time, completely disabled.

“Schooner ahoy! What schooner is that?”

“His Majesty’s schooner Enterprise.”

“Send a boat on board immediately.”

“Ay, ay, sir.”

“Turn the hands up? Shorten sail!”

The top-gallant and courses of the frigate were taken in, and the mainsail hove to the mast.

“Signalman, whereabouts is that other schooner now?”

“The schooner, sir? On the quarter,” replied the signalman, who with everybody else on board, was so anxious about the Enterprise, that they had neglected to watch the motions of the supposed American. The man had replied at random, and he now jumped upon the signal-chests abaft to look for her. But she was not to be seen. Cain, who had watched all that passed between the other two vessels, and had been prepared to slip off at a moment’s warning, as soon as the gun was fired at the other schooner, had wore round and made all sail on a wind. The night-glass discovered her half a mile astern; and the ruse was immediately perceived. The frigate filled and made sail, leaving Edward to return on board—for there was no time to stop for the boat—tacked, and gave chase. But the Avenger was soon in the wind’s-eye of her; and at daylight was no longer to be seen.

In the meantime, Edward Templemore had followed the frigate as soon as he could set sail on his vessel, indignant at his treatment, and vowing that he would demand a court-martial. About noon the frigate rejoined him, when matters were fully explained. Annoyed as they all felt at not having captured the pirate, it was unanimously agreed, that by his audacity and coolness he deserved to escape. It was found that the mast of the Enterprise could be fished and scarfed, so as to enable her to continue her cruise. The carpenters of the frigate were sent on board; and in two days the injury was repaired, and Edward Templemore once more went in pursuit of the Avenger.

Chapter Fifteen.

The Mistake.

The Avenger stood under a press of sail to the northward. She had left her pursuers far behind; and there was not a speck on the horizon, when, on the second morning, Francisco, who had resumed his berth in the captain’s cabin, went up on deck. Notwithstanding the request of Cain, Francisco refused to take any part in the command of the schooner, considering himself as a passenger, or prisoner on parole.

He had not been on deck but a few minutes, when he observed the two Spanish fishermen belonging to the establishment of Don Cumanos conversing together forward. Their capture had quite escaped his memory, and he went forward to speak to them. Their surprise at seeing him was great, until Francisco informed them of what had passed. They then recounted what had occurred to them, and showed their thumbs, which had been put into screws to torture from them the truth. Francisco shuddered, but consoled them by promising that they should soon be at liberty, and return to their former master.

As Francisco returned from forward, he found Hawkhurst on the deck. Their eyes met and flashed in enmity. Hawkhurst was pale from loss of blood, and evidently suffering; but he had been informed of the apparent reconciliation between Francisco and the captain, and he could no longer remain in his bed. He knew, also, how the captain had avoided the combat with the Enterprise; and something told him that there was a revolution of feeling in more than one point. Suffering as he was, he resolved to be a spectator of what passed, and to watch narrowly. For both Francisco and Cain he had imbibed a deadly hatred, and was watching for an opportunity to wreak his revenge. At present they were too powerful; but he felt that the time was coming when he might be triumphant.

Francisco passed Hawkhurst without speaking.

“You are at liberty again, I see,” observed Hawkhurst with a sneer.

“I am not, at all events, indebted to you for it,” replied Francisco, haughtily; “nor for my life either.”

“No, indeed; but I believe that I am indebted to you for this bullet in my shoulder,” replied the mate.

“You are,” replied Francisco, coolly.

“And depend upon it the debt shall be repaid with usury.”

“I have no doubt of it, if ever it is in your power; but I fear you not.”

As Francisco made this reply, the captain came up the ladder. Hawkhurst turned away and walked forward.

“There is mischief in that man, Francisco,” said the captain in an under-tone; “I hardly know whom to trust; but he must be watched. He is tampering with the men, and has been for some time; not that it is of much consequence, if he does but remain quiet for a little while. The command of this vessel he is welcome to very soon; but if he attempts too early—”

“I have those I can trust to,” replied Francisco. “Let us go below.”

Francisco sent for Pompey the Krouman, and gave him his directions in the presence of the captain. That night, to the surprise of all, Hawkhurst kept his watch; and notwithstanding the fatigue, appeared every day to be rapidly recovering from his wound.

Nothing occurred for several days, during which the Avenger still continued her course. What the captain’s intentions were did not transpire; they were known only to Francisco.

“We are very short of water, sir,” reported Hawkhurst one morning: “shall we have enough to last us to where we are going?”

“How many days of full allowance have we on board?”

“Not above twelve at the most.”

“Then we must go on half allowance,” replied Cain.

“The ship’s company wish to know where we are going, sir.”

“Have they deputed you to ask the question?”

“Not exactly, sir; but I wish to know myself,” replied Hawkhurst, with an insolent air.

“Turn the hands up,” replied Cain: “as one of the ship’s company under my orders, you will, with the others, receive the information you require.”

The crew of the pirate collected aft.

“My lads,” said Cain, “I understand, from the first mate, that you are anxious to know where you are going? In reply, I acquaint you, that having so many wounded men on board, and so much plunder in the hold, I intend to repair to our rendezvous when we were formerly in this part of the world—the Caicos. Is there any other question you may wish to ask of me?”

“Yes,” replied Hawkhurst; “we wish to know what your intentions are relative to that young man Francisco. We have lost immense wealth; we have now thirty men wounded in the hammocks, and nine we left dead on the shore; and I have a bullet through my body, all of which has been occasioned by him. We demand justice!”

Here Hawkhurst was supported by several of the pirates; and there were many voices which repeated the cry of “Justice!”

“My men! you demand justice, and you shall have it,” replied Cain. “This lad you all know well; I have brought him up from a child. He has always disliked our mode of life, and has often requested to leave it, but has been refused. He challenged me by our own laws, ‘Blood for blood!’ He wounded me; but he was right in his challenge, and, therefore, I bear no malice. Had I been aware that he was to have been sent on shore to die with hunger, I would not have permitted it. What crime had he committed? None; or, if any, it was against me. He was then sentenced to death for no crime, and you yourselves exclaimed against it. Is it not true?”

“Yes—yes,” replied the majority of the pirates.

“By a miracle he escapes, and is put in charge of another man’s property. He is made a prisoner, and now you demand justice. You shall have it. Allowing that his life is forfeit for this offence,—you have already sentenced him, and left him to death unjustly, and therefore are bound in justice to give his life in this instance. I ask it, my men, not only as his right, but as a favour to your captain.”

“Agreed; it’s all fair!” exclaimed the majority of the pirate’s crew.

“My men, I thank you,” replied Cain; “and in return, as soon as we arrive at the Caicos, my share of the plunder on board shall be divided among you.”

This last observation completely turned the tables in favour of the captain; and those who had joined Hawkhurst now sided with the captain. Hawkhurst looked like a demon.

“Let those who choose to be bought off, take your money,” replied he; “but I will not. Blood for blood I will have; and so I give you warning. That lad’s life is mine, and have it I will! Prevent me, if you can!” continued the mate, holding up his clenched hand, and shaking it almost in the pirate-captain’s face.

The blood mantled even to the forehead of Cain. One moment he raised himself to his utmost height, then seizing a hand spike, which lay near, he felled Hawkhurst to the deck.

“Take that for your mutiny!” exclaimed Cain, putting his foot on Hawkhurst’s neck. “My lads, I appeal to you. Is this man worthy to be in command as mate? Is he to live?”

“No! no!” cried the pirates. “Death!”

Francisco stepped forward. “My men, you have granted your captain one favour; grant me another, which is the life of this man. Recollect how often he has led you to conquest, and how brave and faithful he has been until now! Recollect that he is suffering under his wound, which has made him irritable. Command you he cannot any longer, as he will never have the confidence of your captain; but let him live, and quit the vessel.”

“Be it so, if you agree,” replied Cain, looking at the men; “I do not seek his life.”

The pirates consented. Hawkhurst rose slowly from the deck, and was assisted below to his cabin. The second mate was then appointed as the first, and the choice of the man to fill up the vacancy was left to the pirate-crew.

For three days after this scene all was quiet and orderly on board of the pirate. Cain, now that he had more fully made up his mind how to act, imparted to Francisco his plans; and his giving up to the men his share of the booty still on board was, to Francisco, an earnest of his good intentions. A cordiality, even a kind of feeling which never existed before, was created between them; but of Francisco’s mother, and the former events of his own life, the pirate never spoke. Francisco more than once put questions on the subject; the answer was,—“You shall know some of these days, Francisco, but not yet; you would hate me too much!”

The Avenger was now clear of the English isles, and with light winds running down the shores of Porto Rico. In the evening of the day on which they had made the land, the schooner was becalmed about three miles from the shore, and the new first mate proposed that he should land in the boat and obtain a further supply of water from a fall which they had discovered with the glasses. As this was necessary, Cain gave his consent, and the boat quitted the vessel full of breakers.

Now it happened that the Avenger lay becalmed abreast of the country-seat of Don d’Alfarez, the governor of the island. Clara had seen the schooner; and, as usual, had thrown out the white curtain as a signal of recognition; for there was no perceptible difference, even to a sailor, at that distance, between the Avenger and the Enterprise. She had hastened down to the beach, and hurried into the cave, awaiting the arrival of Edward Templemore. The pirate-boat landed at the very spot of rendezvous, and the mate leaped out of the boat. Clara flew to receive her Edward, and was instantly seized by the mate, before she discovered her mistake.

“Holy Virgin! who and what are you?” cried she, struggling to disengage herself.

“One who is very fond of a pretty girl!” replied the pirate, still detaining her.

“Unhand me, wretch!” cried Clara. “Are you aware whom you are addressing?”

“Not I! nor do I care,” replied the pirate.

“You will perhaps, sir, when you learn that I am the daughter of the governor!” exclaimed Clara, pushing him away.

“Yes! by heavens! you are right, pretty lady, I do care; for a governor’s daughter will fetch a good ransom at all events. So come, my lads, a little help here; for she is as strong as a young mule. Never mind the water, throw the beakers into the boat again: we have a prize worth taking!”

Clara screamed; but she was gagged with a handkerchief and lifted into the boat, which immediately rowed back to the schooner.

When the mate came on board and reported his capture the pirates were delighted at the prospect of addition to their prize-money. Cain could not, of course, raise any objections; it would have been so different from his general practice, that it would have strengthened suspicions already set afloat by Hawkhurst, which Cain was most anxious just then to remove. He ordered the girl to be taken down into the cabin, hoisted in the boat, and the breeze springing up again, made sail.

In the mean time Francisco was consoling the unfortunate Clara, and assuring her that she need be under no alarm, promising her the protection of himself and the captain.

The poor girl wept bitterly, and it was not until Cain came down into the cabin and corroborated the assurances of Francisco that she could assume any degree of composure; but to find friends when she had expected every insult and degradation—for Francisco had acknowledged that the vessel was a pirate—was some consolation. The kindness and attention of Francisco restored her to comparative tranquillity.

The next day she confided to him the reason of her coming to the beach, and her mistake with regard to the two vessels, and Francisco and Cain promised her that they would themselves pay her ransom, and not wait until she heard from her father. To divert her thoughts Francisco talked much about Edward Templemore, and on that subject Clara could always talk. Every circumstance attending the amour was soon known to Francisco.

But the Avenger did not gain her rendezvous as soon as she expected. When to the northward of Porto Rico an English frigate bore down upon her, and the Avenger was obliged to run for it. Before the wind is always a schooner’s worst point of sailing, and the chase was continued for three days before a fresh wind from the southward, until they had passed the Bahama Isles.

The pirates suffered much from want of water, as it was necessary still further to reduce their allowance. The frigate was still in sight, although the Avenger had dropped her astern when the wind became light, and at last it subsided into a calm, which lasted two days more. The boats of the frigate were hoisted out on the eve of the second day to attack the schooner, then distant five miles, when a breeze sprang up from the northward, and the schooner being then to windward, left the enemy hull down.

It was not until the next day that Cain ventured to run again to the southward to procure at one of the keys the water so much required. At last it was obtained, but with difficulty and much loss of time, from the scantiness of the supply, and they again made sail for the Caicos. But they were so much impeded by contrary winds and contrary currents that it was not until three weeks after they had been chased from Porto Rico that they made out the low land of their former rendezvous.

We must now return to Edward Templemore in the Enterprise, whom we left off the coast of South America in search of the Avenger, which had so strangely slipped through their fingers. Edward had examined the whole coast, ran through the passage and round Trinidad, and then started off to the Leeward Isles in his pursuit. He had spoken every vessel he met with without gaining any information, and had at last arrived off Porto Rico.

This was no time to think of Clara; but, as it was not out of his way, he had run down the island, and as it was just before dark when he arrived off that part of the coast where the governor resided, he had hove to for a little while, and had examined the windows: but the signal of recognition was not made, and after waiting till dark he again made sail, mad with disappointment, and fearing that all had been discovered by the governor; whereas the fact was, that he had only arrived two days after the forcible abduction of Clara. Once more he directed his attention to the discovery of the pirate, and after a fortnight’s examination of the inlets and bays of the Island of St. Domingo without success, his provisions and water being nearly expended, he returned, in no very happy mood, to Port Royal.

In the mean time the disappearance of Clara had created the greatest confusion in Porto Rico, and upon the examination of her attendant, who was confronted by the friar and the duenna, the amour of her mistress was confessed. The appearance of the Avenger off the coast on that evening confirmed their ideas that the Donna Clara had been carried off by the English lieutenant, and Don Alfarez immediately despatched a vessel to Jamaica, complaining of the outrage, and demanding the restoration of his daughter.

This vessel arrived at Port Royal a few days before the Enterprise, and the admiral was very much astonished. He returned a very polite answer to Don Alfarez, promising an investigation immediately upon the arrival of the schooner, and to send a vessel with the result of the said investigation.

“This is a pretty business,” said the admiral to his secretary. “Young madcap, I sent him to look after a pirate and he goes after the governor’s daughter! By the lord Harry, Mr Templemore, but you and I shall have an account to settle.”

“I can hardly believe it, sir,” replied the secretary; “and yet it does look suspicious. But on so short an acquaintance—”

“Who knows that, Mr Hadley? Send for his logs, and let us examine them; he may have been keeping up the acquaintance.”

The logs of the Enterprise were examined, and there were the fatal words—Porto Rico, Porto Rico, bearing in every division of the compass, and in every separate cruise, nay, even when the schooner was charged with despatches.

“Plain enough,” said the admiral. “Confounded young scamp, to embroil me in this way! Not that his marrying the girl is any business of mine; but I will punish him for disobedience of orders, at all events. Try him by a court-martial, by heavens!”

The secretary made no reply: he knew very well that the admiral would do no such thing.

“The Enterprise anchored at daylight, sir,” reported the secretary as the admiral sat down to breakfast.

“And where’s Mr Templemore?”

“He is outside in the veranda. They have told him below of what he has been accused, and he swears it is false. I believe him, sir, for he appears half mad at the intelligence.”

“Stop a moment. Have you looked over his log?”

“Yes, sir. It appears that he was off Porto Rico on the 19th; but the Spanish governor’s letter says that he was there on the 17th, and again made his appearance on the 19th. I mentioned it to him, and he declares upon his honour that he was only there on the 19th, as stated in his log.”

“Well, let him come in and speak for himself.”

Edward came in, in a state of great agitation.

“Well, Mr Templemore, you have been playing pretty tricks! What is all this, sir? Where is the girl, sir—the governor’s daughter?”

“Where she is, sir, I cannot pretend to say; but I feel convinced that she has been carried off by the pirates.”

“Pirates! Poor girl, I pity her!—and—I pity you too, Edward. Come, sit down here, and tell me all that has happened.”

Edward knew the admiral’s character so well, that he immediately disclosed all that had passed between him and Clara. He then stated how the Avenger had escaped him by deceiving the frigate, and the agreement made with Clara to meet for the future on the beach, and his conviction that the pirate schooner, so exactly similar in appearance to the Enterprise, must have preceded him at Porto Rico, and have carried off the object of his attachment.

Although Edward might have been severely taken to task, yet the admiral pitied him, and, therefore, said nothing about his visits to Porto Rico. When breakfast was over he ordered the signal to be made for a sloop of war to prepare to weigh, and the Enterprise to be revictualled by the boats of the squadron.

“Now, Edward, you and the Comus shall sail in company after this rascally pirate, and I trust you will give me a good account of her, and also of the governor’s daughter. Cheer up, my boy! depend upon it they will try for ransom before they do her any injury.”

That evening the Enterprise and Comus sailed on their expedition, and having run by Porto Rico and delivered a letter to the governor, they steered to the northward, and early the next morning made the land of the Caicos, just as the Avenger had skirted the reefs and bore up for the narrow entrance.

“There she is!” exclaimed Edward; “there she is, by heavens!” making the signal for the enemy, which was immediately answered by the Comus.

Chapter Sixteen.

The Caicos.

The small patch of islands called the Caicos, or Cayques, is situated about two degrees to the northward of Saint Domingo, and is nearly the southernmost of a chain which extends up to the Bahamas. Most of the islands of this chain are uninhabited, but were formerly the resort of piratical vessels,—the reefs and shoals with which they are all surrounded afforded them protection from their larger pursuers, and the passages through this dangerous navigation being known only to the pirates who frequented them, proved an additional security. The largest of the Caicos islands forms a curve, like an opened horseshoe, to the southward, with safe and protected anchorage when once in the bay on the southern side; but, previous to arriving at the anchorage, there are coral reefs, extending upwards of forty miles, through which it is necessary to conduct a vessel. This passage is extremely intricate, but was well known to Hawkhurst, who had hitherto been pilot. Cain was not so well acquainted with it and it required the greatest care in taking in the vessel, as, on the present occasion, Hawkhurst could not be called upon for this service. The islands themselves—for there were several of them—were composed of coral rock; a few cocoa-trees raised their lofty heads where there was sufficient earth for vegetation, and stunted brush-wood rose up between the interstices of the rocks. But the chief peculiarity of the islands, and which rendered them suitable to those who frequented them, was the numerous caves with which the rocks were perforated, some above high-water mark, but the majority with the sea-water flowing in and out of them, in some cases merely rushing in, and at high-water filling deep pools, which were detached from each other when the tide receded, in others with a sufficient depth of water at all times to allow you to pull in with a large boat. It is hardly necessary to observe how convenient the higher and dry caves were as receptacles for articles which were intended to be concealed until an opportunity occurred for disposing of them.

In our last chapter we stated that, just as the Avenger had entered the passage through the reefs, the Comus and Enterprise hove in sight and discovered her: but it will be necessary to explain the positions of the vessels. The Avenger had entered the southern channel, with the wind from the southward, and had carefully sounded her way for about four miles, under little or no sail.

The Enterprise and Comus had been examining Turk’s Island, to the eastward of the Caicos, and had passed to the northward of it on the larboard tack, standing in for the northern point of the reef, which joined on to the great Caicos Island. They were, therefore, in a situation to intercept the Avenger before she arrived at her anchorage, had it not been for the reefs that barred their passage. The only plan which the English vessels could act upon was to beat to the southward, so as to arrive at the entrance of the passage, when the Enterprise would, of course, find sufficient water to follow the Avenger; for, as the passage was too narrow to beat through, and the wind was from the southward, the Avenger could not possibly escape. She was caught in a trap; and all that she had to trust to was the defence which she might be able to make in her stronghold against the force which could be employed in the attack. The breeze was fresh from the southward, and appeared inclined to increase, when the Comus and Enterprise made all sail, and worked, in short tacks, outside the reef.

On board the Avenger, the enemy and their motions were clearly distinguished, and Cain perceived that he was in an awkward dilemma. That they would be attacked he had no doubt; and although, at any other time, he would almost have rejoiced in such an opportunity of discomfiting his assailants, yet now he thought very differently, and would have sacrificed almost everything to have been able to avoid the rencontre, and be permitted quietly to withdraw himself from his associates, without the spilling of more blood. Francisco was equally annoyed at this unfortunate collision; but no words were exchanged between him and the pirate-captain during the time that they were on deck.

It was about nine o’clock, when having safely passed nearly half through the channel, that Cain ordered the kedge-anchor to be dropped, and sent down the people to their breakfast. Francisco went down into the cabin, and was explaining their situation to Clara, when Cain entered. He threw himself on the locker, and appeared lost in deep and sombre meditation.

“What do you intend to do?” said Francisco.

“I do not know; I will not decide myself, Francisco,” replied Cain. “If I were to act upon my own judgment, probably I should allow the schooner to remain where she is. They can only attack in the boats, and, in such a case, I do not fear; whereas, if we run right through, we allow the other schooner to follow us, without defending the passage; and we may be attacked by her in the deep water inside, and overpowered by the number of men the two vessels will be able to bring against us. On the other hand, we certainly may defend the schooner from the shore as well as on board; but we are weak-handed. I shall, however, call up the ship’s company and let them decide. God knows, if left to me I would not fight at all.”

“Is there no way of escape?” resumed Francisco.

“Yes, we might abandon the schooner; and this night, when they would not expect it, run with the boats through the channel between the great island and the north Cayque: but that I daren’t propose, and the men would not listen to it: indeed, I very much doubt if the enemy will allow us the time. I knew this morning, long before we saw those vessels, that my fate would be decided before the sun went down.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean this, Francisco,” said Cain; “that your mother, who always has visited me in my dreams whenever anything (dreadful now to think of!) was about to take place, appeared to me last night; and there was sorrow and pity in her sweet face as she mournfully waved her hand, as if to summon me to follow her. Yes, thank God! she no longer looked upon me as for many years she has done.”

Francisco made no answer; and Cain again seemed to be lost in meditation.

After a little while Cain rose, and taking a small packet from one of the drawers, put it into the hands of Francisco.

“Preserve that,” said the pirate-captain; “should any accident happen to me, it will tell you who was your mother; and it also contains directions for finding treasure which I have buried. I leave everything to you, Francisco. It has been unfairly obtained; but you are not the guilty party, and there are none to claim it. Do not answer me now. You may find friends, whom you will make after I am gone, of the same opinion as I am. I tell you again, be careful of that packet.”

“I see little chance of it availing me,” replied Francisco. “If I live, shall I not be considered as a pirate?”

“No, no; you can prove the contrary.”

“I have my doubts. But God’s will be done!”

“Yes, God’s will be done!” said Cain, mournfully. “I dared not have said that a month ago.” And the pirate-captain went on deck, followed by Francisco.

The crew of the Avenger were summoned aft, and called upon to decide as to the measures they considered to be most advisable. They preferred weighing the anchor and running into the bay, where they would be able to defend the schooner, in their opinion, much better than by remaining where they were.

The crew of the pirate-schooner weighed the anchor and continued their precarious course: the breeze had freshened, and the water was in strong ripples, so that they could no longer see the danger beneath her bottom. In the meantime, the sloop of war and Enterprise continued to turn to windward outside the reef.

By noon the wind had considerably increased, and the breakers now turned and broke in wild foam over the coral reefs, in every direction. The sail was still more reduced on board the Avenger, and her difficulties increased from the rapidity of her motion.

A storm-jib was set, and the others hauled down yet even under this small sail she flew before the wind.

Cain stood at the bowsprit, giving his directions to the helmsman. More than once they had grazed the rocks and were clear again. Spars were towed astern, and every means resorted to, to check her way. They had no guide but the breaking of the wild water on each side of them.

“Why should not Hawkhurst, who knows the passage so well, be made to pilot us?” said the boatswain to those who were near him on the forecastle.

“To be sure! let’s have him up!” cried several of the crew; and some of them went down below.

In a minute they reappeared with Hawkhurst, whom they led forward. He did not make any resistance, and the crew demanded that he should pilot the vessel.

“And suppose I will not?” said Hawkhurst, coolly.

“Then you lose your passage, that’s all,” replied the boatswain. “Is it not so, my lads?” continued he, appealing to the crew.

“Yes; either take us safe in, or—overboard,” replied several.

“I do not mind that threat, my lads,” replied Hawkhurst; “you have all known me as a good man and true, and it’s not likely that I shall desert you now. Well, since your captain there cannot save you, I suppose I must; but,” exclaimed he, looking about him, “how’s this? We are out of the passage already. Yes—and whether we can get into it again I cannot tell.”

“We are not out of the passage,” said Cain; “you know we are not.”

“Well, then, if the captain knows better than I, he had better take you through,” rejoined Hawkhurst.

But the crew thought differently, and insisted that Hawkhurst, who well knew the channel, should take charge. Cain retired aft, as Hawkhurst went out on the bowsprit.

“I will do my best, my lads,” said Hawkhurst “but recollect, if we strike in trying to get into the right channel, do not blame me. Starboard a little—starboard yet—steady, so—there’s the true passage my lads,” cried he, pointing to some smoother water between the breakers; “port a little—steady.”

But Hawkhurst, who knew that he was to be put on shore as soon as convenient, had resolved to lose the schooner, even if his own life were forfeited, and he was now running her out of the passage on the rocks. A minute after he had conned her, she struck heavily again and again. The third time she struck, she came broadside to the wind and heeled over: a sharp coral rock found its way through her slight timbers and planking, and the water poured in rapidly.

During this there was a dead silence on the part of the marauders.

“My lads,” said Hawkhurst, “I have done my best, and now you may throw me overboard if you please. It was not my fault, but his,” continued he, pointing to the captain.

“It is of little consequence whose fault it was, Mr Hawkhurst,” replied Cain; “we will settle that point by-and-by; at present we have too much on our hands. Out boats, men! as fast as you can, and let every man provide himself with arms and ammunition. Be cool! the schooner is fixed hard enough, and will not go down; we shall save everything by-and-by.”

The pirates obeyed the orders of the captain. The three boats were hoisted out and lowered down. In the first were placed all the wounded men and Clara d’Alfarez, who was assisted up by Francisco. As soon as the men had provided themselves with arms, Francisco, to protect Clara, offered to take charge of her, and the boat shoved off.

The men-of-war had seen the Avenger strike on the rocks, and the preparations of the crew to take to their boats. They immediately hove to, hoisted out and manned their own boats, with the hopes of cutting them off before they could gain the island and prepare for a vigorous defence; for, although the vessels could not approach the reefs, there was sufficient water in many places for the boats to pass over them. Shortly after Francisco, in the first boat, had shoved off from the Avenger, the boats of the men-of-war were darting through the surf to intercept them. The pirates perceived this, and hastened their arrangements; a second boat soon left her, and into that Hawkhurst leaped as it was shoving off. Cain remained on board, going round the lower decks to ascertain if any of the wounded men were left; he then quitted the schooner in the last boat and followed the others, being about a quarter of a mile astern of the second, in which Hawkhurst had secured his place.

At the time that Cain quitted the schooner, it was difficult to say whether the men-of-war’s boats would succeed in intercepting any of the pirate’s boats. Both parties exerted themselves to their utmost; and when the first boat, with Francisco and Clara, landed, the headmost of the assailants was not much more than half a mile from them; but, shallow water intervening, there was a delay, which was favourable to the pirate. Hawkhurst landed in his boat as the launch of the Comus fired her eighteen-pound carronade. The last boat was yet two hundred yards from the beach, when another shot from the Comus’s launch, which had been unable hitherto to find a passage through the reef, struck her on the counter, and she filled and went down.

“He is gone!” exclaimed Francisco, who had led Clara to a cave, and stood at the mouth of it to protect her: “they have sunk his boat—no, he is swimming to the shore, and will be here soon, long before the English seamen can land.”

This was true. Cain was breasting the water manfully, making for a small cove nearer to where the boat was sunk than the one in which Francisco had landed with Clara and the wounded men, and divided from the other by a ridge of rocks which separated the sandy beach, and extended some way into the water before they were submerged. Francisco could easily distinguish the pirate-captain from the other men, who also were swimming for the beach; for Cain was far ahead of them, and as he gained nearer to the shore he was shut from Francisco’s sight by the ridge of rocks. Francisco, anxious for his safety, climbed up the rocks and was watching. Cain was within a few yards of the beach when there was the report of a musket; the pirate-captain was seen to raise his body convulsively half out of the water—he floundered—the clear blue wave was discoloured—he sank, and was seen no more.

Francisco darted forward from the rocks, and perceived Hawkhurst, standing beneath them with the musket in his hand, which he was recharging.

“Villain!” exclaimed Francisco, “you shall account for this.”

Hawkhurst had reprimed his musket and shut the pan.

“Not to you,” replied Hawkhurst, levelling his piece, and taking aim at Francisco.

The ball struck Francisco on the breast; he reeled back from his position, staggered across the sand, gained the cave, and fell at the feet of Clara.

“Oh, God!” exclaimed the poor girl, “are you hurt? who is there then, to protect me?”

“I hardly know,” replied Francisco, faintly; and, at intervals, “I feel no wound, I feel stronger;” and Francisco put his hand to his heart.

Clara opened his vest, and found that the packet given to Francisco by Cain, and which he had deposited in his breast, had been struck by the bullet, which had done him no injury further than the violent concussion of the blow—notwithstanding he was faint from the shock, and his head fell upon Clara’s bosom.

But we must relate the proceedings of those who were mixed up in this exciting scene. Edward Templemore had watched from his vessel, with an eager and painful curiosity, the motions of the schooner—her running on the rocks, and the subsequent actions of the intrepid marauders. The long telescope enabled him to perceive distinctly all that passed, and his feelings were increased into a paroxysm of agony when his straining eyes beheld the white and fluttering habiliments of a female for a moment at the gunwale of the stranded vessel—her descent, as it appeared to him, nothing loth, into the boat—the arms held out to receive, and the extension of hers to meet those offered. Could it be Clara? Where was the reluctance, the unavailing attempts at resistance, which should have characterised her situation? Excited by feelings which he dared not analyse, he threw down his glass, and seizing his sword, sprang into the boat, which was ready manned alongside, desiring the others to follow him. For once, and the only time in his existence when approaching the enemy, did he feel his heart sink within him—a cold tremor ran through his whole frame, and as he called to mind the loose morals and desperate habits of the pirates, horrible thoughts entered his imagination. As he neared the shore, he stood up in the stern-sheets of the boat, pale, haggard, and with trembling lips; and the intensity of his feelings would have been intolerable but for a more violent thirst for revenge. He clenched his sword, while the quick throbs of his heart seemed, at every pulsation, to repeat to him his thoughts of blood! blood! blood! He approached the small bay and perceived that there was a female at the mouth of the cave—nearer and nearer, and he was certain that it was his Clara—her name was on his lips when he heard the two shots fired one after another by Hawkhurst—he saw the retreat and fall of Francisco—when, madness to behold! he perceived Clara rush forward, and there lay the young man supported by her, and with his head on her bosom. Could he believe what he saw! could she really be his betrothed! Yes, there she was, supporting the handsome figure of a young man, and that man a pirate—she had even put her hand into his vest, and was now watching over his reviving form. Edward could bear no more: he covered his eyes, and now, maddened with jealousy, in a voice of thunder, he called out:

“Give way, my lads! for your lives, give way!”

The gig was within half-a-dozen strokes of the oar from the beach, and Clara, unconscious of wrong, had just taken the packet of papers from Francisco’s vest, when Hawkhurst made his appearance from behind the rocks which separated the two little sandy coves. Francisco had recovered his breath, and, perceiving the approach of Hawkhurst, he sprang upon his feet to recover his musket; but, before he could succeed, Hawkhurst had closed in with him, and a short and dreadful struggle ensued. It would soon have terminated fatally to Francisco, for the superior strength of Hawkhurst had enabled him to bear down the body of his opponent with his knee; and he was fast strangling him by twisting his handkerchief round his throat, while Clara shrieked, and attempted in vain to tear the pirate from him. As the prostrate Francisco was fast blackening into a corse, and the maiden screamed for pity, and became frantic in her efforts for his rescue, the boat dashed high up on the sand; and, with the bound of a maddened tiger, Edward sprang upon Hawkhurst, tearing him down on his back, and severing his wrist with his sword-blade until his hold of Francisco was relaxed, and he wrestled in his own defence.

“Seize him, my lads!” said Edward, pointing with his left hand to Hawkhurst; as with his sword directed to the body of Francisco he bitterly continued, “This victim is mine!” But whatever were his intentions, they were frustrated by Clara’s recognition, who shrieked out, “My Edward!” sprang into his arms, and was immediately in a state of insensibility.

The seamen who had secured Hawkhurst looked upon the scene with curious astonishment, while Edward waited with mingled feelings of impatience and doubt for Clara’s recovery: he wished to be assured by her that he was mistaken, and he turned again and again from her face to that of Francisco, who was fast recovering. During this painful suspense, Hawkhurst was bound and made to sit down.

“Edward! dear Edward!” said Clara, at last, in a faint voice, clinging more closely to him; “and am I then rescued by thee, dearest!”

Edward felt the appeal; but his jealousy had not yet subsided.

“Who is that, Clara?” said he sternly.

“It is Francisco. No pirate, Edward, but my preserver.”

“Ha, ha!” laughed Hawkhurst, with a bitter sneer, for he perceived how matters stood.

Edward Templemore turned towards him with an inquiring look.

“Ha, ha!” continued Hawkhurst; “why, he is the captain’s son! No pirate, eh? Well, what will women not swear to, to save those they dote upon!”

“If the captain’s son,” said Edward, “why were you contending?”

“Because just now I shot his scoundrel father.”

“Edward!” said Clara, solemnly, “this is no time for explanation, but, as I hope for mercy, what I have said is true; believe not the villain.”

“Yes,” said Francisco, who was now sitting up, “believe him when he says that he shot the captain, for that is true; but, sir, if you value your own peace of mind, believe nothing to the prejudice of that young lady.”

“I hardly know what to believe,” muttered Edward Templemore; “but, as the lady says, this is no time for explanation. With your permission, madam,” said he to Clara, “my coxswain will see you in safety on board of the schooner, or the other vessel, if you prefer it; my duty will not allow me to accompany you.”

Clara darted a reproachful yet fond look on Edward, as, with swimming eyes, she was led by the coxswain to the boat, which had been joined by the launch of the Comus, the crew of which were, with their officers, wading to the beach. The men of the gig remained until they had given Hawkhurst and Francisco in charge of the other seamen, and then shoved off with Clara for the schooner. Edward Templemore gave one look at the gig as it conveyed Clara on board, and ordering Hawkhurst and Francisco to be taken to the launch, and a guard to be kept over them, went up, with the remainder of the men, in pursuit of the pirates.

During the scene we have described, the other boats of the men-of-war had landed on the island, and the Avenger’s crew, deprived of their leaders, and scattered in every direction, were many of them slain or captured. In about two hours it was supposed that the majority of the pirates had been accounted for, and the prisoners being now very numerous, it was decided that the boats should return with them to the Comus, the captain of which vessel, as commanding officer, would then issue orders as to their future proceedings.

The captured pirates, when mustered on the deck of the Comus, amounted to nearly sixty, out of which number one-half were those who had been sent on shore wounded, and had surrendered without resistance. Of killed there were fifteen; and it was conjectured that as many more had been drowned in the boat when she was sunk by the shot from the carronade of the launch. Although, by the account given by the captured pirates, the majority were secured, yet there was reason to suppose that some were still left on the island concealed in the caves.

As the captain of the Comus had orders to return as soon as possible, he decided to sail immediately for Port Royal with the prisoners, leaving the Enterprise to secure the remainder, if there were any, and recover anything of value which might be left in the wreck of the Avenger, and then to destroy her.

With the usual celerity of the service these orders were obeyed. The pirates, among whom Francisco was included, were secured, the boats hoisted up, and in half an hour the Comus displayed her ensign, and made all sail on a wind, leaving Edward Templemore with the Enterprise, at the back of the reef, to perform the duties entailed upon him; and Clara, who was on board of the schooner, to remove the suspicion and jealousy which had arisen in the bosom of her lover.

Chapter Seventeen.

The Trial.

In a week, the Comus arrived at Port Royal, and the captain went up to the Penn to inform the admiral of the successful result of the expedition.

“Thank God,” said the admiral, “we have caught these villains at last! A little hanging will do them no harm. The captain, you say, was drowned?”

“So it is reported, sir,” replied Captain Manly; “he was in the last boat which left the schooner, and she was sunk by a shot from the launch.”

“I am sorry for that; the death was too good for him. However, we must make an example of the rest; they must be tried by the Admiralty Court, which has the jurisdiction of the high seas. Send them on shore, Manly, and we wash our hands of them.”

“Very good, sir: but there are still some left on the island, we have reason to believe; and the Enterprise is in search of them.”

“By-the-by, did Templemore find his lady?”

“Oh yes, sir; and—all’s right, I believe: but I had very little to say to him on the subject.”

“Humph!” replied the admiral. “I am glad to hear it. Well, send them on shore, Manly, to the proper authorities. If any more be found, they must be hung afterwards when Templemore brings them in. I am more pleased at having secured these scoundrels than if we had taken a French frigate.”

About three weeks after this conversation, the secretary reported to the admiral that the Enterprise had made her number outside; but that she was becalmed, and would not probably be in until the evening.

“That’s a pity,” replied the admiral; “for the pirates are to be tried this morning. He may have more of them on board.”

“Very true, sir; but the trial will hardly be over to-day: the judge will not be in court till one o’clock at the soonest.”

“It’s of little consequence, certainly; as it is, there are so many that they must be hanged by divisions. However, as he is within signal distance, let them telegraph ‘Pirates now on trial.’ He can pull on shore in his gig, if he pleases.”

It was about noon on the same day that the pirates, and among them Francisco, escorted by a strong guard, were conducted to the Court House, and placed at the bar. The Court House was crowded to excess, for the interest excited was intense.

Many of them who had been wounded in the attack upon the property of Don Cumanos, and afterwards captured, had died in their confinement. Still forty-five were placed at the bar; and their picturesque costume, their bearded faces, and the atrocities which they had committed, created in those present a sensation of anxiety mingled with horror and indignation.

Two of the youngest amongst them had been permitted to turn king’s evidence. They had been on board of the Avenger but a few months; still their testimony as to the murder of the crews of three West India ships, and the attack upon the property of Don Cumanos, was quite sufficient to condemn the remainder.

Much time was necessarily expended in going through the forms of the court; in the pirates answering to their various names; and, lastly, in taking down the detailed evidence of the above men. It was late when the evidence was read over to the pirates, and they were asked if they had anything to offer in their defence. The question was repeated by the judge; when Hawkhurst was the first to speak. To save himself he could scarcely hope; his only object was to prevent Francisco pleading his cause successfully, and escaping the same disgraceful death.

Hawkhurst declared that he had been some time on board the Avenger, but that he had been taken out of a vessel and forced to serve against his will, as could be proved by the captain’s son, who stood there (pointing to Francisco), who had been in the schooner since her first fitting out:—that he had always opposed the captain, who would not part with him, because he was the only one on board who was competent to navigate the schooner: that he had intended to rise against him, and take the vessel, having often stimulated the crew so to do; and that, as the other men, as well as the captain’s son, could prove, if they chose, he actually was in confinement for that attempt when the schooner was entering the passage to the Caicos; and that he was only released because he was acquainted with the passage, and threatened to be thrown overboard if he did not take her in; that, at every risk, he had run her on the rocks; and aware that the captain would murder him, he had shot Cain as he was swimming to the shore, as the captain’s son could prove; for he had taxed him with it, and he was actually struggling with him for life, when the officers and boat’s crew separated them, and made them both prisoners: that he hardly expected that Francisco, the captain’s son, would tell the truth to save him, as he was his bitter enemy, and in the business at the Magdalen river, which had been long planned (for Francisco had been sent on shore under the pretence of being wrecked, but, in fact, to ascertain where the booty was, and to assist the pirates in their attack), Francisco had taken the opportunity of putting a bullet through his shoulder, which was well known to the other pirates, and Francisco could not venture to deny. He trusted that the court would order the torture to Francisco, and then he would probably speak the truth; at all events, let him speak now.

When Hawkhurst had ceased to address the court, there was an anxious pause for some minutes. The day was fast declining, and most parts of the spacious Court House were already deeply immersed in gloom; while the light, sober, solemn, and almost sad, gleamed upon the savage and reckless countenances of the prisoners at the bar. The sun had sunk down behind a mass of heavy yet gorgeous clouds, fringing their edges with molten gold. Hawkhurst had spoken fluently and energetically, and there was an appearance of almost honesty in his coarse and deep-toned voice. Even the occasional oaths with which his speech was garnished, but which we have omitted, seemed to be pronounced more in sincerity than in blasphemy, and gave a more forcible impression to his narrative.

We have said, that when he concluded there was a profound silence; and amid the fast-falling shadows of the evening, those who were present began to feel, for the first time, the awful importance of the drama before them, the number of lives which were trembling upon the verge of existence, depending upon the single word of “Guilty.” This painful silence, this harrowing suspense, was at last broken by a restrained sob from a female; but owing to the obscurity involving the body of the court, her person could not be distinguished. The wail of a woman so unexpected—for who could there be of that sex interested in the fate of these desperate men?—touched the heart of its auditors, and appeared to sow the first seeds of compassionate and humane feeling among those who had hitherto expressed and felt nothing but indignation towards the prisoners.

The judge upon the bench, the counsel at the bar, and the jury impannelled in their box, felt the force of the appeal; and it softened down the evil impression created by the address of Hawkhurst against the youthful Francisco. The eyes of all were now directed towards the one doubly accused—accused not only by the public prosecutor, but even by his associate in crime,—and the survey was favourable. They acknowledged that he was one whose personal qualities might indeed challenge the love of woman in his pride, and her lament in his disgrace; and as their regard was directed towards him, the sun, which had been obscured, now pierced through a break in the mass of clouds, and threw a portion of his glorious beams from a window opposite upon him, and him alone, while all the other prisoners who surrounded him were buried more or less in deep shadow. It was at once evident that his associates were bold yet commonplace villains—men who owed their courage, their only virtue perhaps, to their habits, to their physical organisation, or the influence of those around them. They were mere human butchers, with the only adjunct that, now that the trade was to be exercised upon themselves, they could bear it with sullen apathy—a feeling how far removed from true fortitude! Even Hawkhurst, though more commanding than the rest, with all his daring mien and scowl of defiance, looked nothing more than a distinguished ruffian. With the exception of Francisco, the prisoners had wholly neglected their personal appearance; and in them the squalid and sordid look of the mendicant seemed allied with the ferocity of the murderer.

Francisco was not only an exception, but formed a beautiful contrast to the others; and as the evening beams lighted up his figure, he stood at the bar, if not with all the splendour of a hero of romance, certainly a most picturesque and interesting personage, elegantly if not richly attired.

The low sobs at intervals repeated, as if impossible to be checked, seemed to rouse and call him to a sense of the important part which he was called upon to act in the tragedy there and then performing. His face was pale, yet composed; his mien at once proud and sorrowful: his eye was bright, yet his glance was not upon those in court, but far away, fixed, like an eagle’s, upon the gorgeous beams of the setting sun, which glowed upon him through the window that was in front of him.

At last the voice of Francisco was heard, and all in that wide court started at the sound—deep, full, and melodious as the evening chimes. The ears of those present had, in the profound silence, but just recovered from the harsh, deep-toned, and barbarous idiom of Hawkhurst’s address, when the clear, silvery, yet manly voice of Francisco, riveted their attention. The jury stretched forth their heads, the counsel and all in court turned anxiously round towards the prisoner, even the judge held up his forefinger to intimate his wish for perfect silence.

“My lord and gentlemen,” commenced Francisco, “when I first found myself in this degrading situation, I had not thought to have spoken or to have uttered one word in my defence. He that has just now accused me has recommended the torture to be applied; he has already had his wish, for what torture can be more agonising than to find myself where I now am? So tortured, indeed, have I been through a short yet wretched life, that I have often felt that anything short of self-destruction which would release me would be a blessing; but within these few minutes I have been made to acknowledge that I have still feelings in unison with my fellow-creatures; that I am not yet fit for death, and all too young, too unprepared to die: for who would not reluctantly leave this world while there is such a beauteous sky to love and look upon, or while there is one female breast who holds him innocent, and has evinced her pity for his misfortunes? Yes, my lord! mercy, and pity, and compassion, have not yet fled from earth; and therefore do I feel I am too young to die. God forgive me! but I thought they had—for never have they been shown in those with whom by fate I have been connected; and it has been from this conviction that I have so often longed for death. And now may that righteous God who judges us not here, but hereafter, enable me to prove that I do not deserve an ignominious punishment from my fellow-sinners—men!

“My lord, I know not the subtleties of the laws, nor the intricacy of pleadings. First, let me assert that I have never robbed; but I have restored unto the plundered: I have never murdered; but I have stood between the assassin’s knife and his victim. For this have I been hated and reviled by my associates, and for this, is my life now threatened by those laws against which I never had offended. The man who last addressed you has told you that I am the pirate-captain’s son; it is the assertion of the only irreclaimable and utterly remorseless villain among those who now stand before you to be judged—the assertion of one whose glory, whose joy, whose solace has been blood-shedding.

“My lord, I had it from the mouth of the captain himself, previous to his murder by that man, that I was not his son. His son! thank God, not so. Connected with him and in his power I was, most certainly and most incomprehensibly. Before he died, he delivered me a packet that would have told me who I am; but I have lost it, and deeply have I felt the loss. One only fact I gained from him whom they would call my father, which is, that with his own hand he slew—yes, basely slew—my mother.”

The address of Francisco was here interrupted by a low deep groan of anguish, which startled the whole audience. It was now quite dark, and the judge ordered the court to be lighted previous to the defence being continued. The impatience and anxiety of those present were shown in low murmurs of communication until the lights were brought in. The word “Silence!” from the judge produced an immediate obedience, and the prisoner was ordered to proceed.

Francisco then continued his address, commencing with the remembrances of his earliest childhood. As he warmed with his subject, he became more eloquent; his action became energetical without violence; and the pallid and modest youth gradually grew into the impassioned and inspired orator. He recapitulated rapidly, yet distinctly and with terrible force, all the startling events in his fearful life. There was truth in the tones of his voice, there was conviction in his animated countenance, there was innocence in his open and expressive brow.

All who heard believed; and scarcely had he concluded his address, when the jury appeared impatient to rise and give their verdict in his favour. But the judge stood up, and, addressing the jury, told them that it was his most painful duty to remind them that as yet they had heard but assertion, beautiful and almost convincing assertion truly; but still it was not proof.

“Alas!” observed Francisco, “what evidence can I bring forward, except the evidence of those around me at the bar, which will not be admitted? Can I recall the dead from the grave? Can I expect those who have been murdered to rise again to assert my innocence? Can I expect that Don Cumanos will appear from distant leagues to give evidence on my behalf? Alas he knows not how I am situated, or he would have flown to my succour. No, no; not even can I expect that the sweet Spanish maiden, the last to whom I offered my protection, will appear in such a place as this to meet the bold gaze of hundreds!”

“She is here!” replied a manly voice; and a passage was made through the crowd; and Clara, supported by Edward Templemore, dressed in his uniform, was ushered into the box for the witnesses. The appearance of the fair girl, who looked round her with alarm, created a great sensation. As soon as she was sufficiently composed, she was sworn, and gave her evidence as to Francisco’s behaviour during the time that she was a prisoner on board of the Avenger. She produced the packet which had saved the life of Francisco, and substantiated a great part of his defence. She extolled his kindness and his generosity; and when she had concluded, every one asked of himself, “Can this young man be a pirate and a murderer?” The reply was, “It is impossible.”

“My lord,” said Edward Templemore, “I request permission to ask the prisoner a question. When I was on board of the wreck of the Avenger, I found this book floating in the cabin. I wish to ask the prisoner, whether, as that young lady has informed me, it is his?” And Edward Templemore produced the Bible.

“It is mine,” replied Francisco.

“May I ask you by what means it came into your possession?”

“It is the only relic left of one who is now no more. It was the consolation of my murdered mother; it has since been mine. Give it to me, sir; I may probably need its support now more than ever.”

“Was your mother murdered, say you?” cried Edward Templemore, with much agitation.

“I have already said so; and I now repeat it.”

The judge again rose, and recapitulated the evidence to the jury. Evidently friendly to Francisco he was obliged to point out to them, that although the evidence of the young lady had produced much which might be offered in extenuation, and induce him to submit it to His Majesty, in hopes of his gracious pardon after condemnation, yet, that many acts in which the prisoner had been involved had endangered his life and no testimony had been brought forward to prove that he had not, at one time, acted with the pirates, although he might since have repented. They would of course, remember that the evidence of the mate, Hawkhurst, was not of any value, and must dismiss any impression which it might have made against Francisco. At the same time he had the unpleasant duty to point out, that the evidence of the Spanish lady was so far prejudicial, that it pointed out the good terms subsisting between the young man and the pirate-captain. Much as he was interested in his fate, he must reluctantly remind the jury, that the evidence on the whole was not sufficient to clear the prisoner; and he considered it their duty to return a verdict of guilty against all the prisoners at the bar.

“My lord,” said Edward Templemore, a few seconds after the judge had resumed his seat; “may not the contents of this packet, the seal of which I have not ventured to break, afford some evidence in favour of the prisoner? Have you any objection that it should be opened previous to the jury delivering their verdict?”

“None,” replied the judge: “but what are its supposed contents?”

“The contents, my lord,” replied Francisco, “are in the writing of the pirate-captain. He delivered that packet into my hands previous to our quitting the schooner, stating that it would inform me who were my parents. My lord, in my present situation I claim that packet, and refuse that its contents should be read in court. If I am to die an ignominious death, at least those who are connected with me shall not have to blush at my disgrace, for the secret of my parentage shall die with me.”

“Nay—nay; be ruled by me,” replied Edward Templemore, with much emotion. “In the narrative, the handwriting of which can be proved by the king’s evidence, there may be acknowledgment of all you have stated, and it will be received as evidence; will it not, my lord?”

“If the handwriting is proved, I should think it may,” replied the judge, “particularly as the lady was present when the packet was delivered, and heard the captain’s assertion. Will you allow it to be offered as evidence, young man?”

“No, my lord,” replied Francisco; “unless I have permission first to peruse it myself. I will not have its contents divulged, unless I am sure of an honourable acquittal. The jury must deliver their verdict.”

The jury turned round to consult, during which Edward Templemore walked to Francisco, accompanied by Clara, to entreat him to allow the packet to be opened; but Francisco was firm against both their entreaties. At last the foreman of the jury rose to deliver the verdict. A solemn and awful silence prevailed throughout the court; the suspense was painful to a degree.

“My lord,” said the foreman of the jury, “our verdict is—”

“Stop, sir!” said Edward Templemore as he clasped one arm round the astonished Francisco, and extended the other towards the foreman. “Stop, sir! harm him not! for he is my brother!”

“And my preserver!” cried Clara, kneeling on the other side of Francisco, and holding up her hands in supplication.

The announcement was electrical; the foreman dropped into his seat; the judge and whole court were in mute astonishment. The dead silence was followed by confusion, to which, after a time, the judge in vain attempted to put a stop.

Edward Templemore, Clara, and Francisco, continued to form the same group; and never was there one more beautiful. And now that they were together, every one in court perceived the strong resemblance between the two young men.

Francisco’s complexion was darker than Edward’s from his constant exposure, from infancy, to a tropical sun; but the features of the two were the same.

It was some time before the judge could obtain silence in the court; and when it had been obtained, he was himself puzzled how to proceed.

Edward and Francisco, who had exchanged a few words, were now standing side by side.

“My lord,” said Edward Templemore, “the prisoner consents that the packet shall be opened.”

“I do,” said Francisco, mournfully; “although I have but little hope from its contents. Alas! now that I have everything to live for—not that I cling to life, I feel as if every chance was gone! The days of miracles have passed; and nothing but the miracle of the reappearance of the pirate-captain from the grave can prove my innocence.”

“He reappears from the grave to prove thine innocence, Francisco!” said a deep, hollow voice, which startled the whole court, and most of all Hawkhurst and the prisoners at the bar. Still more did fear and horror distort their countenances when into the witness-box stalked the giant form of Cain.

But it was no longer the figure which we have described in the commencement of this narrative; his beard had been removed, and he was pale, wan, and emaciated. His sunken eyes, his hollow cheek, and a short cough, which interrupted his speech, proved that his days were nearly at a close.

“My lord,” said Cain, addressing the judge, “I am the pirate Cain, and was the captain of the Avenger! Still am I free! I come here voluntarily, that I may attest the innocence of that young man! As yet, my hand has not known the manacle, nor my feet the gyves! I am not a prisoner, nor included in the indictment, and at present my evidence is good. None know me in this court, except those whose testimony, as prisoners, is unavailing; and therefore, to save that boy, and only to save him, I demand that I may be sworn.”

The oath was administered, with more than usual solemnity.

“My lord, and gentlemen of the jury, I have been in court since the commencement of the trial, and I declare that every word which Francisco has uttered in his own defence is true. He is totally innocent of any act of piracy or murder; the packet would, indeed, have proved as much: but in that packet there are secrets which I wished to remain unknown to all but Francisco; and, rather than it should be opened, I have come forward myself. How that young officer discovered that Francisco is his brother I know not; but if he also is the son of Cecilia Templemore, it is true. But the packet will explain all.

“And now, my lords, that my evidence is received, I am content: I have done one good deed before I die, and I surrender myself, as a pirate and a foul murderer, to justice. True, my life is nearly closed—thanks to that villain there; but I prefer that I should meet that death I merit, as an expiation of my many deeds of guilt.”

Cain then turned to Hawkhurst, who was close to him, but the mate appeared to be in a state of stupor; he had not recovered from his first terror, and still imagined the appearance of Cain to be supernatural.

“Villain!” exclaimed Cain, putting his mouth close to Hawkhurst’s ear; “doubly damned villain! thou’lt die like a dog, and unrevenged! The boy is safe, and I’m alive!”

“Art thou really living?” said Hawkhurst, recovering from his fear.

“Yes, living—yes, flesh and blood; feel, wretch! feel this arm, and be convinced: thou hast felt the power of it before now,” continued Cain, sarcastically. “And now, my lord, I have done. Francisco, fare thee well! I loved thee, and have proved my love. Hate not, then, my memory, and forgive me—yes, forgive me when I’m no more,” said Cain, who then turned his eyes to the ceiling of the court-house.—“Yes, there she is, Francisco!—there she is! and see,” cried he, extending both arms above his head, “she smiles upon—yes, Francisco, your sainted mother smiles and pardons—”

The sentence was not finished; for Hawkhurst, when Cain’s arms were upheld, perceived his knife in his girdle, and, with the rapidity of thought, he drew it out, and passed it through the body of the pirate-captain.

Cain fell heavily on the floor while the court was again in confusion. Hawkhurst was secured, and Cain raised from the ground.

“I thank thee, Hawkhurst!” said Cain, in an expiring voice; “another murder thou hast to answer for: and you have saved me from the disgrace, not of the gallows, but of the gallows in thy company. Francisco, boy, farewell!” and Cain groaned deeply, and expired.

Thus perished the renowned pirate-captain, who in his life had shed so much blood, and whose death produced another murder. “Blood for blood!”

The body was removed; and it now remained but for the jury to give their verdict. All the prisoners were found guilty, with the exception of Francisco, who left the dock accompanied by his newly-found brother, and the congratulations of every individual who could gain access to him.

Chapter Eighteen.


Our first object will be to explain to the reader by what means Edward Templemore was induced to surmise that in Francisco, whom he considered as a rival, he had found a brother; and also to account for the reappearance of the pirate Cain.

In pursuance of his orders, Edward Templemore had proceeded on board of the wreck of the Avenger; and while his men were employed in collecting articles of great value which were on board of her, he had descended into the cabin, which was partly under water. He had picked up a book floating near the lockers, and on examination found it to be a Bible.

Surprised at seeing such a book on board of a pirate, he had taken it with him when he returned to the Enterprise, and had shown it to Clara, who immediately recognised it as the property of Francisco. The book was saturated with the salt water, and as Edward mechanically turned over the pages, he referred to the title-page to see if there was any name upon it. There was not: but he observed that the blank or fly-leaf next to the binding had been pasted down, and that there was writing on the other side. In its present state it was easily detached from the cover; and then, to his astonishment, he read the name of Cecilia Templemore—his own mother. He knew well the history; how he had been saved, and his mother and brother supposed to be lost; and it may readily be imagined how great was his anxiety to ascertain by what means her Bible had come into the possession of Francisco. He dared not think Francisco was his brother—that he was so closely connected with one he still supposed to be a pirate: but the circumstance was possible; and although he had intended to have remained a few days longer, he now listened to the entreaties of Clara, whose peculiar position on board was only to be justified by the peculiar position from which she had been rescued, and returning that evening to the wreck he set fire to her, and then made all sail for Port Royal.

Fortunately he arrived, as we have stated, on the day of the trial; and as soon as the signal was made by the admiral he immediately manned his gig, and, taking Clara with him, in case her evidence might be of use, arrived at the Court House when the trial was about half over.

In our last chapter but one, we stated that Cain had been wounded by Hawkhurst, when he was swimming on shore, and had sunk; the ball had entered his chest, and passed through his lungs. The contest between Hawkhurst and Francisco, and their capture by Edward, had taken place on the other side of the ridge of rocks in the adjacent cove, and although Francisco had seen Cain disappear, and concluded that he was dead, it was not so; he had again risen above the water, and dropping his feet and finding bottom, he contrived to crawl out, and wade into a cave adjacent, where he lay down to die.

But in this cave there was one of the Avenger’s boats, two of the pirates mortally wounded, and the four Kroumen, who had concealed themselves there with the intention of taking no part in the conflict, and, as soon as it became dark, of making their escape in the boat, which they had hauled up dry into the cave.

Cain staggered in, recovered the dry land; and fell. Pompey, the Krouman, perceiving his condition, went to his assistance and bound up his wound, and the stanching of the blood soon revived the pirate-captain. The other pirates died unaided.

Although the island was searched in every direction, this cave, from the water flowing into it, escaped the vigilance of the British seamen; and when they re-embarked, with the majority of the pirates captured, Cain and the Kroumen were undiscovered.

As soon as it was dark, Cain informed them of his intentions; and although the Kroumen would probably have left him to his fate, yet, as they required his services to know how to steer to some other island, he was assisted into the stern-sheets, and the boat was backed out of the cave.

By the direction of Cain they passed through the passage between the great island and the northern Caique, and before daylight were far away from any chance of capture.

Cain had now to a certain degree recovered, and knowing that they were in the channel of the small traders, he pointed out to the Kroumen that, if supposed to be pirates, they would inevitably be punished, although not guilty, and that they must pass off as the crew of a small coasting-vessel which had been wrecked. He then, with the assistance of Pompey, cut off his beard as close as he could, and arranged his dress in a more European style. They had neither water nor provisions, and were exposed to a vertical sun. Fortunately for them, and still more fortunately for Francisco, on the second day they were picked up by an American brig bound to Antigua.

Cain narrated his fictitious disasters, but said nothing about his wound, the neglect of which would certainly have occasioned his death a very few days after he appeared at the trial, had he not fallen by the malignity of Hawkhurst.

Anxious to find his way to Port Royal, for he was indifferent as to his own life, and only wished to save Francisco, he was overjoyed to meet a small schooner trading between the islands, bound to Port Royal. In that vessel he obtained a passage for himself and the Kroumen, and had arrived three days previous to the trial, and during that time had remained concealed until the day that the Admiralty Court assembled.

It may be as well here to remark, that Cain’s reason for not wishing the packet to be opened was, that among the other papers relative to Francisco were directions for the recovery of the treasure which he had concealed, and which, of course, he wished to be communicated to Francisco alone.

We will leave the reader to imagine what passed between Francisco and Edward after the discovery of their kindred, and proceed to state the contents of the packet, which the twin-brothers now opened in the presence of Clara alone.

We must, however, condense the matter, which was very voluminous. It stated that Cain, whose real name was Charles Osborne, had sailed in a fine schooner from Bilboa, for the coast of Africa, to procure a cargo of slaves; and had been out about twenty-four hours when the crew perceived a boat apparently with no one in her, about a mile ahead of them. The water was then smooth, and the vessel had but little way. As soon as they came up with the boat, they lowered down their skiff to examine her.

The men sent in the skiff soon returned, towing the boat alongside. Lying at the bottom of the boat were found several men almost dead, and reduced to skeletons; and in the stern-sheets a negro woman, with a child at her breast, and a white female in the last state of exhaustion.

Osborne was then a gay and unprincipled man, but not a hardened villain and murderer, as he afterwards became; he had compassion and feeling—they were all taken on board the schooner: some recovered, others were too much exhausted. Among those restored was Cecilia Templemore and the infant, who at first had been considered quite dead; but the negro woman, exhausted by the demands of her nursling and her privations, expired as she was being removed from the boat. A goat, that fortunately was on board, proved a substitute for the negress; and before Osborne had arrived off the coast, the child had recovered its health and vigour, and the mother her extreme beauty.

We must now pass over a considerable portion of the narrative. Osborne was impetuous in his passions, and Cecilia Templemore became his victim. He had, indeed, afterwards quieted her qualms of conscience by a pretended marriage, when he arrived at the Brazils with his cargo of human flesh. But that was little alleviation of her sufferings; she who had been indulged in every luxury, who had been educated with the greatest care, was now lost for ever, an outcast from the society to which she could never hope to return, and associating with those she both dreaded and despised. She passed her days and her nights in tears; and had soon more cause for sorrow from the brutal treatment she received from Osborne, who had been her destroyer. Her child was her only solace; but for him, and the fear of leaving him to the demoralising influence of those about him, she would have laid down and died: but she lived for him—for him attempted to recall Osborne from his career of increasing guilt—bore meekly with reproaches and with blows. At last Osborne changed his nefarious life for one of deeper guilt: he became a pirate, and still carried with him Cecilia and her child.

This was the climax of her misery: she now wasted from day to day, and grief would soon have terminated her existence, had it not been hastened by the cruelty of Cain, who, upon an expostulation on her part, followed up with a denunciation of the consequences of his guilty career, struck her with such violence that she sank under the blow. She expired with a prayer that her child might be rescued from a life of guilt; and when the then repentant Cain promised what he never did perform, she blessed him, too, before she died.

Such was the substance of the narrative, as far as it related to the unfortunate mother of these two young men, who, when they had concluded, sat hand-in-hand in mournful silence. This, however, was soon broken by the innumerable questions asked by Edward of his brother, as to what he could remember of their ill-fated parent, which were followed up by the history of Francisco’s eventful life.

“And the treasure, Edward,” said Francisco; “I cannot take possession of it.”

“No, nor shall you either,” replied Edward; “it belongs to the captors, and must be shared as prize-money. You will never touch one penny of it, but I shall, I trust, pocket a very fair proportion of it! However, keep this paper, as it is addressed to you.”

The admiral had been made acquainted with all the particulars of the eventful trial, and had sent a message to Edward, requesting that, as soon as he and his brother could make it convenient, he would be happy to see them at the Penn, as well as the daughter of the Spanish governor, whom he must consider as being under his protection during the time that she remained at Port Royal. This offer was gladly accepted by Clara; and on the second day after the trial they proceeded up to the Penn. Clara and Francisco were introduced, and apartments and suitable attendance provided for the former.

“Templemore,” said the admiral, “I’m afraid I must send you away to Porto Rico, to assure the governor of his daughter’s safety.”

“I would rather you would send some one else, sir, and I’ll assure her happiness in the meantime.”

“What! by marrying her? Humph! you’ve a good opinion of yourself! Wait till you’re a captain, sir.”

“I hope I shall not have to wait long, sir,” replied Edward, demurely.

“By-the-bye,” said the admiral, “did you not say you have notice of treasure concealed in those islands?”

“My brother has: I have not.”

“We must send for it. I think we must send you, Edward. Mr Francisco, you must go with him.”

“With pleasure, sir,” replied Francisco, laughing; “but I think I’d rather wait till Edward is a captain. His wife and his fortune ought to come together. I think I shall not deliver up my papers until the day of his marriage!”

“Upon my word,” said Captain Manly, “I wish, Templemore, you had your commission, for there seems so much depending on it—the young lady’s happiness, my share of the prize-money, and the admiral’s eighth. Really, admiral, it becomes a common cause; and I’m sure he deserves it!”

“So do I, Manly,” replied the admiral; “and to prove that I have thought so here comes Mr Hadley with it in his hand; it only wants one little thing to complete it—”

“Which is your signature, admiral, I presume,” replied Captain Manly, taking a pen full of ink, and presenting it to his senior officer.

“Exactly,” replied the admiral, scribbling at the bottom of the paper; “and now—it does not want that. Captain Templemore, I wish you joy!”

Edward made a very low obeisance, as his flushed countenance indicated his satisfaction.

“I cannot give commissions, admiral,” said Francisco, presenting a paper in return; “but I can give information—and you will find it not unimportant—for the treasure appears of great value.”

“God bless my soul! Manly, you must start at daylight!” exclaimed the admiral; “why, there is enough to load your sloop! There!—read it!—and then I will write your orders, and enclose a copy of it, for fear of accident.”

“That was to have been my fortune,” said Francisco, with a grave smile; “but I would not touch it.”

“Very right, boy!—a fine principle! But we are not quite so particular,” said the admiral. “Now, where’s the young lady? Let her know that dinner’s on the table.”

A fortnight after this conversation, Captain Manly returned with the treasure; and the Enterprise, commanded by another officer, returned from Porto Rico, with a letter from the governor in reply to one from the admiral, in which the rescue of his daughter by Edward had been communicated. The letter was full of thanks to the admiral, and compliments to Edward; and, what was of more importance, it sanctioned the union of the young officer with his daughter, with a dozen boxes of gold doubloons.

About six weeks after the above-mentioned important conversation, Mr Witherington, who had been reading a voluminous packet of letters in his breakfast-room in Finsbury Square, pulled his bell so violently that old Jonathan thought his master must be out of his senses. This, however, did not induce him to accelerate his solemn and measured pace; and he made his appearance at the door, as usual, without speaking.

“Why don’t that fellow answer the bell?” cried Mr Witherington.

“I am here, sir,” said Jonathan, solemnly.

“Well, so you are! but, confound you! you come like the ghost of a butler!—But who do you think is coming here, Jonathan?”

“I cannot tell, sir.”

“But I can!—you solemn old! Edward’s coming here!—coming home directly?”

“Is he to sleep in his old room, sir?” replied the imperturbable butler.

“No! the best bedroom! Why, Jonathan, he is married—he is made a captain—Captain Templemore!”


“And he has found his brother, Jonathan; his twin-brother!”


“His brother Francis—that was supposed to be lost! But it’s a long story, Jonathan—and a very wonderful one! his poor mother has long been dead!”

“In caelo quies!” said Jonathan, casting up his eyes.

“But his brother has turned up again.”

“Resurgam!” said the butler.

“They will be here in ten days—so let everything be in readiness, Jonathan. God bless my soul!” continued the old gentleman, “I hardly know what I’m about. It’s a Spanish girl, Jonathan!”

“What is, sir?”

“What is, sir!—who, Captain Templemore’s wife; and he was tried as a pirate!”

“Who, sir?”

“Who sir! why, Francis, his brother! Jonathan, you’re a stupid old fellow!”

“Have you any further commands, sir?”

“No—no!—there—that’ll do—go away.”

And in three weeks after this conversation, Captain and Mrs Templemore, and his brother Frank, were established in the house, to the great delight of Mr Witherington; for he had long been tired of solitude and old Jonathan.

The twin-brothers were a comfort to him in his old age: they closed his eyes in peace—they divided his blessing and his large fortune and thus ends our history of The Pirate!

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Pirate, by Frederick Marryat


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