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Title: The Rival Crusoes
       The Ship Wreck also A Voyage to Norway; and The Fisherman's Cottage.

Author: Agnes Strickland

Release Date: January 4, 2011 [EBook #34849]

Language: English

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THE RIVAL CRUSOES;

OR, THE SHIPWRECK.

ALSO

A VOYAGE TO NORWAY;

AND THE FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE.

BY AGNES STRICKLAND,

AUTHOR OF THE "LIVES OF THE QUEENS OF ENGLAND," "TALES AND STORIES FROM HISTORY," ETC.

SIXTH EDITION.

LONDON:
GRANT AND GRIFFITH,

SUCCESSORS TO
J. HARRIS, CORNER OF ST. PAUL'S CHURCHYARD.

MDCCCLI.

LONDON:

STEVENS AND CO., PRINTERS, BELL YARD,

TEMPLE BAR.


CONTENTS

THE RIVAL CRUSOES;
ARTHUR RIDLEY;
THE FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE.


THE RIVAL CRUSOES;

OR, THE DESERT ISLAND.

"George! Harry!—lazy fellows that you are!—Why are you not in attendance?" said Lord Robert Summers in an angry tone, throwing the rein of his pony to his grooms, and rushing up the great staircase with his handkerchief held close to his face.

"What is the matter with our young lord to-day?" said Harry; "he seems in a marvellous ill mood."

"I suppose he has had another brush with Philip Harley to-day: did not you see the blood on his handkerchief?" said the other.

"That Philip is a saucy young rascal," replied Harry; "but he will get himself into a scrape before long. Lord Robert will be even with him, I will answer; for he never takes an offence without returning twenty-fold."

"They never meet now without a battle," returned the groom. "Lord Robert has been so used to domineer over men twice his age, on board ship, that he is more unbearable than any young man of rank I ever served. I wonder who is to put up with all his tempers? If his elder brother, my young lord, were half so hasty with his hands, or so flippant with his tongue, I would leave his service to-morrow: however, he wont be with us long—that's my comfort. It was but the other day I was airing the dogs, and trod, by accident, on his favourite Neptune's toe. The plaguy beast set up a yell. In an instant, I had a cuff of the head from the young tyrant, and was called a careless rascal and scoundrel, while he had breath to heap such epithets on me. I am glad the lad has given him a dressing, and wish it had been twice as much; it might have done him good."

With this wish, George led off the pony. The fact was, Lord Robert had caught Philip Harley trespassing, according to custom, in the Park, and had tried to horsewhip him out of the grounds, but had fairly got the worst of it. Lord Robert, though a stout and courageous youth, was pulled off his horse by the desperate young rustic, and in the fray received several contusions on the face. Philip did not part without some tokens of his enemy's vengeance; but he certainly remained victor in the contest. Lord Robert was glad to regain his pony and make a hasty retreat, much mortified, and in a very evil temper.

When he had reached his apartment, he washed the blood from his face, and composed the swelling of his haughty spirit; and after smoothing his ruffled plumes, he descended into the dining-room and joined the family party. His mother made some inquiry respecting the bruises on his face; but he turned it off with an evasive answer, as the effect of a fall he had met with in the Park. No farther notice was taken, except a slight sarcasm on the proverbial bad horsemanship of sailors.

At the dessert, the Marquis, his father, handed him a letter. "It is from your uncle, Sir Henry. See, Robert, what a charming surprise he has prepared for you! He spoils you, boy! I think you would not be so petulant and imperious, if every wish of that wayward heart were not gratified by his fond affection."

Lord Robert was so eager to read the letter from his beloved uncle, that he scarcely heard this reproof, which, gentle as it was, at any other time would have clouded his handsome brow with frowns.

Captain Sir Henry Stanley wrote to his brother-in-law, that he should sail in the Diomede, from Portsmouth, in less than a month; when he should expect his noble boy, his brave Robert, again to accompany him to victory. "I think it long till we are afloat," continued he; "and so, I dare say, does my dear nephew. However, that the time may not appear so very tedious, I have sent him a little pleasure-brig, the most complete that could be procured: he can sail and manœuvre it on your lake; not that I approve of freshwater sailing, but it is better than dancing after horses and dogs, and such landsmen's amusements."

Lord Robert then heard that this fairy frigate had been safely landed that day at a sea-port town, some little distance from his father's domains. A waggon and team of horses had been despatched to bring it home; and a servant soon afterwards entered to say that it had arrived, and was carefully placed by the side of the lake, ready for launching, which ceremony Lord Robert, full of impatient joy, sprang off to superintend.

It sometimes happens that time and tide will not wait obsequiously even on the children of prosperity. These stubborn powers will sometimes fret and chafe the proud and great, and, frequently, are so unpolite as to ruffle a rose-leaf on their couch of pleasure; but, as if the young lord had suffered mortification enough in the morning, his cup of delight was full in the evening. The pleasure was scarcely promised before it was realized. The gay glittering frigate dashed bravely into the lake: she bounded and danced on the waves, with as much spirit as the youthful noble could wish. The bottle of claret was flung with great effect; and she received her name amidst the applauses of the peasantry of the neighbouring village, who, as a great favour, were permitted to behold this sight at an awful distance.

Lord Robert sank to rest that night, anticipating the charming sail he should take in the morning.

The eyes of the young lord were open before sunrise; but whilst his valet was hastily dressing him, what was his indignation, on casting his eyes towards the lake, to see his fairy frigate, his beautiful Ariel, spreading her white sails to the breeze, and gliding on the lake as gallantly as if her noble master were commanding her? Who could be the person that had dared to unmoor her? Down flew Lord Robert, half undressed; and the servants were summoned; but none of the household had been guilty of such a piece of audacity. At last, a thought struck him, that it could be no other than that contemner of all legal authority, Philip Harley. Lord Robert was soon by the border of the lake; and there he saw his young enemy reclined in the gilded pleasure-boat, sailing at his ease, and coasting near enough for Lord Robert to behold the look of calm defiance with which he surveyed his anger: and he continued to manage the Ariel with as much coolness as if her lawful owner had not been viewing her manœuvres with the greatest indignation. Lord Robert was still more provoked, when he recollected that he had no means of reaching the offender, to expel him from the boat.

"Is there anything like a boat on the estate," exclaimed Lord Robert, "that I may pursue that insolent young Harley, and take my property from him?"

"No, my Lord," said Edwards, the old gardener; "there is nothing of the kind on any of the pieces of water within a mile or two of the hall. Your Lordship may remember that when you were very young, and took such a fancy to everything relating to ships and sailing, my Lady had all the boats destroyed, for fear you should endanger your life by venturing on the water."

"And have they never been replaced?" asked Lord Robert.

"No, my Lord: there were two boats and a fishing-punt staved in by her Ladyship's order," replied Edwards. "You may recollect that your Lordship got into sad disgrace, the next day, by embarking on the lake in a large washing-tub."

Lord Robert could not help laughing. "On my honour, Edwards," said he, "I could find it in my heart to embark in a washing-tub at present, if I thought it of any use."

"I think, my Lord," said his valet, "Captain Bently has a small boat on the river, about a mile from the Park."

"Run, carry my compliments to Captain Bently, and ask him to lend it to me for an hour."

Two or three messengers started with obedient speed to fulfil the wishes of their master: but the land conveyance of a boat is a work of time; and, long before their return, Philip, tired, as we may suppose, of his amusement, steered the boat to the most distant part of the lake (which happened to be nearest his own home), and jumped on shore, behind some bushes, which jutted out and concealed his landing. He had walked quietly through the Park, and arrived at the village, before Lord Robert perceived, by the irregular drifting of the little vessel, that she was deserted, and the culprit had escaped his vengeance.

Lord Robert was literally glowing with rage, when he met his father in the breakfast-room. For some reason best known to himself, he had hitherto concealed from the Marquis his encounters with Philip Harley; but, in the moment of indignation, everything blazed forth; and, in all the exaggeration of anger, he informed his father of every outrage Philip had been guilty of towards him; adding, that the reason of their first disagreement was, his interrupting Philip in the act of poaching.

The Marquis was a good and humane man; but the representations of Lord Robert highly incensed him. That a young ruffian, exercising the lawless pursuits of a poacher, should take every opportunity of insulting and thwarting his son, and even of brutally assaulting him in his own park, was too much to be endured, and called for the severest punishment. Certainly, of all the species of theft (and it is theft), poaching is considered with the least mercy by noblemen and gentlemen of landed property. Perhaps the Marquis may be reckoned severe, but this was an aggravated case.

It was then in the middle of the American war, and a press-gang paid pretty frequent visits to the neighbouring sea-port town. His Lordship, therefore, informed them that he wished to remove a noxious person from the vicinity, and they took their measures accordingly.

Philip was partial to the sea: he was clever in the management of a boat, and was in the habit of taking trips, now and then, with some seafaring friends. He was preparing for one of these excursions, when the press-gang caught him near the harbour, dressed in a blue jacket and trousers; and the unfortunate youth was immediately dragged from his native place, without even being suffered to bid farewell to his parents; and it was with the greatest difficulty that he obtained leave to inform them of what had befallen him. Indeed, the first news they heard of him was, that he was on board a tender, and destined to sail in the first fleet that left England.

Philip Harley has hitherto appeared in no very respectable light. That he was a desperate trespasser and depredator is the most favourable opinion that can be formed of him; yet there were people in the neighbourhood, who, having known Philip from his infancy, ventured to think that he had met with harsh treatment, and that his heart, once so good and upright, must have undergone an extraordinary change, or that he had received great provocation, to be guilty of such daring outrages.

There is an excellent saying, which, though old and trite, it is sometimes necessary to bear in mind: namely, "That one story is good till another is told."—There was, in truth, some little excuse for Philip's conduct; though he certainly deserved blame, and even punishment, for giving up every proper pursuit and feeling to the gratification of resentment.

Before Lord Robert's return from his long voyage, Philip Harley was considered as gentle in disposition, as he was manly and high-spirited. At this time, he was just sixteen, and had begun to make himself useful in his father's business, which was that of a carpenter.

His father was rather independent in his circumstances; and his whole family consisted of two children—this Philip, and a lovely little blind girl, called Kate. This unhappy sister (if a creature in the practice of the most angelic patience can be called unhappy) was the darling of Philip's heart. Every spare minute he devoted to amusing and caressing this child, who was many years younger than himself; and she returned his love with the most grateful affection. The cottage where they lived fronted the west, and could be seen from the London road; and blind Kate used to take her evening seat on the threshold, waiting to hear the step of this beloved brother on his return from work; with her fair face and glittering curls turned to the setting sun—with a divine expression of hope and peace on her innocent countenance, that attracted the admiration of every passenger.

Philip had a very large spaniel, one of the handsomest of that beautiful species. This creature he had reared from a puppy, and taught to be obedient to his sister; and in his absence Rover was her only source of amusement; but he was, indeed, a most faithful and attached attendant, serving both for a guard and guide.

Sometimes Kate would walk on the road before the cottage, with her fair hands grasping Rover's silky coat, who would restrain his natural vivacity to guide the darkling steps of his little mistress. At other times, when the sun shone warm and bright, and the grass was soft and thick, Kate was as full of frolic and play as Rover himself, and would gambol with him a whole spring-day on the lawn in front of the cottage; but as the evening approached, Kate and Rover took their station at the cottage-door, and greeted the return of Philip with the utmost joy. Both were most dear to Philip: he tenderly loved his suffering sister; and he loved the faithful dog for her sake. It is not surprising, therefore, that Philip was almost broken-hearted when Kate fell sick, and after a few days expired. True, she was removed to a better place. Philip knew that she was taken in mercy, as her lot in this world was one of peculiar hardship; but he could not bear to lose her; and he and Rover moped in the most cheerless manner for many days after the funeral.

It was some little time before this that Lord Robert returned to the hall, after several years' absence. He had promised himself much pleasure from the autumnal field-sports; but in this amusement, as in every other occupation, he was too apt to suffer trifles to ruffle his temper, and make him violent and unreasonable.

One gloomy October evening, Lord Robert was returning with his gun and dogs through the park, attended by a gamekeeper. He had pursued his amusement that day with very little success: everything had gone wrong; the dogs had pointed badly, and his new fowling-piece, that had cost him twenty guineas only the week before, had hung fire several times, at the very moment when the game sprang before him the finest mark possible. In short, he had suffered disappointment enough to vex the heart of the most patient person in the world, who had never in his life felt what real affliction was. At this unlucky minute, it was Philip Harley's ill fortune to cross the park by a public footway that led through the grounds. It was the first day Philip had resumed his work since the death of his sister; and he was walking in a melancholy way, carrying his basket of tools, with his eyes fixed on the ground, attending very little to what was passing around him, and Rover was trudging by his side, when, unluckily, just as Lord Robert came up to him, a hare darted out of some bushes, and Rover scampered after it.

"That is the way all the game is poached off the estate!" exclaimed Lord Robert in a fit of passion; and, yielding to the influence of temper, he levelled his gun at the dog. The piece, that had so many times missed fire that day, now rang sharp and true: the faithful creature was mortally wounded; he crawled feebly to his master's feet, and expired. Philip hung over his poor dog, while he saw him die, with anguish that gave a painful sensation to Lord Robert; yet still, under the dominion of temper, he said to his servant—

"What a fool the fellow makes of himself about a dog!"

Philip lifted the body of his poor favourite from the ground, and taking it in his arms, rushed by the young lord, giving him a look of contempt and indignation as he passed.

"It is the dog that used to lead about his blind sister," said the humane gamekeeper. "She is just dead."

Lord Robert then remembered meeting Kate and the dog when he first came home: he had patted her curly head and admired her beauty.

"Was it blind Kate's dog?" said Lord Robert. "Had I known that, he might have destroyed every head of game on the estate before I would have shot him."

Perhaps, had Philip heard this half acknowledgment of error, much evil might have been prevented. The next time he met the young noble, it was with the most bitter feelings. He considered that Lord Robert had wantonly murdered the innocent companion of his sister; and all the grief he felt for her loss was turned into rage. Contemptuous words succeeded angry looks: and these ere not to be borne by Lord Robert's untamed spirit; though he felt greatly displeased with himself, and would have given half his fortune to have recalled the past, yet he would not bear Philip's reproaches. A very little provoked him to strike him, and a desperate encounter ensued. This was followed by many others; for Philip neglected all his better pursuits to gratify his revenge; he lay in wait to attack Lord Robert, and took every opportunity of defying him; till the most ferocious hatred took place between the two youths, which led to the consequences we have already seen. In one instance, however, Philip was wrongfully accused, as he never had stained his hands with dishonest practices. Lord Robert well knew that the dog's accidentally chasing the hare was perfectly involuntary on the part of Philip, who was scarcely conscious of it before the poor animal was put to death.

This incident had given Lord Robert Summers great mental pain: he was as angry with himself as with Philip Harley; he could not bear to think of his conduct in this affair—he could not bear to recall any circumstance relating to it; and only the name of Philip Harley gave him the greatest uneasiness. Yet he was not conscious that the whole of this uneasiness sprang from giving the reins one moment to ungovernable temper; for it was neither Philip nor his dog that had offended or irritated him; but accidental circumstances had put him in a very ill humour, and he vented his temper on the first beings that crossed his path, and, by that means, he was induced to commit an act of cruelty and oppression really foreign to his own disposition, and which outraged the best feelings of a fellow-creature, already under the pressure of acute affliction. If young people will look into their own hearts, they will find that there is no frailty belonging to our erring nature so deceptive as temper. Strange as it may appear, it often happens that many individuals, when they express anger, generally wreak it on the last person who would have thought of exciting it. Some unfortunate servant, or still more unhappy dependant, is made the victim of ill humour; which is not only in itself as blind and erring as it is unjust, but also brings with it the additional pain of self-reproach. Yet the heart is not always bad that gives way to its evil dominion; but it is for want of self-examination—of saying, "I find myself mentally uneasy, perhaps from accidental events, or even from indisposition of body; why then should I make myself odious to this person, who is in my power, and must endure my ill treatment, when a little patience and forbearance will remove the cloud that rests on my mind, and my spirit will rise bright and unclouded, rejoicing in the consciousness of having overcome one of the most painful infirmities of human nature?" This self-confession (if it may be so called) will bring mental health, and rectify the most irritable disposition.

Never did a month seem so long, as the time appeared to Lord Robert Summers while he remained on shore. He parted from his noble relatives with the less regret as he longed to be at sea, to lose in active employment the memory of these errors and mortifying reflections.

This young nobleman had passed his examination as lieutenant with the greatest credit; and in a severe engagement between his uncle's ship and a French man-of-war of superior force (which ended in the capture of the Frenchman), Lord Robert Summers behaved with such distinguished valour, that he was considered, both for intrepidity and nautical skill, a most promising young officer; yet, on account of his youth, being but just sixteen, he did not expect his commission for some time to come. In this idea, however, he was agreeably deceived; for, before the Diomede put to sea, he received his commission as lieutenant. Lord Robert was greatly attached to his profession; and this early promotion, which he was conscious was less the effect of interest than desert, seemed to him the first fruits of a brilliant career of naval honours.

He was received with transport by Sir Henry Stanley; who, himself an ornament to the British navy, foresaw, in the early valour of this beloved nephew, the glory of a Vernon or a Rodney. The Diomede had received sailing orders; Lord Robert, in high spirits, and joyful expectation of future triumphs, was in one of his happiest humours, when a boat from a tender came alongside the Diomede, with a supply of pressed men to recruit the ship's company.

"Summers, are you ill?" asked a young officer, with whom Lord Robert was gaily conversing; when a sudden alteration became observable in his voice and manner, and his cheek was overspread with a deadly paleness. Lord Robert did not hear him, being wholly occupied in watching the progress of a young sailor up the ship's side.

Lieutenant Cary repeated the question, but received no answer; and, supposing that Lord Robert was troubled with one of his occasional fits of patrician haughtiness, and being to the full as high-spirited as himself, left him to his contemplations. These were of no pleasant nature; for though emaciated, ragged, and dirty, and in many respects different from the handsome youth he had lately seen, the young sailor (who by this time stood on the deck of the Diomede) was Philip Harley! He now felt that his dislike and abhorrence had arisen to a more intolerable degree than ever; he fretted at the perverse accident that had thrown this hated object in his way, and actually proceeded some paces to request his uncle to remove Philip Harley from the ship; but then he recollected that he should most likely be forced to enter into particulars that he detested to recall, besides giving his enemy reason to suppose that the presence or absence of so abject a creature could be of the least consequence to him.

"No," said he to himself, "let him remain; he will, in the discipline of a man-of-war, be cured perhaps of his audacity, and learn submission to proper authority." This was the result of Lord Robert's debate with himself. At first, he had been a little touched by Philip's pale and altered countenance; but, on a second glance, he found his enemy had recognised him, and returned his glance with a look so full of reproach and contempt, that Lord Robert vowed within himself that his haughty spirit should be broken.

Alas, for Philip! he needed no worse enemy than himself. Instead of a manly resignation to what he knew was unavoidable, and a determination to perform his duties so well as to gain respect from the crew—instead of pursuing this course, which would have partly defeated the hatred of his enemy,—he continued so sullen and contrary, that no means, whether good or bad, could bring him out of his fits of obstinacy. There needed no interference of Lord Robert's to bring on him the most severe and cruel punishments. But no bodily pain could subdue Philip; disgrace and suffering only rendered him furious and desperate; and he was considered mutinous and ungovernable to such a degree, that he passed the first three months of a seafaring life in a succession of confinement and punishment.

Had young Harley, instead of such headstrong conduct, exerted his real abilities as a seaman, applied himself to his profession, and shown his officers and commanders, that, though a mere youth, he could hand, reef, and steer, as well as the most experienced seaman,—and this, added to the sober and moral conduct natural to him, with an education and manners far above his station in life, joined to a stout and active body, and undaunted courage;—these qualifications would have created respect in every one, and in no one more than his just and upright commander; and his persecutor must have exposed his motives before he could have injured him: now he was fully in his power, and Lord Robert vowed that he should most submissively implore his pardon for all his transgressions, before he should find any mercy.

"I can't tell what to make of that lad," said Lieutenant Cary to Lord Robert, as the boatswain was untying Harley from a gun, where he had borne, with Spartan firmness, the infliction of a cruel punishment, which his wilful disobedience had brought on him: "he neither drinks nor swears, nor associates with the more dissolute part of the crew: but we have more trouble with him than with the most abandoned reprobate. Yet he seems to me to be meant for better things."

Cary said this as a sort of encouragement to the unfortunate youth, whose manly endurance of extreme suffering had touched his heart.

"Oh!" returned Lord Robert, with a contemptuous laugh, "mutiny and disobedience are nothing new to this fellow; his conduct at sea only matches his behaviour on land—he was always what you now see him!"

"'Tis false! You have made me what I am," said Philip, with a withering look.

"False!" exclaimed Lord Robert, striking Philip as he spoke.

"Yes, oppressor, false!" repeated Philip, returning the blow.

Cary, from a principle of humanity, tried to stay his arm; but Philip was too quick for him. "Madman!" said he, in a tone of regret, "you have forfeited your life!"

"Then let him take it if he will! Thank God, it will be the last injury he can do me!" said Philip, resigning his hands with composure to the fetters with which he was immediately bound.

Harley was considered on board ship so desperate a mutineer, that it was judged necessary to chain him down to the deck, lest, in his fits of rage, as he seemed so careless of his own life, he should set fire to the vessel, and destroy himself and the ship's company together. Here, then, exposed to the sun by day and the dews by night, with less liberty than the savage beast, the wretched youth awaited the certain fate to which, on their arrival in the first port, the laws of war would doom him, for striking an officer on duty.

At this period, the ship and her convoy were approaching the coast of Brazil; they had hitherto enjoyed a prosperous voyage, with fair winds and weather, and a healthy passage. The Diomede was destined to convoy a fleet of merchant-ships bound for the Portuguese settlement of Rio de Janeiro. Before they neared the Brazilian shore, they descried a sail, which proved to be a French man-of-war, of nearly equal strength with their own. Scarcely had the Diomede recognised her for an enemy, before another sail appeared, which was soon known to be her consort. These ships had been stationed to intercept our richly-freighted merchantmen. The defenceless merchant-ships dispersed in every direction, leaving the valiant Diomede to bear the thunders of the unequal combat. This engagement was a fortunate circumstance for the unhappy Harley. I believe it is a usual thing for seamen under confinement for mutiny to be released before an engagement: however this may be, Philip was set at liberty, by the orders of the Captain.

Lieutenant Cary was the officer appointed to set him free. "Harley," said he, "you have shown a bold spirit in a bad cause; let us now see what you can do for your country. It will be my duty to head the boarding-party. Let me see you near me!"

"You shall see me near you!" said young Harley, grasping the cutlass which Cary put into his hand: "I would do much for you! You are the only man who has felt for me as a fellow-creature since I was torn from my home."

By this time the decks were cleared; and, everything being prepared for action on both sides, the Frenchmen approached pretty close. During the awful pause, while this unequal force bore down upon them, perhaps even some of the boldest hearts felt a chill of anxiety; for they were not fighting now for wealth or conquest, but for life, liberty, and the honour of their flag,—that flag which they had borne in triumph round half the world, and which had never yet been lowered to a foe. True, the odds against them were tremendous; but they were British seamen, and would not doubt the result. Yet there was the heart of one amongst them that throbbed high with desperate ardour for the combat, with the hope of redeeming disgrace, and showing that he was worthy a better fate than the death of a felon.

The engagement was long and sanguinary; but British valour at length prevailed, and the French ships were forced to sheer off in a shattered condition, leaving the Diomede little better than a wreck on the mid ocean. The retreat of the enemy was, however, a glorious and hard-earned triumph; and the brave officers and crew of the Diomede were conscious of having performed their duty, and protected the charge committed to their care by their country.

After matters were a little set to rights on deck, and the officers had assembled round their gallant Captain, to congratulate him on the retreat of the enemy, Sir Henry Stanley ordered the young mutineer to be brought before him. Philip made his appearance, pale and bleeding, but with a determined countenance.

"Young man," said Sir Henry, "you have done your duty to-day. I have to thank you for twice saving the life of my friend, Lieutenant Cary: he speaks highly of your conduct in boarding. Your offences are forgiven—you may return to your duty; and, I hope, from this day, your conduct will be as remarkable for obedience, as it has before been the reverse."

Philip raised his eyes to his commander's face, and reading there an expression of manly pity and candour, he was so completely softened by conduct which he little expected from Lord Robert's uncle, that he said, with tears, he had acted wrong, and would spend his best blood, or even his life, if required, to amend his fault.

"Then," said Sir Henry, "ask pardon of Lord Robert Summers for the outrage you have committed, and all will be well, if you persevere in your good resolutions."

"I will ask your pardon, Sir Henry, on my knees, for having rebelled against so good and gracious a commander, and for having struck one of your officers; but I cannot ask forgiveness of Lord Robert Summers, since he was the first to injure me, long before I saw this ship."

Lord Robert, who stood by his uncle's side, gave him a disdainful look; Philip's eyes answered scorn with scorn.

"No conditions, sir!" said his captain; "they don't become you. But pray how has my nephew injured you?"

"Lord Robert can inform you," said Philip.

"I perceive," said Sir Henry, "there has been some misunderstanding between you and my nephew, before you came on board the Diomede; but this is no excuse for your uniformly rebellious conduct. Had you done your duty as a British sailor, you would have met with encouragement and mild treatment. My nephew, dear as he is to me, could not have influenced me to commit an act of injustice against any individual of my ship's company. Go, and get your hurts examined; and let me have reason to praise your future conduct."

Philip bowed to his commander with gratitude and respect, and retired.

It is certain that "misfortunes never come alone." Scarcely had the convoy re-assembled, and the Diomede repaired some of the injuries she had sustained in the action, when a furious gale sprang up, and threatened the most mischievous consequences to the ship, in her shattered condition.

Towards midnight, the ship sprang so much water, that all hands were obliged to spell the pumps. About two in the morning, the wind lulled, and they flattered themselves that the gale was breaking. Soon after, there was much thunder and lightning, with rain; when it began to blow strong in gusts of wind, which obliged them to haul up the main-sail, the ship being then under bare poles. This was scarcely done, when a gust of wind, exceeding everything of the kind they had ever any conception of, laid the ship on her beam-ends. The water forsook the hold and appeared between the decks, so as to fill the men's hammocks to leeward; the ship lay motionless, and to all appearance irrecoverably overset. The water increasing fast, the captain gave directions to cut away the main and mizen masts,[1] hoping, when the ship righted, to wear her. The mizen-mast went first, without the smallest effect on the ship. The main-mast followed; and they had the mortification to see the foremast and bow-sprit follow also. The ship, upon this, immediately righted, but with great violence; and the motion was so quick, that it was difficult for the people to work the pumps.

Every moveable was destroyed, either by the shot thrown loose from the lockers, or from the wreck of the deck. The masts had not been over the side ten minutes, before the tiller broke short in the rudder-head; and before the checks could be placed, the rudder itself was gone. Thus they were as much disastered as possible, lying at the mercy of the wind. These circumstances appeared sufficiently alarming; but upon opening the after-hold, to get up some rum for the people, they found their condition much more so in reality.

It will be necessary to mention, that the ship's hold was enclosed by a bulk-head at the after-part of the well.[2] Here were all the dry provisions, and the ship's rum, stowed upon ten chaldrons of coal, which, unfortunately, had been started in this part of the ship, and by them the pumps were continually choked. At this time it was observed that the water had not a passage to the well; all the rum (twenty-six puncheons), all the provisions in casks, were stove; having floated with violence from side to side, until there was not a whole cask remaining: even the staves, that were found upon clearing the hold, were most of them broken in two or three pieces. In the fore-hold they had the prospect of perishing. Should the ship swim, they had no water but what remained in the ground tier; and over this all the wet provisions in barrels were floating, with so much motion, that no man could go into the hold without the risk of his life. There was nothing left, but to try baling with buckets at the fore-hatchway and fish-room; and twelve large canvas buckets were immediately employed in each. On opening the fish-room, they were so fortunate as to discover that two puncheons of rum had escaped. They were immediately got up, and served out in drams; and had it not been for this relief, and some lime-juice, the people would have dropped.

They soon found their account in baling: a spare pump had been put down the fore-hatchway, and a pump shifted to the fish-room; but the motion of the ship had washed the coals so small, that they had reached every part of the ship, and these pumps were soon choked. However, the water by noon had considerably diminished by working the buckets; but there appeared no prospect of saving the ship, if the gale continued. The labour was too great to hold out without water, yet the people worked without a murmur, and, indeed, with cheerfulness. But their sufferings for want of water were very great, and many of them could not be restrained from drinking salt water. They fired many guns of distress, in hopes some of the merchant-ships might approach and give them some supply; but on the beginning of the storm they had run before the wind, and made some port on the coast of Brazil,—an example which the Diomede would have been glad to follow before the hurricane began, but her crippled state from the engagement rendered this impossible.

Towards morning, some of the most resolute of the seamen, rendered desperate by thirst, went down into the hold, and found a whole water-cask, which they contrived to heave up, and it afforded a seasonable relief.

All the officers and boys, who were not of the profession of seamen, had been employed that night in thrumming a sail, which was passed under the ship's bottom with good effect. The spars were raised for the foremast; the weather looked promising, and they had the prospect of a fine day;—it proved so; and they were determined to make use of it, with every possible exertion. The captain divided the ship's company, with the officers attending them, into parties, to raise the jury foremast, to heave overboard the lower deck guns,[3] to clear the wrecks of the fore and after holds, to prepare a machine for steering the ship, and to work the pumps. By night, as the leak was stopped, the after-hold was quite clear, ten chaldrons of coals having been baled out since the commencement of the gale.

The standards of the cockpit, an immense quantity of staves and wood, and part of the lining of the ship, were thrown overboard, that, if the water should appear again in the hold, they might have no impediment in baling.

The Diomede, in this condition, exhibited a scene seldom witnessed,—a line-of-battle ship without masts or rudder, a mere shell in the midst of the ocean. The casks of all sorts, floating from side to side, were stove, and the magazines and store-rooms of every kind washed down.

By nightfall the foremast was secured, and the machine for steering fixed; so that, if the moderate weather continued, they were in hopes of steering the ship, the following day, for the coast of Brazil—the violence of the wind having driven them far out of their course.

During this time of peril and hardship, Sir Henry Stanley could not help observing with satisfaction the altered conduct of young Harley, who was so active, enterprising, and courageous, that no difficulty could overcome him, and no hardship make him complain. He seemed to think the benign looks of Sir Henry Stanley, ever bent with peculiar complacency on those who performed their duties with manly firmness, were a reward for the most painful exertions. All the officers, indeed, noticed the altered conduct of the young mutineer: no traces remained of his former rebellion, except that of his returning the haughty glances of Lord Robert Summers with equal fierceness, when they chanced to meet in the performance of their arduous duties. But nothing could induce him to return the taunts this young officer sometimes bestowed on him with disrespectful language. Depending on the justice of his captain, he bore all in unmoved silence; indeed, his Lordship (who considered Philip as too much his inferior to give him the opportunity of joining in a warfare of words) never condescended to address any provoking speeches to him, but always at him. One would have thought that such frightful circumstances would have tamed the haughtiest minds; but they both required still severer trials to wring the black spot from their hearts.

The ship, in this perilous state, was in the middle of the great Atlantic, nearly under the equinoctial line, with the water-casks beat to pieces, and most of the provisions spoiled; so that if, by especial providence, the ship should swim, so as to reach a port on the Brazilian coast, the crew would suffer the most cruel hardships from thirst—painful at all times, but intolerable in these burning latitudes. In this dilemma, some of the people descried land; and they hoped it was one of those small islands on which the Portuguese have little settlements to supply their ships, which trade to Africa, with water and needful refreshments. This island, like those of St. Helena and Ascension, appeared rocky and volcanic; but there were good hopes that springs of water might be discovered on it, if any of the crew could be found enterprising enough to effect a landing, with such a sea, and on such a coast; for, though the gale had lulled, the breakers were furiously high on the shore.

Lord Robert Summers, daring and ardent, and much preferring danger to the lingering agonies of thirst, volunteered to command a boat, if any of the crew would venture themselves under his guidance. Three of the most experienced seamen offered to man the boat; but five hands were indispensable. His Lordship said that he himself would steer the boat, if one more seaman would venture. Philip Harley volunteered his assistance. "Any one but him!" muttered Lord Robert between his shut teeth, incensed that Philip should show that his courage was equal to his own: however, as his services were offered for the public good, he thought proper, although very unwillingly and ungraciously, to accept them, and the boat was lowered. Sir Henry Stanley bade adieu to his gallant nephew with pain; but he did not attempt to withhold him, dear as he was, from the benefit he was proposing to render the ship's company. When the boat got among the breakers, the prospect of landing appeared so hazardous, that one of the oldest of the seamen, who rowed the boat, proposed returning to the ship. Lord Robert, considering himself accountable for the lives of the men under his care, would not insist on their continuing their efforts, but said:

"My brave fellows! If the attempt seem to you hopeless, I will not urge you to continue it; but if my single life only were at stake I would willingly risk it to obtain a supply of water for our famishing companions."

The sailors then determined to persevere, their recent sufferings from thirst being fresh in their minds. At length, by a desperate effort, they gained the shore, and landed their water-casks. They soon found a pure spring, which gushed from a rocky hill at some little distance from the shore: there was a large wooden cross erected on an eminence, at the spring head; but they found no Portuguese guard at the spring, which is usual in a settlement in those latitudes; so they presumed the island was uninhabited. The land seemed barren, rocky, and desolate; but, after some research, they found, in a sheltered valley, a few fine lime and cocoa-nut trees, which had evidently been planted by some beneficent navigator. Gathering cocoa-nuts is no very easy operation, as they adhere in close bunches to the crown of the tree by tough ligaments; but as young Harley had brought his axe and saw to cut wood for firing, he climbed the trees, while his comrades were filling the water-casks, and expeditiously obtained a good number, both of limes and cocoa-nuts, which he considered would be an acceptable refreshment to his exhausted companions on board the Diomede.

While they were thus employed, Lord Robert hailed them from the beach, where he remained to watch the boat.

"Come, my lads!" said he, "the gale freshens every minute; let us get afloat, or we shall scarcely reach the ship before nightfall."

The sailors hurried the water-casks and store of fruit into the boat, and launched her among the breakers. With infinite toil, they got out of the surf with safety, as the wind now blew off the shore; but the furious gusts came every moment with increasing strength; and, at last, a surge rose with such overwhelming violence, that, in spite of all their efforts, the boat upset, and her unhappy crew were engulfed in the roaring waters. Their fate was beheld from the ship; but no aid could be given, as the renewed hurricane had rendered her state more deplorable than ever: she was driven before the wind, and soon lost sight of this fatal island.

Some of the boat's crew struggled a little time with the waves; but three of them were old men, and had been exhausted by the fatigues they had lately undergone. These speedily sank; but Lord Robert, being young and robust, strove hard for life, and at length gained the shore, almost exhausted by his contentions with the surfy breakers. When he had a little recovered his breath, he climbed the hill on which the cross was erected, and gazed towards the ship, which he saw driving before the wind, surrounded by foaming billows, and with every appearance of speedily sharing the fate he had so lately escaped. Wholly occupied in the thoughts of the revered friend that ship contained, he forgot his own desolate state, till the last appearance of the ship vanished, and he found himself alone.

Oppressed with sad thoughts, he turned himself from the contemplation of the wrathful ocean, now blackening with the sudden night of the torrid zone, and after a little search, found a low arch in the rock, which was the entrance to a natural hollow in its side. Into this place he crept, to shelter himself from the inclemency of the storm, which increased with tenfold fury after sunset.

In this situation he passed the night which succeeded this dismal day. It was a night of peculiar horror—tempestuous, dark, and rainy; and Lord Robert, though in a state of complete exhaustion, found that, in his late struggle with the breakers, he had received so many bruises, that to sleep was impossible. At intervals, as the lightning gleamed on the stormy expanse of waters before him, he thought how many of his brave companions, in all probability, slept beneath its roaring waves; and at that moment, instead of returning thanks to Heaven for his own preservation, he felt inclined to envy his comrades. To be entirely shut out from all intercourse with his fellow-creatures, never again to hear the sound of a human voice, and to be condemned, in the very bloom of youth, to pine away existence in that desolate place, far from every friend, appeared a doom so dreadful, that he was insensibly led to reflect for what crime so heavy a punishment could have befallen him.

Conscience, which sometimes sleeps, but never dies, did not fail, in this awful hour, to recall to his memory the cruelty and injustice of his conduct to Philip Harley: and when he reflected that, to gratify his imperious disposition and implacable spirit of revenge, the poor lad had been dragged from his peaceful home, his honest employment, and his affectionate parents, to endure a series of hardships and perils, and that he had finally suffered an untimely death,—this thought gave him so keen a pang of remorse, that, as if he expected from change of place to escape from memory, he started from his rocky pillow, and, as the day was now beginning to dawn, proceeded to the beach, to ascertain whether any of his friends from the ship had been so fortunate as to gain the shore; for, he remembered, his uncle had given orders to have the pinnace and yawl in readiness, in case the ship's situation should become desperate, that an attempt might be made to preserve the lives of part of the crew.

For some time, he pursued his melancholy walk, interrupted only by the dismal sight of pieces of wreck, which the impetuous waves from time to time dashed at his feet. The sea now running in high tide on the shore, inspired him with the hope of seeing the pinnace and boats, or rafts from the wreck; and that some, at least, of the ship's company might be so fortunate as to reach the island with life. The sun, rising brightly over the stormy ocean, discovered something struggling with the waves at no great distance. Lord Robert felt the most agonizing sensations at the idea that it was out of his power to render any assistance. All he could do was to wave his handkerchief, from the little rocky promontory on which he stood, and to shout with all his strength, to encourage him in his efforts. At that moment, a tremendous wave engulfed the object of his solicitude,—it sank, and his heart sank with it;—again it rose and neared the shore;—but its efforts grew fainter and fainter;—and Lord Robert, fearing that its strength would fail, though so near the shore, regardless of his own safety, dashed through the breakers to render his assistance, cheering as he did so. At the sound of his voice, the poor creature appeared to recover his strength, and, struggling through the breakers, sprang towards him with a joyful cry.

"Ah, my poor Neptune! Is it you?" exclaimed Lord Robert, with mingled anguish and pleasure, as he threw his arms round the faithful animal, and gave vent to his feelings with a burst of tears. "Yes!" said he, as he threw himself on the beach in bitter sorrow, "the Diomede must indeed have foundered, or my kind, my benevolent uncle, would never have committed this old memorial of his lost nephew to the mercy of the waves, for the sake of lightening the vessel, or saving the morsel of food he would have consumed." But again remembering the chance that some of the crew might be saved by the pinnace, and condemning the indulgence of his grief, he rose, and, dripping as he was, pursued his search, attended by his faithful Neptune, who bounded round him with joyful affection. In the course of his walk, he found some limes and cocoa-nuts scattered on the beach; and, yielding to the painful thirst that consumed him, he raised one of the limes to his parched lips, when he recollected that they were some of the fruit young Harley had gathered, and was carrying to the ship at the time the boat was upset, and the unfortunate youth had been buried in the waves. This thought recalled the bitter reflections he had with difficulty succeeded in banishing from his mind; and when he remembered that, though he had not been the immediate, he had certainly been the ultimate cause of his death, he sickened at the thought, and casting the untasted fruit from him, he said, "No; I cannot eat these!" Proceeding on his walk, he gained the spot where he had landed with his unfortunate companions the day before. He sighed deeply as he passed it; and, doubling a projection of rock, he discovered the pinnace, floating bottom upwards close in shore. At that sight, the most agonizing in the world to the heart of a sailor, he turned away, and wept almost to suffocation. For some moments, he continued to give way to the grief which oppressed him, till roused from the indulgence of his feelings by a loud and joyful bark from Neptune, and, uncovering his eyes, he perceived a young sailor, whose face was turned from him, gazing on the pinnace, apparently in as melancholy a mood as himself. This doubtless was the only one of her unfortunate crew who had escaped the violence of the waves; and Lord Robert, losing all distinction of rank in the fellowship of misfortune, sprang towards him with open arms, exclaiming, in a voice broken by emotion—"What cheer, my lad?" At the sound of his voice, the young man turned slowly round, and discovered a face pale with contending feelings—it was Philip Harley! For a moment, the two enemies surveyed each other in silence; each wondering at the other's preservation; each somewhat softened by the traces of sorrow and suffering in the countenance of the other,—but, alas! each mutually yielding to the same stubborn and haughty temper which had so long been the spring of all that was evil in their separate characters, they surveyed each other with a look of defiance, and walked gloomily away in opposite directions.

Lord Robert certainly did feel his heart relieved of half the painful emotions which had, for the last ten hours, oppressed it almost to bursting; and as he retraced his steps almost instinctively to his cheerless chamber in the rock, where he had spent that dreadful night, he exclaimed, "Thank God, he lives! I am not then his murderer! It is true, that entire solitude would have been much more agreeable to me, than the idea of breathing the same air with him, and being constantly exposed to the chance of meeting him; but that is more than compensated by the knowledge that he lives, and is, indeed, no worse off than myself."

Thus did Lord Robert compose his troubled thoughts, and lull to sleep those better feelings which almost prompted him, at the first sight of young Harley, to make such advances towards amity, as would have been pleasing in the sight of God, and even in that of his enemy, whose heart, naturally kind and good, had been greatly softened by the awful circumstances under which their last interview had taken place. Besides, he had been an unseen spectator of Lord Robert's manly but acute sorrow, when he beheld, in the deplorable situation of the pinnace, a confirmation of his worst fears respecting the fate of his uncle and friends. He, too, had been weeping; for he reverenced Sir Henry Stanley, and loved Lieutenant Cary; and he was disposed to behold even Lord Robert with complacency, for their sakes; for he knew he was very dear to them both; and when he saw the agony with which Lord Robert staggered forward, on reaching the spot which commanded this melancholy sight, and heard his repeated sobs, he felt his hatred towards him so much diminished, that he was forced to recollect all the injuries he had received from this young officer, before he could sufficiently repel the inclination he felt to speak to him in the voice of kindness and comfort. Lord Robert had hitherto appeared to him haughty, rude, and unfeeling; and Philip knew not that this spoiled child of prosperity possessed at times much sensibility, strong affections, and feelings, which, had they been properly directed, would have been conducive to the happiness of all around him; instead of which, his unchecked passions produced danger and inconvenience to all who, even unintentionally, irritated them, and misery to their unhappy possessor, far beyond what he had ever inflicted on others.

But Philip was in many respects too like his adversary in character; and he never took the trouble of asking his own heart, if he were not sometimes to blame, as well as his high-born enemy. If Lord Robert was haughty, Philip was insolent; if one was hasty in giving a provocation, the other was still more so in retaliating. Had Philip for one moment remembered that most divine maxim of holy writ, "A soft answer turneth away wrath," and had he been sufficiently of a Christian disposition to practise it in one instance only, Lord Robert would have been appeased; and what mischief might have been spared, what suffering avoided, on one side! and what painful remorse on the other! When Philip beheld Lord Robert's tears, his first emotion was surprise; and he said to himself, "Can he weep? he that is so hard-hearted and proud!" and then the thought occurred to him, "Perhaps his heart is not so very hard as I have reason to believe?" Philip was not uncandid; and he remembered then, that he had often thrown himself in Lord Robert's way, and committed many outrages, on purpose to provoke him. For the first time in his life, he put himself in his Lordship's place, and asked his own heart, whether he were sure, under such circumstances, that he should have acted better? But Philip was not yet sufficiently acquainted with the faults of his own character, to see that he had been almost equally blameable; and though, perhaps, he would not have refused to forgive, he had no idea that he too required to be forgiven, if not by his erring fellow-creature, at least by his heavenly Father. Had this occurred to him, he would not have renewed their suspended enmity, by being the first to assume a look of defiance, while Lord Robert was undecided what course to pursue: but the favourable moment was unfortunately lost; for Lord Robert returned the glance with equal disdain, and they were as much at variance as before.

Lord Robert had returned to the cleft in the rock, and thrown himself at full length, lost in unpleasant and bitter reflections for some hours, before the cravings of hunger reminded him that it was necessary to make some exertion for the preservation of that life which Heaven had spared; but perhaps he would, in his gloomy frame of mind, have disregarded his own wants, and remained obstinate in his self-neglect, had not the mute appeals of his faithful Neptune roused him from inertion. Neptune was a fine water-dog, a present from his elder brother at parting; and Lord Robert, who had long desired to possess this animal, treated him with the most unbounded affection; and always suffered him to share every meal with him, and even divided with him his share of food and water during their late dreadful privations; and Neptune, who had not tasted food for many hours, continued to put his paws on his master's knees, and to survey him with a wishful look, till Lord Robert rose, and left the cave in search of something to satisfy his cravings. Amongst his other troubles, he had little fear of perishing by famine; for he knew, by the latitude he was in, that he should most likely find turtle, or turtles' eggs, on the beach. In fact, while he was listlessly pacing the shore, thinking of anything rather than the object of his search, Neptune, who was not quite so uninterested, pounced on something in a hole in the sand, which proved to be a fine turtle. His master soon killed it, and satisfied the hunger of his humble friend with part of the flesh; and then, in a more leisurely manner, set about collecting pieces of wreck to make a fire; but, alas! he was wholly unpractised in the sleight of striking a few sparks to kindle a flame. It is true, he knew how they were to be procured, and soon found a flint proper for the purpose: but in striking it with the back of his knife, he only rubbed the skin off his hands, and bruised his knuckles, without producing the desired effect; or, if he did elicit a few sparks, they died away for want of proper kindling. This put him in a passion, and he redoubled his violence till he broke the flint into a thousand pieces; and sat down in a very ill humour, looking at his pile of wood and his raw turtle with much discontent. At last he recollected, that if he could not cook his turtle, he could quench his thirst at the clear spring they had discovered on their first landing: this he soon found, and was much refreshed by a draught from it. At a small distance, within view of the spring, he saw the little grove of limes and cocoas in the valley; there he beheld, with some little envy, a bright blazing fire, near which Philip was employed cooking his supper. He hastily avoided the spot, and returned to the beach, where he found in the sand some turtles' eggs, which he could eat raw, and with them satisfied the calls of hunger. He then lay down on his flinty couch, with Neptune for a pillow; and, being completely exhausted by fatigue, notwithstanding his distress and discontent, sank into a profound sleep.

The next morning saw him still perplexed with those minor difficulties. For though he could bear, with heroic self-denial, the hardships incidental to his profession, and had not taken a morsel more food, or a drop more water, in their late distress on board ship, than any other of the suffering crew, and had even shared his scanty morsel with his famishing dog, this he could do, for he felt there was something noble and refined in such conduct; but he felt sadly irritated at being thrown on his own resources in the little common everyday necessaries of life. From his infancy, he had been surrounded by servants, who were accustomed to perform for him the most minute services, so that at seventeen his Lordship (though a valiant officer, and perfect in his professional duties,) was ignorant of many things very necessary for every one to know; and if he was acquainted with the methods resorted to in many situations, he was at least very awkward in his attempts of putting them into practice. However, on this occasion, making use of his own good sense, after a little calm reflection, he collected from the sides of the rock some dry grey moss, and, drawing some rays from the sun in the focus of a little perspective glass he had in his pocket, he soon set his pile of wood in a blaze, and cooked sufficient turtle to feed him for a day or two.

He had scarcely completed this employment, when the sun, which had for days been shaded by tempestuous clouds, broke forth with its usual splendour; and there was promise of a continuance of that sultry weather so seldom interrupted in these latitudes. Lord Robert, when he felt the sun beat on his uncovered temples, fled for shelter to his cave, which he found nearly of the same temperature as an oven half heated. Panting for breath, he remembered the grove, of which Philip had taken possession, and bent his steps towards it; but he found that this spot of verdure did not consist of more than a rood of land; and he did not choose to be so near young Harley as the farthest extremity of its shelter. So he remained on the burning beach, or under the shade of some arid rock, during the day, determining to make a tour of the island in the cool of the evening, and hoping to fix his residence in some shady vale similar to Philip's territories. But how can his disappointment be expressed, when, after a most fatiguing walk, all the good he gained was a knowledge of the extent of his prison? He had in vain searched for a grove; barren rocks and burning sands alone met his sight: at last, he climbed a conical hill, which towered above the other rocks, and which, from his geological knowledge, he was certain contained the exhausted crater of a volcano. Here he had a view of every nook of the island, which was of the extent of about five miles, and presented a prospect of one pile of horrid rocks heaped on another, without one spot of fertility, except Philip's little cluster of trees, whose bright verdure formed a refreshing contrast to the burning rocks, which seemed yet to glow with the intense heat that had been poured on them through the day. As he fixed his eyes wistfully on this favoured spot, and saw the smoke of Philip's evening fire curling above the trees, he exclaimed, "Yes; I must, though most reluctantly, share this only habitable place with him; for such a day as the last I cannot endure again. Doubtless, this grove was planted by some benevolent navigator (such as I have often read of) on the soil formed by the accidental residence of sea-birds; and the grass and trees[4] have gradually spread over a small extent of land. Surely, as it was meant for universal benefit, I have a right to a share of it." So saying, he descended the hill, and after a toilsome walk arrived at the grove after nightfall, where he enjoyed the luxury of stretching his aching limbs on the soft grass, under the fragrant shade of a lime-tree, and slept soundly till after sunrise. He awoke in the morning with the cheerful sound of a human voice singing, and on opening his eyes, saw Philip Harley, a few paces from him, busy at work. He was astonished to see the progress his enemy had made in forming himself a habitation; for he had got very forward in the frame-work of a neat hut, and was now boarding it in with planks, which he had collected on the beach, singing as he knocked in every nail. This hut was situated among the thickest cluster of trees, directly under a fine young vine, the only one in the island; and as Philip roofed his hut, he carefully trained the rich branches all over the dwelling, taking care not to injure the purpling fruit, which was nearly ripe; thus giving his hut, as soon as it was finished, the charming appearance of a bower.

Overcome by the heat of the climate, Lord Robert lay for a day or two wholly inactive, stretched beneath his lime-tree, amusing himself with playing with Neptune, or when he thought he was unperceived, watching the progress of his enemy's work, but not condescending to address one word to him; who, on his part, preserved the same sullen silence. Lord Robert could not help wondering how Harley came by the saw and hatchet which he handled with so much adroitness; but he would not condescend to ask him. The fact was, that when Philip and the sailors were called away from gathering the cocoas, Philip, in his hurry had left the saw and hatchet at the foot of the tree; and there he found them when he regained the land. Possessed of these treasures, he made himself a hammer of a hollow stone; and, drawing nails out of the wreck, he set to work, and soon completed his hut. But when he proceeded to make a stool and table, Lord Robert was moved to some exertion; for he thought, that if he could make himself something of the kind to place under his lime-tree, he should not regret the hut his adversary seemed so proud of; and he was determined to try to construct some such articles of comfort and convenience. He accordingly went to the beach, and soon collected timber, from which he selected pieces with which he meant to try to form a table and three-legged stool. He would willingly have worked on the beach, out of the impertinent ken of his enemy: but the intolerable heat soon drove him back to the delicious shade of the grove, where a perpetual breeze seemed to play amongst the leaves; and thither he reluctantly proceeded, carrying the wood, and followed by Neptune. Sorry I am to record, that when Philip saw his haughty enemy appear thus laden, he paused in his work with a malicious curiosity to see how Lord Robert would acquit himself in his new employment. The first thing he did was to tear a bough or two off a tree, meaning to cut three truncheons to form the legs of his stool. It was lignum vitæ wood, extremely hard; and Lord Robert eyed Philip's saw, which just then would have been of great service to him, but he disdained to ask the loan of it. So he seated himself on the turf, and began to cut the legs with his pocket-knife (his only tool) with great difficulty; then he chose from the fragments of wreck a small piece of square wood, and marked with his pencil the holes he designed to make; he then walked, in a very stately manner, to Philip's fire, and taking from thence three hot coals, he laid them on his pencilled marks, and kept renewing them till the wood was nearly burnt through; then he scraped through the burnt wood, till he had got three holes; into these he knocked his truncheons with a great stone, and placed his stool on the ground to admire his own ingenuity; but he had knocked one leg more and another less, so that their lengths were unequal, and down the stool fell. Philip, who had seen this defect all the time, was highly diverted at his disappointment, when the stool fell, particularly when he saw how it irritated Lord Robert's impatient temper. At last, overcoming his inclination to laugh, he said: "You must shorten the middle leg of your stool, or it will never stand;" at the same time pushing his rule and saw towards his Lordship, who rejected them with great disdain, saying—"Do you think that I can condescend to learn the low mechanic art of a carpenter?" And he laid a most contemptuous stress on the word carpenter.

Philip coloured with indignation, as he replied, "Perhaps your Lordship will in a little time see which is of most service in this place, your title, or my useful knowledge."

Lord Robert haughtily flung back the rule and saw, and began to shorten the leg with his knife. This was a work of time and difficulty: the wood was hard, and the knife unfit for the purpose, and, worse than all, Lord Robert was very awkward in his mechanical attempts; but he was unusually so in this, for he was in a pet, and he saw that Philip watched him and enjoyed his unskilful manœuvres. This had the effect of enraging and confusing him; and, in his anger, the knife slipped and cut his knuckles across. He glanced at Philip, and saw him smile. This greatly provoked him, and he darted towards his enemy a furious look; but Philip continued to survey his operations with a calm but sarcastic regard. The next thing Lord Robert did was to set his knife so fast in the wood that he could not move it. Philip smiled again; and Lord Robert, out of all patience, used so violent an effort to get it free, that the blade snapped in the middle, and, starting up in a passion, he dashed the stool violently against the ground. Philip laughed aloud.

"Insolent plebeian!" exclaimed Lord Robert; "do you presume to insult me?"

"Lord Robert Summers," replied Philip, "I would advise you to remember, that you are neither in your father's park, nor on the deck of the Diomede, where your imperious temper might be feared and indulged: but here we are equals; and any outrage, either of words or actions, shall meet with instant chastisement. I would therefore advise your Lordship to be more guarded in your language, for it may be followed by consequences which you may not approve!"

"Villain!" retorted Lord Robert, "do you forget that I am your commanding officer?"

"No!" returned Philip, becoming greatly agitated as certain recollections crossed his mind; "no:—you have put it out of my power ever to forget that you were once enabled to gratify your ungenerous malice to the utmost stretch of your power. Basely and cruelly did you trample on me, when you knew that to resist the authority you abused was impossible. I was your victim, but am so no longer! And," continued he, advancing very close to Lord Robert, "beware how you provoke me to take such signal vengeance for all the injuries you have inflicted on me, as shall teach your proud heart to rue the hour that ever you made Philip Harley the companion of your voyage!"

There was an expression so terrible in Philip's eyes as he spoke these words, that Lord Robert, stout-hearted as he was, (and there never was a braver officer,) changed colour; but in a moment recovering his intrepid spirit and haughty bearing, he flashed back a look of defiance, and assumed a posture of defence.

"It is unnecessary," said Philip; "I am not going to attack you. You have in many contests proved the strength of this arm: that it always was superior to yours, I scarcely need remind you. That your late injuries have not unnerved it, you may well believe; but, as long as you observe a temperate line of conduct, and discontinue addressing me by opprobrious names, you need not fear its force."

"Fear!" repeated Lord Robert indignantly: "I fear God; and have no other fear! Dost thou imagine that I fear aught like thee?"

"Perhaps not," replied Philip; "but I would advise you not to provoke me unnecessarily."

So saying, he retired within his hut, leaving Lord Robert speechless with contending emotions. He was indeed much ruffled by the short but fierce altercation which had passed between himself and young Harley; and the more so, when he reflected that Philip's bodily strength was superior to his own, and that his high rank would be of no avail to him in this desolate place, as Philip had very unceremoniously told him: and as his own conscience whispered that he had formerly offered him the most dreadful provocation, he could scarcely be astonished if Philip, now that he was the more powerful, should meditate retaliation, and take, as he threatened, unbounded vengeance for all that he had suffered on board the Diomede and elsewhere.

He was reluctant to abandon this sheltered and beautiful spot; but he preferred returning to his dreary cleft in the rock, to residing in the valley, where Philip had erected his dwelling; considering the heat and barrenness of the rest of the island as far less evils than the company of Philip, whose very sight, after the threats he had used, was most intolerable to him: and Lord Robert felt that he could not bend his haughty spirit to practise the civility and moderation which Philip had recommended, lest this behaviour should be construed into fear of his superior force. On the other hand, he reflected that if he persisted in his natural imperiousness, so far as to provoke Philip to a personal contest with him, the languor incidental to the climate had so much enervated him, that, to maintain a combat with such an adversary as young Harley had often proved himself to be, with the slightest prospect of success, was impossible, and would only expose him to insult and contempt, and perhaps even to more disgraceful treatment, from his justly incensed enemy. To avoid such consequences, he judged it most suitable to his dignity to retire; and, whistling to Neptune to follow him, he slowly and sullenly returned to the beach, leaving Philip in uninterrupted possession of the Valley of Limes.

Though Philip, still smarting under the remembrance of the many injuries he had received from Lord Robert, had, on the haughty expressions of contempt uttered by that young officer, used threats which were most irritating to his proud spirit, he by no means designed to proceed to personal hostilities; for Philip was, in spite of all his faults, too really generous to exert in this instance the advantages his superior strength gave him; and he was far from intending to drive his companion in misfortune from the only spot in the island capable of affording him any of the comforts of life. In short, he expected that when Lord Robert had vented his displeasure in a solitary walk, he would return to the valley. When Philip's temper cooled, he began to reflect on the luxuries Lord Robert had been accustomed to from his cradle; he thought how severely his high-born adversary must feel the privations to which he was now exposed; and his heart smote him for having, by his provoking ridicule, occasioned that ebullition of feeling which had vented itself in expressions of wrathful contempt, which he, on his part, (not considering the provocation was of his own giving,) had been so ready to return; and that their mutual recriminations had induced him to utter menaces, which had driven his companion in misfortune from an employment necessary even for the preservation of his existence.

Occupied by these thoughts, Philip often paused in his work, and looked round to see if Lord Robert had returned to the valley, and listened for his step with anxiety; but he did not come. Night arrived, and Philip did not see him reposing under his favourite lime-tree; and he felt out of humour with himself, for being the cause of keeping him away.

From some uneasy self-reproaches, he did not taste at night the calm repose which generally follows a day of labour; on the contrary, he felt that evening some of those painful feelings of remorse which had so often tortured Lord Robert, but which had never been experienced by himself before; and he now remembered that, though Lord Robert had ill-treated him, yet there was a difference in their rank, and that it was brutal in him to threaten a high-spirited and elegant young man with personal violence when they were united in the same distress: and that Lord Robert's contemptuous expressions were caused by his laughter at that which was a serious misfortune to his high-born foe; namely, his want of skill in mechanics, and the mischance of breaking his knife, the loss of which was irreparable, and would perhaps deprive him, on some occasions, even of the means of procuring food.

Philip would have repaired to the beach, to see what had become of Lord Robert; but he thought it probable that some new cause of offence might arise between them. However, in the afternoon, he had occasion to visit the beach to search for some pieces of wreck. When he reached the shore, he found there had been a very high tide the preceding night, and many articles were scattered on the sand; as staves, pieces of rope, and splinters from the mast. These Philip carefully collected, and placed above high-water mark, lest they should be washed to sea again. In the course of this important avocation, he approached the cave where Lord Robert had again taken up his residence: but he had been too busily engaged to think of him, till his eye was attracted by the flash of his epaulet in the evening sun; and he saw him, at a little distance, bending over some employment, in which he was too much occupied to perceive the approach of Philip, who was tempted to draw near enough to ascertain what it was that so deeply engaged his attention; but he did so somewhat cautiously, lest he should again give offence. He soon was near enough to discover that Lord Robert's employment was that of digging a grave in the sand, with a butt-stave, and near him lay the bodies of five seamen, which the high tide had washed on shore, close to the entrance of Lord Robert's cave. Philip felt a bitter pang as he gazed on the lifeless remains of his unfortunate messmates; and seizing another stave, he placed himself opposite to Lord Robert, and began to assist in the sad duty; but neither spoke.

One of the bodies was that of a midshipman, whom Lord Robert had loved; and as he now proceeded to place his remains in the narrow bed he had scooped for him with so much toil, his tears fell fast on the face of the deceased. When he attempted to raise him from the shingle, to lay him decently in the grave, the effort was too much for him. Philip immediately sprang forwards and assisted him, otherwise the corpse would have fallen from his grasp. He did not reject the aid of his foe; but he did not even glance at him in return. In silence they began their melancholy task; in silence they proceeded in it; and the moon had risen high and shone with splendour by the time they had dug the last grave, when unfortunately, as they placed the seaman in the "house appointed for all living," Philip recognised his features: it was the boatswain of the Diomede! A crowd of agonizing feelings passed through Philip's breast, as he recollected that from this man's hand he had received such disgraceful punishment. He first turned pale, and then scarlet; and it recurred to his mind, that this person had only been the passive instrument obeying the orders of others.

"It was thy malice, tyrant! that added this worst wrong to all the rest," thought he. True, he did not utter these words: but he regarded Lord Robert with a look, in which hatred and rage were but too visibly painted to escape his Lordship's observation, though he was ignorant of the cause of it; but he thought it shocking of Philip to take the opportunity of insulting him at such an awful time, particularly when he had condescended to permit his assistance; and he returned Philip's indignant look in so disdainful a manner, that, scarcely conscious that he was the first himself to renew hostilities, Philip took fire, and provokingly reminded his Lordship "that his haughty looks were useless, when directed to him; and he advised him to reserve them for those who cared for them, if he could find any such in the island."

"To the full as many as will endure your low-bred insolence," returned Lord Robert with equal scorn. "However, Mr. Harley, if I might condescend to speak to you in the language of entreaty, it would be to request the favour of your absence. You have taken possession of the only habitable spot in the island, and I have not attempted to deprive you of it; and I think the least you can do, in return for my moderation, is to leave me undisturbed on my barren domain."

"If all my security were the moderation of Lord Robert Summers," replied Philip with a contemptuous laugh, "I should be as soon driven from my dwelling here as I was forced from the home of my parents: but here I can, by the strength of my own right hand, maintain my rights; and whoever attempts to invade them, may chance to repent of his folly."

As Philip uttered this threat, he finished casting the last heap of sand on the boatswain's grave; on which, apparently exhausted with fatigue, Lord Robert had seated himself. The sight of these bodies had recalled the fate of his uncle, and he had been lately weeping bitterly; and when young Harley observed his tearful eyes, and the evident languor and despondency visible in his whole appearance, his conscience again smote him; he remembered what he had so lately suffered from self-reproach; and he reflected, that if he so much abused the mere bodily superiority his strength gave him, it was by no means wonderful that when Lord Robert possessed so much power, he should exert it when offended.

He paused, and looked earnestly at Lord Robert. The moon shone brightly on his face; the flush of resentment had faded from it; and he looked so ill, and there was such an expression of hopeless dejection in his eyes, that Philip was greatly touched; and he even thought of apologizing to him for what he had lately said, and of entreating him to return with him to the Valley of Limes. While he yet hesitated, Lord Robert looked up, and waved his hand impatiently for him to be gone: and Philip, finding that the conquest of his own pride was too great an effort to be made at that time, retired to his home, self-condemned and unhappy.

Lord Robert continued sitting on the grave, in a listless attitude, leaning his head on his hand, almost unconscious that he was alone. The faintness and languor which had been for some time stealing on him, seemed so wholly overpowering, as even to take away the inclination of retorting Philip's last innuendo; but now, though the words still rang upon his ear, and he fully understood their meaning to comprise reproach, insult, and threat, either of which was sufficient to put his proud spirit in a flame, yet he was conscious of a growing confusion in his own mind, which seemed to prevent his forming a suitable reply; and, for the first time in his life, he found himself unwilling to continue the war of words. He felt an impatient desire of quiet; and, forgetful that Philip would most likely pay no attention to his mandate, he motioned for him to retire, with no little of his habitual air of superiority. Philip, however, did obey in this instance. Lord Robert, after some minutes, raised his aching head from his hand, and, looking round to see if he were gone, uttered an expression of satisfaction at finding himself alone.

Lord Robert's naturally fine constitution had been greatly impaired since his residence in the island, by the pain of mind he had suffered from the loss of his uncle and friends, the remorse he felt for his numerous errors, joined to his discontent and impatience at being placed in a situation so uncongenial to all his former habits. Besides, he suffered from the hardships which he was forced to endure: sleeping on the flinty rock, or passing the night on the turf under the lime-tree—a most unhealthy practice—for the dews were very heavy, and, in common to all hot countries, very noxious to those who were exposed to their influence.

He had lost his hat when the boat was overset; and, trivial as this loss may appear to the natives of a temperate climate, it was attended with very painful consequences to Lord Robert, on whose head the rays of the sun fell with unmitigated violence, and occasioned him the most acute headache whenever he was exposed to the noon-day heat. After his retreat from the Valley of Limes, he had for many hours paced the beach in a tumult of rage, with the perpendicular rays of a tropical sun darting on his uncovered head. The night he had passed without sleep; and, early in the morning, he found the remains of the unfortunate seamen. He was ill and feverish; and it was only by a strong effort that he so far overcame his painful languor as to attempt the necessary but mournful task of giving them burial.

Notwithstanding the heat of the day, and the toilsome task he was engaged in, he experienced repeated fits of shivering; the burning rays of the sun pouring on his head, though they occasioned the most acute pain, failed to impart warmth to his frame. This was accompanied with so strong a disinclination to move, that he several times paused in the course of digging the first grave; and, yielding to the sickly lassitude which oppressed him, he retired to his cave; but that commanding a full view of the poor seamen, the dreadful sight roused him from his inactivity, and again he proceeded in his mournful work. He had scarcely completed digging one grave with great toil and pain, and was wondering how it would be possible for him, ill as he was, to go through the whole business of interment, when Philip appeared and afforded his powerful aid. This was too valuable to be rejected; and he felt grateful for the silent manner in which he tendered his assistance and worked by his side; and he was about to thank him for his services, when, on raising his head for that purpose, he caught the offensive look which has already been mentioned. Lord Robert, lost in his own sad thoughts, did not perceive the reason of this. Had he, indeed, recognised the features of the boatswain in the person they were burying, perhaps the same idea might have occurred to him. But, after having interred his friend, he had sedulously averted his eyes from the faces of the dead. Ignorant, therefore, of Philip's motives for renewed indignation, he returned his hostile glance, and the second contention ensued.

The rest of the night Lord Robert passed in a sort of stupor, seated on the boatswain's grave; from which he felt unable to rise through extreme exhaustion. The first rays of the sun drove him for shelter to the cave. His thirst was excessive; and he had no means of allaying it, unless he proceeded either to the Valley of Limes or the spring of water. The remembrance of Philip induced him to prefer the latter; and thither, with some difficulty, he crept rather than walked. Having drank profusely, he filled a large shell for a supply in the cave; for he thought it probable he should never be able to perform another journey to the stream; and slowly and faintly returned to his comfortless dwelling in the rock. The chills of the preceding day had terminated in the burning heat of raging fever; and as he retraced his melancholy steps through the sand, which reflected the intolerable rays of the sun to his eyes, and surveyed the barren rocks and frightful basalts of which the island was composed, he with a bitter sigh recalled the verdure of his father's park, and the shades of his native groves which bounded that beautiful domain.

"But these," said Lord Robert, "I shall never see again: I shall perish on this arid, frightful spot, without a living creature near who cares for me, except my poor Neptune!—And you, my tender mother, who are so benevolently solicitous to provide comforts for the sick poor, what would be your feelings, could you see your unhappy son stretched on this burning flint!" continued he, as entering the rocky chamber, he sank exhausted on the floor. He thought his death was near; yet he felt far from being in a proper frame of mind to die. Like too many of the young and thoughtless, if he were not profane, he was careless in matters of religion; in this awful moment, a thousand instances of neglect and offence against his Creator occurred to his mind; and he felt that he would have given worlds, had he possessed them, for a few hours of the time he had so often abused.

He recollected, too, with bitter regret, his pride, imperiousness, and implacability of disposition; of this, his conduct to young Harley was a frightful instance; he vainly wished he could have recalled the past, but that was not in his power; and he felt it very doubtful, if for him a future in this world would be granted. The present was all he could call his own; and it behoved him to make the best use he could of the precious moments that were yet allowed him to make his peace with God. But, alas! the confusion incidental to fever had already attacked his brain; and, though he felt the necessity of penitence and prayer, it was no longer in his power to collect his wandering thoughts, so as to raise a single petition to the Throne of Mercy. He was sensible that he was on the brink of eternity; yet the minutes passed rapidly away, leaving his mind in a state between reason and delirium, yet conscious of his danger, and the importance of that time which was ebbing from him for ever.

His bodily sufferings, too, were dreadful. Burning with fever, he had no means of quenching his thirst—he had long since drained the last drop from the shell, and could not replenish it; for the next morning saw him raving in delirium, or sunk in long and death-like fits of stupor, from which his faithful Neptune strove in vain to arouse him by his caresses.

Philip, in the mean time, had returned to his comfortable hut in the Valley of Limes, and laid himself down to rest; but the image of Lord Robert, pale and languid as he had seen him seated on the boatswain's grave after their last altercation, pursued him when awake, and haunted his slumbers when he closed his eyes in sleep. In the morning, Philip sedulously pursued his useful employments, to divert these painful thoughts. He had discovered on the other side of the island some grass, the only natural production of the place, growing in long, dry, silky tufts out of the clefts of the rocks. He had cut several bundles of this grass, and braided it into a soft, thick mat; this mat he had fixed on a frame-work which he had made, and formed it into a most comfortable couch, rolling one end of the mat over for a pillow. He was so completely occupied and pleased with this employment, that he did not think of Lord Robert, till, on stretching his limbs upon this excellent bed, he remembered how differently his unfortunate enemy would sleep that night. He recollected that he had seen nothing of him in the Valley of Limes that day; and when he recalled the reproaches and threats he had used the day before, and reflected on Lord Robert's high spirit, he thought it probable that he would endure every suffering, rather than improve his condition by procuring anything from that spot. Of Neptune, Philip had seen nothing since the preceding day, when he had once visited the valley, and begged for a share of his dinner; for Lord Robert had peevishly chidden the dog for his importunities; indeed, he had nothing to give him, being too ill to go in search of food. Philip, who was very fond of Neptune, and had been accustomed to caress him when Lord Robert was out of sight, had fed him, and expected to see him again, but he did not come; and Philip thought it likely that Lord Robert was very ill; and he again bitterly regretted having used such expressions as had driven him from the valley.

The next day, Philip again visited the beach, where he had never been before in the meridian heat of the day, and when he experienced the blinding effects of the sunbeams, which soon occasioned him to feel, though in a lesser degree, one of those headaches that had continually tortured his more delicate rival, he wondered where Lord Robert could find shelter from the intense heat. Actuated by more humane motives than mere curiosity, he continued to pace the beach, determining not to return till he had seen Lord Robert. For some time he pursued his solitary walk, without discovering the object of his research. The sight of the seamen's graves redoubled his pain of mind. When he remembered the hopeless dejection visible in Lord Robert's face, so different from his usual animated expression of countenance, and combined it with the illness so apparent in his whole person, the thought crossed his mind, that he might have expired without a human creature near him. Philip shuddered as this dreadful idea presented itself. He was busy with self-accusing thoughts, when he paused before Lord Robert's cave, wishing, yet unwilling, to enter, when Neptune sprang from the interior part of it, and bounding round him, looked up wistfully in his face, and returned, as if to invite him to follow. This Philip could not prevail on himself to do. After waiting a few minutes, Neptune came again; and, laying hold of his jacket with his teeth, endeavoured to draw him into the cave—looking at him in such an imploring manner, that Philip could no longer resist his entreaties, not withstanding the reluctance he felt at intruding himself into Lord Robert's presence.

On entering the cave he beheld the unfortunate young nobleman stretched on the flinty floor in a stupor, so nearly resembling death, that Philip started back in horror; and so much had the violence of the disorder changed the appearance of his once beautiful countenance, that his dearest friends would scarcely have recognised his convulsed and livid features. On a second glance, Philip discovered that he still breathed, but was unconscious of his approach. His heavy eyes, half closed and fixed, had lost their expression of spirit and intelligence; his lips appeared parched and burning; and his light brown ringlets hung in disordered profusion, tangled and neglected, over his forehead.

At this heart-rending sight, Philip, forgetful of the enmity that had subsisted between him and the unhappy sufferer, turned away, and wept bitterly. It was with feelings of the most bitter compunction he recalled the altercation that had passed over the boatswain's grave—particularly when he experienced the stifling closeness of the cave, where he felt a difficulty in respiring; and reflected, that his menaces had had the effect of driving Lord Robert from the only temperate spot on the island.

Philip could form some idea of his Lordship's sufferings, from the recollection of an autumnal fever which had attacked him in his childhood, and nearly brought him to the brink of the grave; he remembered how much he had suffered from thirst, and the relief he had felt from some ices which the Marchioness, Lord Robert's mother, had brought him in her carriage. That noble lady had supplied him with the most delicate fruits from the hothouse; and his mother believed that these ices and fruits, which he took with so much avidity, had saved his life.

"And yet," said Philip, "wretch that I am! I see her darling son, through the criminal indulgence of my resentful feelings towards him, reduced to a state so deplorable, that, if his fond mother could behold him, the sight would kill her."

Here Philip was interrupted by Lord Robert's trying to articulate something; but so very faint was the attempt, that it was not till he had knelt down by his side, and raised his head on his arm, that he could catch his imperfect accents, or distinguish what he intended to express. Alas! it was but one word—"Water!" and that repeated incessantly, in tones of agony, which Philip, some years after that melancholy period, declared that night and day he strove in vain to forget: and at that moment, when he beheld the parched and blackening lips from which those sounds proceeded, they pierced his heart with an anguish no tongue can describe. Fortunately he had a lime in his pocket, with the juice of which he moistened the sufferer's mouth. Some minutes elapsed before this appeared to have the least effect; but at length his Lordship became conscious of the relief, and swallowed with avidity the cooling fluid; and, opening his languid eyes, he turned them on Philip with an expression of gratitude which overpaid him for his exertions. It was evident, however, that he took him for some other person; for, extending his arms towards him, he called him "Augustus! his beloved brother!" and besought him in the most pathetic manner, "to remove him from that horrid place, and to let him have a better bed than the hard one on which he lay, which he assured him had sadly bruised his body."

"Alas! poor sufferer!" said Philip, "if you knew to whom you were addressing these tender names and moving petitions for assistance, your proud spirit would make you reject my aid with scorn, and you would perish rather than accept it."

"However," continued he, "though I fear my help comes too late, yet you shall at least die in a more comfortable place than this dreary cave."

So saying, with some exertion of his strength, he raised the sufferer, who had again relapsed into a state of insensibility, from the ground; and, taking him in his arms, he proceeded to carry him to the Valley of Limes.

The touch of his dry and burning hand gave a sensation of pain to Philip, when it came in contact with his own, and his head dropped in powerless languor on his shoulder. Philip rested by the spring of water, and bathed Lord Robert's face and hands in the cool element: this seemed to revive him a little, and he drank eagerly from a shell of water which Philip held to his burning lips. Had it not been for this refreshment, the sufferer must have expired from thirst and exhaustion before they arrived at the valley. As it was, he appeared to endure so much pain from his exposure to the heat of the sun, that Philip uttered an expression of thankfulness when he reached the shelter of the hut, and laid his helpless burden on the couch of matting within it. But Lord Robert had swooned from weakness and fatigue, and lay for many hours without motion or sensation.

Philip now busied himself in procuring a large supply both of water and limes; and, mixing the juice of the limes in water, continually bathed the sufferer's hands and temples with this refreshing liquid, watching anxiously for returning life. The next day Lord Robert opened his eyes, and expressed his surprise and pleasure at finding his condition so much improved. But his reason was lost in delirium; he talked incessantly; and, addressing Philip by the name of his brother, bestowed on him the most endearing expressions of affection and described to him the particulars of his illness, and all his dreadful privations, in a manner pathetically minute.

Philip, deeply interested, and forgetting that he spoke under the influence of delirium, anxiously exclaimed, "Why did you not return to the Valley of Limes?"—"Because," replied his Lordship, wholly unconscious to whom he spoke, "I was ill and alone, and totally unable to cope with that insolent Harley, who menaced me with his superior strength."

Philip started at hearing his name so mentioned; and Lord Robert continued at intervals to speak on this subject, sometimes passionately blaming himself; and at other times, with all the inconsistency of delirium, bitterly complaining of Philip.

Philip was greatly surprised and agitated, when, after much unconnected wandering, Lord Robert said: "You, Augustus, always blamed me about that Philip Harley, and said you knew him to be an estimable youth, and that he had been hardly used through a prejudice I had against him; but what would you have thought, Augustus, had you seen him clench his hand and threaten your unhappy brother with personal ill-treatment, when he was too ill to defend himself from his violence?"

Philip blushed deeply when he heard this; for he remembered using this gesture in the vehemence of his last wrathful address to Lord Robert; and now that he found how ill he had been at that time, he felt doubly ashamed of having suffered himself to be so transported by passion.

From these self-reproaches he was again roused by Lord Robert's speaking; but he had wandered to a different subject, and evidently imagined himself at his own home, for he demanded "ices, peaches, and strawberries," in a tone of feverish impatience; and Philip was at a loss how to satisfy these cravings; but when at last Lord Robert mentioned "grapes," Philip remembered those that were ripening on the roof of the hut, and hastened to see if any were fit to eat; though his patient, in a tone of displeasure, called him to return and send a servant to execute his orders, for he did not choose to be left alone. This was, however, unavoidable; and in a moment he returned with a rich cluster, perfectly ripe. Lord Robert eagerly seized them, with an exclamation of joy; but he was reduced to such a state of weakness, that he was unable to convey them to his mouth; and resigning the cluster to Philip, begged him to feed him. Philip obeyed, and attended to all his whims with the greatest patience. At length, exhausted by the volubility of delirium, he sank again into a death-like stupor, in which he lay, without sense or motion, the whole of the night, and till the next day was far advanced.

Philip, who had continued to bathe his hands and face at intervals, perceived by the painful motion of his lips that he wanted something to drink. Philip raised his head, and supported it on his bosom, while he held to his lips a shell full of the juice of limes and grapes. Lord Robert drank this delicious beverage eagerly; then opening his eyes, which Philip thought would never again have unclosed, he looked up in his face, as if to thank him for the relief; and Philip saw by the expression of wonder and astonishment in those eyes, so lately fixed and rayless, that he knew him, and was no longer under the influence of delirium. A deep crimson mounted to his pallid cheek, as he said—"Harley, I don't deserve this kindness at your hands:" and with a deep sigh he again relapsed into insensibility. The sound of his voice, and the manner in which he pronounced this short sentence, thrilled to Philip's heart; and he hung over him with a tender interest, watching the progress of his disorder with the most intense anxiety. Philip had been little accustomed to witness illness: he had scarcely ever watched by a sick-bed, with the exception of the illness of his sister, who had died; but death had laid so gentle a hand on her, that her decease rather resembled the withering of a flower than the passage of a mortal to the grave: far different from the terrific advances of a raging tropical fever, which brought Lord Robert, through stages of exquisite suffering, nearly to the eve of dissolution.

The sight of these sufferings had extinguished the last spark of animosity in Philip's bosom; and it was with feelings nearly allied to those with which he contemplated the death-bed of that beloved sister, that he awaited the termination of Lord Robert's disorder. That it would be fatal he doubted not, for he watched in vain for a second interval of reason; but day after day passed, without the slightest intermission of suffering; but the fever seemed rather to increase in violence, and his Lordship's wanderings from reason assumed a more gloomy character, in which the most unbounded expressions of self-reproach had a principal share. No longer petulant and impatient, he appeared sunk in the deepest despondency; and this turn in the disease alarmed Philip more than his most extravagant fits of raving. It was truly awful to see a fellow-creature, and, alas! a very erring one, on the brink of eternity, without a ray of reason being granted him to prepare to meet his great account. It then occurred to Philip, that many of the faults of which the unhappy sufferer accused himself, had been occasioned by his own pertinacity in throwing himself in his way, and provoking him to violent conduct; by that means setting his fiery temper in a blaze, and causing his evil passions to be ever uppermost, till they prompted him to commit those injuries for which he now suffered the most bitter remorse.

"Had I avoided him half as carefully as I sought him," exclaimed Philip, "he would soon have forgotten an individual so much beneath his own rank. I am accountable for many of his errors. True, he abused his power on board the Diomede; but how have I behaved since our residence on this island?"

Philip pursued these self-accusing reflections as he was kneeling by Lord Robert's side, and fanning him with the wing of a sea-fowl, which Neptune had brought him the day before. The weather had been intensely hot, and attended with thunder and lightning; but as the day declined, some heavy rain descended, which had the effect of cooling the burning earth. This salutary change produced an alteration in Lord Robert, who opening his eyes, gazed round him in indescribable astonishment. At last he said, "Where am I? How came I here?"

"Be composed, my Lord," said Philip, much agitated; for he had long dreaded the moment when Lord Robert would ask this question, and he had meditated to address such words to him as would soothe his proud feelings; but he found that he could not speak; he only regarded his Lordship with a troubled countenance, dropping the feathers with which, till now, he had continued to fan him.

"Harley," said Lord Robert, the flush of fever fading to a deadly paleness as he spoke, "I now comprehend my situation; cease to oppress me with this unmerited kindness!" Then speaking in a less collected manner: "No! it must not be! I have injured you too deeply! Go, leave the oppressor to die alone; I saw you suffering, and did not pity you; and it is not fit for the merciless to receive mercy!"

He turned away his face, and covered it with his emaciated hands; but Philip knew, by the convulsive heaving of his bosom, that he was weeping. Philip, from a feeling of delicacy, withdrew to a little distance, to avoid the intrusive appearance of watching Lord Robert's emotions; and he feared to increase his agitation, or offend his proud spirit, by even offering a word of comfort. Yet his caution was unnecessary, for the tears Lord Robert shed were not those of humbled pride, but they were those of a broken and contrite spirit; they were such tears as would occasion joy in Heaven, for they were those of true penitence; and Lord Robert was not ashamed of indulging in them, neither did he seek to conceal their traces from Philip, when he turned his eyes towards him, and motioned him to approach.

"Harley," said he, "can you forgive me?"

"Ah, my Lord," said Philip, "I have to the full as much reason to ask your forgiveness. We have both erred, from the indulgence of an implacable temper; and if you repent of your offences as much as I have done of my trespasses against you, we may both be, in future, more acceptable in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, to whom 'hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness,' are most offensive."

"Harley," said his Lordship, "you are too generous! How could I so cruelly persecute one capable of such noble conduct!"

"Cease to accuse yourself, my Lord; you are too ill to continue this agitating conversation," said Philip, observing Lord Robert look very pale.

"No," returned Lord Robert; "I feel my thoughts begin to grow confused! This may be the last interval of reason vouchsafed me; and I would willingly make use of it to assure you that I die at peace with you, and blessing you; and may your last hours be sweetened by the remembrance of your generous conduct to your enemy! When I am no more, save a lock of my hair, and give it to my mother when you return to England, which you will soon have an opportunity of doing. Tell her, if I wished to live, it was to see her again, and to confess to my father that I had been guilty of prejudicing him against you, Harley, by misrepresenting the reason of our first quarrel, which was the cause of your being pressed. Tell me, sincerely, can you forgive me for that, Harley?"

"I can—I do!" replied Philip, approaching close to the couch; "and, in proof that your Lordship exchanges forgiveness with me, give me your hand." Lord Robert threw himself into his arms, and Philip felt his tears wet his bosom. Yet at that moment each felt happier than he had done for months before. But Philip became painfully anxious for the invalid, the violence of whose emotions brought on a fresh access of fever. He began again to talk wildly, and Philip strove in vain to repress his ravings, till at length he sank into a death-like stupor, scarcely giving any symptom of animation.

Philip now entertained the greatest apprehensions for his Lordship's life, and was himself surprised at the pain he felt at the idea of losing him. He had evinced such full and noble contrition for his errors, that Philip, forgetting all his injuries, wondered how he had ever borne a hatred so bitter against him. That hatred had, indeed, changed gradually into an affection so warm, that he was ready to impute to his own faulty temper the blame of all that had passed. "And, oh!" said he, as he hung over the couch where Lord Robert lay, apparently unconscious of his presence, "who could think that I, who now watch so anxiously every change of his pallid countenance, could once have taken delight in provoking him to fight with me, and then took a savage pleasure in aiming my blows at his face, and disfiguring his fine features with the marks of my violence? Ruffian that I was!"

Here a gentle pressure from the hand he held in his, convinced him that Lord Robert was sensible, and had heard this soliloquy. Philip started and coloured at this idea; and Lord Robert said in a faint voice:—

"If you, my dear Harley, so severely accuse yourself for what was a just retaliation for my unfeeling arrogance, what must be my feelings of self-condemnation for my conduct on board the Diomede, on which I cannot think without agony?"

"Never think of it again, my Lord," said Philip, to whom the appellation of "dear Harley" had given a sensation of the greatest pleasure; "let me beg you never again to agitate yourself by a painful remembrance of what is past: I would endure much to see you well and happy."

After some time, Philip succeeded in soothing his patient into some degree of composure; and at length he had the satisfaction of seeing him sink into a profound sleep. Then, being worn out with anxious watching and fatigue, he threw himself on the ground, and enjoyed a calm and refreshing slumber. When he awoke, it was about sunrise; and seeing Lord Robert still asleep, he went out to get a supply of fruit and turtle. On his return, he found Lord Robert awake and evidently better; for he was returning the caresses of Neptune, who certainly had deserved his fondness, for he had been almost as watchful and abstinent, and as attentive to his master's sufferings, as Philip himself. The patient extended his hand towards Philip as he entered, who hastened to him and inquired tenderly, "how long he had been awake, and how he found himself?"

"Long enough to miss you, and well enough to thank you for your unwearied kindness," said Lord Robert, with a melancholy smile. Philip respectfully took the hand that was extended towards him; and, after expressing his pleasure at seeing him so much recovered, began to busy himself in procuring him all the comforts in his power. Lord Robert, for the first time since his illness, was able to raise himself to wash his hands and face in some water which Philip brought him in a turtle-shell. After this grateful refreshment, he attempted with his pocket-comb to disentangle his ruffled and matted hair; but his hands trembled so much from weakness, that he sank exhausted on the couch. Philip took the comb from his hands, and with great care and patience succeeded in smoothing and reducing to their natural order these refractory ringlets. Lord Robert repeatedly bade him give himself no farther trouble, but take his knife and cut them off as well as he could. But Philip did not like to spoil the fine hair which Lord Robert had once been proud of; and had the Marchioness herself presided at this operation, it could not have been more tenderly performed than by the hands of this young sailor; and his patient appeared to derive great benefit from this attention to his personal comforts, though reduced to a state of infantine weakness.

Lord Robert now rapidly improved in health, and was soon enabled, with the assistance of Philip's arm, to walk in the Valley of Limes in the cool of the morning. Notwithstanding this improvement, however, Philip continued to attend on him with the most assiduous care; and even when he was in a state of convalescence, still performed for him all those little offices which he knew Lord Robert had been accustomed to have done for him by his attendants, though his Lordship did not wish to consider himself entitled to such services in his present situation.

One morning, Philip arose much earlier than usual. On his return from the beach with a load of wreck, he was much surprised, not only to see Lord Robert up and dressed, but employing himself in preparing the breakfast. Philip threw down his load and ran to him, exclaiming, "Why, my Lord, did you rise till I was ready to assist you to dress? And, above all, why do you fatigue yourself by an employment so little suitable to your rank?"

"Hush! hush! my dear Harley," returned Lord Robert, laying his hand playfully on Philip's lips. "Not a word about my useless rank now! Remember we are equals here!"

"Alas! my Lord," said Philip dejectedly, "I perceive you have not wholly forgiven me, or you would not repeat my impertinence."

"Which had much truth in it, though I took it so ill at the time," said Lord Robert, laughing. "However, Harley, without wishing to refer to unpleasant occurrences, or designing to wound your feelings, (which I should be a most ungrateful, cold-hearted fellow, were I to do,) I must tell you, that I cannot consent to be attended on with the same deference as if I were his Britannic Majesty in retirement,—at least, while I have done nothing to merit such distinction."

"Ah! my Lord," said Philip, "if you knew the pleasure which the performance of these little services affords me, you would not wish to deprive me of it: and, indeed, nothing but your absolute prohibition shall prevent me from continuing them."

"You are a noble-minded fellow, Harley; but it is not for me to talk of prohibiting or commanding here, where I am your superior in nothing——"

"Again, my Lord!" said Philip, turning away.

"Where," answered his Lordship, "I am your inferior in everything, and am so much in love with your just way of thinking, and noble independence, that I would willingly imitate both; and, my dear Philip, you must not take it ill, if I refuse to live by your labours while I have hands of my own. Tell me, Harley, will you accept such an awkward fellow as I have proved myself to be, for your pupil?"

"I cannot refuse you anything," said Philip; "but while you are so debilitated from your long illness, you neither must nor shall do anything to fatigue yourself."

So saying, he proceeded to serve up the turtle which Lord Robert had stewed for breakfast; reproaching him, as he did so, for demeaning himself by performing the office of a cook.

Lord Robert, laughing, told him that it encouraged him not a little in his design of becoming useful, to observe that his last attempt of that kind had succeeded so much better than his first. "But," continued he, "perseverance overcomes all difficulties; and before long, I may become as good a carpenter as I have this morning proved myself a cook."

Philip shook his head, and looked grave.

"So you doubt my abilities," continued Lord Robert, who would not understand him; "now that is mortifying, Harley! But I forgive you, considering that the circumstance of the three-legged stool could not have impressed you with a very favourable opinion of my genius in such matters."

"Let me entreat your Lordship never to allude to my conduct in that affair again," said Philip.

"Now, on the contrary," returned Lord Robert gaily, "I have serious thoughts of fetching the aforesaid stool from under the tree where I so petulantly flung it; and of soliciting you to lend me that rule and saw, which I so rudely refused when you would have permitted me to make use of them to correct my blunders; which was very generous on your part, considering how awkwardly I handled my only tool, and how easily I might have injured yours."

Philip was astonished at the ease and frankness with which Lord Robert spoke of these circumstances, but again implored him not to allude to the past.

"Had you told me anything but the truth," replied Lord Robert, "perhaps I might be excused if I repeated your remarks with displeasure. But the lesson was too salutary to be forgotten. In common with many of high birth, I have been too much accustomed to the language of flattery, instead of that of truth and justice; till, forgetting the relative obligations of society, and never checking the defects of my temper, I was led to commit outrages on every one who did not yield a blind submission to my whims. You, Harley, have opened my eyes to my faults; and it will, in future, be my constant study to correct them, convinced, as I now am, of the folly of trusting to rank and riches alone for influence and consideration among my fellow-creatures."

The day after this conversation, Lord Robert was well enough to accompany Philip to the beach, to seek for turtles' eggs. In this search they wandered to a different part of the island, and Lord Robert discovered, at a little distance, something dark and large heaving among the surf; he called Philip's attention to it, who soon got it on shore; and they found it to be a chest belonging to some of the unfortunate crew of the Diomede: it was heavy, but Philip soon carried it to the hut.

"What do you think it contains?" said Lord Robert, as Philip was forcing the lid.

"Tools, I hope," said Philip; "for the chest is weighty." And as he spoke, he used so powerful an effort that the lid gave way to his force.

"Not tools, but books!" exclaimed Lord Robert, highly delighted at the sight which presented itself on Philip's removing the lid. Philip, however, was disappointed.

"Tools would have been of unspeakable service," said he, almost vexed at the joy Lord Robert expressed at the sight of the books.

"But these will be of infinitely more service," replied Lord Robert, taking one of the books and turning to the title-page; but his lip quivered as he read the name there written, which was "Lucius Cary."

"Alas! poor Cary!" said he, in an altered tone of voice; "was it your chest that we thought ourselves so fortunate in finding, and that we opened with such glee?"

Philip, deeply affected, softly closed the lid: for they both were in too melancholy a mood to continue to examine the contents of the chest; nor was it till several days had passed that they assumed firmness enough to open it again.

They found in this chest a complete set of mathematical instruments, and a small but valuable selection of books, fitting for the library of a young officer; comprising the choicest works on navigation, astronomy, and geometry; and two or three volumes of poetry and history. Some of these were wetted by the sea-water, but Lord Robert carefully spread them to dry. They also found a few changes of linen, an undress jacket or two; and Lord Robert drew forth with much grief, from a corner of the chest, Cary's flute.

"This," said he, "should I ever be permitted to revisit my native country, I will carry to England, and keep as long as I live, in memory of our deceased friend."

Though they were in sad want of linen and clothes, Lord Robert felt a pang of regret when he saw Philip busy in removing his epaulet to Cary's half-uniform jacket, and laying out for his use some of his shirts and cravats, which, however, were of the greatest use to him, and highly beneficial to his health.

Soon after this, the rainy season set in, which is usual to these latitudes; and now they found a source of delight and advantage in the books which had been so opportunely thrown in their way. Lord Robert was an accomplished young man; he had received a most superior education; and was not only perfect in all acquirements befitting his rank, but had made a considerable progress in those sciences which are necessary to be known in order to obtain perfection in naval duties.[5]

This knowledge he was desirous of imparting to young Harley, who, at Lord Roberts earnest request, became his pupil in geometry and nautical astronomy, and improved rapidly under his tuition.

This was to Philip the happiest period of his life: he had received from his father a good plain education, which he had improved by reading the best books he could procure; but now he found the acquirement of higher branches of knowledge still more delightful; and the life he led was so calm and peaceful, and Lord Robert's society and manners were so charming, that he tasted on this island pleasure such as he had never before experienced. It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that the event which Lord Robert anticipated with much joy, should give him pain whenever he thought of it; namely, the arrival of some vessel from the coast of Africa, on its way to Brazil, which would take them from the island.

The affection which he had formed for his high-born companion was now far stronger than ever his animosity had been; and certainly Lord Robert had, since his illness, conducted himself in a manner deserving even the unbounded attachment which his lowly but warm-hearted friend testified towards him. No longer proud and irritable, his behaviour was gentle, mild, and considerate; his manners, always elegant and polished, possessed a charm altogether irresistible; and his conversation, pure, refined, and chiefly directed to intellectual subjects, was so delightful, that Philip thought his society would unfit him for any other.

As Philip had passed the greater part of his life in seclusion from those of his own age and station, his manners and mind were free from the taint which impure and corrupt society often gives; and when he was by chance thrown in contact with his equals, he shrunk with horror from vice and coarseness; and preferred, in his leisure hours, to nurse and amuse his suffering sister, or to pore over Baker's Chronicle, Drayton's Polyolbion, or Sir Walter Raleigh's History of the World, (which ancient treasures his father possessed,) to the most enlivening games of quoits or foot-ball.

The taste he had formed for mental pursuits since he had been on the island, brought with it a painful consciousness of the difference between Lord Robert's rank and his own; and he thought it very improbable, that so elegant and accomplished a young man could ever condescend to form a friendship with him, though he might retain a grateful sense of the assistance which he had subsequently rendered him.

Philip had made a pretty latticed porch to the hut, and trained the vine over it, that Lord Robert might enjoy the cool of the evening, without being exposed to the noxious effect of the dews. Here then, after spending the day in study or useful employment, they passed the evening, conversing together, or examining the starry heavens, and noting constellations, which appear very different from those of Europe. Sometimes, Lord Robert would play on Cary's flute; but though it was enchanting to listen to this music in the stillness of a moonlight evening, when all the fire-flies in the island were collected in this only spot of verdure, and were blazing round them, and everything above and around accorded so well with these sweet sounds, yet it was forbidden pleasure; for playing on the flute was injurious to Lord Robert's health; and Philip, though he loved music, and this music most of all, would often take the flute almost by force from the hands of his noble friend, who, being a fine performer, and much attached to music, never knew how to resign it in prudent time.

The happiness Philip now enjoyed was only interrupted by the pain he felt, whenever the probability was mentioned of their leaving the island. Lord Robert expected that, when certain winds set in, some vessel or other would touch at the island for water or turtle; and Philip guessed, that when they were taken from their present abode, this delightful intercourse would cease, and Lord Robert would be for ever separated from him by the forms of society. This made him feel almost pettish when he found that, when these winds commenced, Lord Robert left him for hours, and passed his time leaning against the cross on the hill, making observations through his perspective-glass; while Philip remained in the valley, employing himself for their mutual benefit. But though he felt almost angry with Lord Robert for depriving him so much of his company, yet he never presumed to remonstrate with him on this or any other subject; and when he saw him approach the valley on his return, he would forget all his repinings, and hasten to meet him, and offer his arm for his support, if he seemed faint or fatigued. It is not surprising that Lord Robert returned this tender affection with the utmost regard. He now felt the gratifying conviction, that it was not to the superiority of his rank and power, but to his virtues, his acquirements, and charming manners, that he owed his influence over the heart of one on whom his situation in life had made no impression, and who had denied him the slightest respect till he had proved himself deserving of it; and he could not help remarking, that he had never, when in the height of his pride and power, received half the real deference, or marks of delicate attention, which had been shown him since his residence on the island, by his only companion and former enemy, Philip Harley.

One afternoon, as Philip was employing himself in the valley, and had begun to wonder at the long absence of his noble companion, Lord Robert rushed into the hut, and, with an animation of manner Philip had not observed in him for a long time, said: "Joy! joy! my dear Harley! I have just seen a sail, and have hastened home to bring you the delightful news."

"Is that all?" said Philip in a melancholy tone.

"No, not all," replied Lord Robert: "for I climbed to the top of the cross, and hoisted my handkerchief as a signal of distress. And the lads are now making the island! And we shall see Old England again, my boy!"

But Philip Harley did not seem to participate in his delight; for he looked grave and thoughtful.

"How now!" said Lord Robert; "what are these dismal looks for? Shall you be sorry to see your home again? Or does the name of England recall to your remembrance some of my former exploits? Or do you think, if I found myself on board ship once more, I should feel the temptation of authority, and play the tyrant again?"

"No," replied Philip, sighing; "you do me great injustice if you suppose that I can for a moment form such an opinion of your Lordship."

"My Lordship, too! Very formal, Mr. Harley!—But, Philip, my dear fellow, tell me, what is the matter with you?"

Philip did not speak.

"Nay, then, Harley," said Lord Robert, taking both his hands, "I shall soon begin to think that you are willing to consider our present amity only in the light of a truce, occasioned by the breaking out of a pestilence; and that you are anxious to recommence hostilities as soon as an opportunity offers. But tell me, without more ado, are you offended with me?"

"Your Lordship is very gay this afternoon," said Philip gravely. "But I hope I have seen my own errors in too strong a light, and am too well convinced of my own insignificance, ever to take offence at anything done by a person of your rank and consequence."

Lord Robert now appeared much wounded, and asked him seriously, what was the reason of this strange behaviour; and Philip, who could not bear the idea of giving him pain, replied—

"How can I share in your joy at the prospect of leaving the island, when that event will separate us for ever?"

"How so?" said Lord Robert, laughing. "To be sure, you don't mean to remain here playing Robinson Crusoe or the Hermit Quarl, by yourself?"

"No," said Philip sorrowfully, "that is not my intention; though, perhaps, the wisest thing I could do. But the forms of society, you well know, will as effectually separate us, as if I were to remain here."

Lord Robert's eyes brightened with more than usual animation, as he exclaimed—

"Is that all?—Am I, then, so dear to you, Harley?"

The tears glistened in Philip's eyes; and Lord Robert pressing his hand, cried, "Courage, man! We shall find a way to satisfy the most precise on the article of etiquette?"

So saying, he hastened to the beach; where he had the satisfaction of seeing the boat rowing rapidly towards the shore.

They found that the vessel was a Portuguese merchant ship; and from the knowledge Lord Robert possessed of Spanish, he had no difficulty in making himself understood by the mariners, who agreed to take him to the port of Rio de Janeiro, to which place they were bound; for they only landed to obtain a fresh supply of water.

As our adventurers were now to leave the island in a few hours, Philip bade a mournful adieu to the hut, where he had passed so many happy hours, and conveyed their little property to the beach; while Lord Robert amused himself by engraving the following inscription on the cross.

"On the 3rd of June, 17—, Lieutenant Lord Robert Summers, and Philip Harley, of his Britannic Majesty's ship of war the Diomede, were by the especial mercy of God preserved from the fury of the waves, and permitted to land safely on this island; where, after enduring many hardships, they became reconciled to their situation, and passed six months in a state of great happiness, and were at last removed by the Brazilian ship St. Sebastian."

Their voyage from the island (to which Lord Robert gave the name of the isle of Probation) was short and prosperous; and in less time than they could have expected, they entered the harbour of Rio de Janeiro. Here they began to feel some of the difficulties of their situation. Lord Robert had a few pieces of gold about him; but when they made the coast of Brazil, the Portuguese master did not fail to make such a demand on the young Englishman, as reduced his whole stock to half a moidore and a few pieces of silver; and these the sailors, on some pretence or other, contrived to extort from him; for being of a generous temper, and always accustomed to have money at command, his Lordship knew not how to refuse it, even when the prospect of want appeared before him. Philip thought him imprudent, and asked how he proposed reaching England?

"Oh," returned he, in a careless, light-hearted manner, "we are both able seamen; and, at the worst, we can work our passage in the first Portuguese vessel that sails for Lisbon: and then, you know, my lad, we are within a stone's throw of Old England."

"You work your passage to Europe!" said Philip, regarding him with a look of astonishment. "Does your Lordship mean to degrade your rank and talents by taking the berth of a common seaman?"

"Once, perhaps, I might have been alarmed at such an idea," said Lord Robert; "but since my residence on the Island of Probation, I have learnt the useful lesson, that nothing is really disgraceful but vice; and that no useful employment can degrade a man, let his rank be what it may, if there is an actual necessity for his taking it upon him. Of course, I, Lord Robert Summers, who have the honour to hold the rank of Lieutenant in his Majesty's navy, would not, willingly take upon myself the post of a common sailor in the Portuguese service: but will not that be less disgraceful than applying to some convent here for relief, and living lazily on their charity till some English ship of war arrives, whose officers, even if they disbelieve my noble birth, may, by cross-questioning me, contrive to recognise my rank on the navy-list?"

"But surely it was thoughtless of your Lordship to give away your last shilling to those imposing fellows, when you have no means of procuring necessaries in a foreign land; and, you know, your health is still delicate."

Lord Robert, laughing, still defended his extravagance, pretending that it was not for the honour of the British navy for a young officer who wore an epaulet and the remains of a white lapel, to appear shabby to the crew of a foreign vessel, or behave as if a handful of silver was of the least consequence to him.

"But," continued he, "I never felt the want of money enough to know the value of it. Perhaps, as there is no infliction of Providence sent in vain, I may, in the privations which I shall most likely suffer in the Brazils, be cured of my bad habit of thoughtless extravagance; and if I can contrive to leave one of my follies at every port we touch at in our return, I may chance to arrive at home a very perfect character."

In the afternoon, the vessel approached the town; and Lord Robert's attention was attracted by the appearance of a fine ship lying in the King's dock: slapping Philip's shoulder, he exclaimed—

"Look at that vessel, Harley! I protest, if her rigging were not evidently Portuguese, I should declare it was our old friend the Diomede! But, alas! that brave bark foundered in the heavy gale which we escaped."

Philip did not perceive the resemblance, and tried in vain to restrain the impatient tone of authority in which Lord Robert ordered the Portuguese sailors to lower a boat, and row him and his friend alongside the ship of war, which lay in the wet dock. "If these fellows knew the state of your Lordship's purse, they would not move their oars quite so nimbly," said Philip, when they were in the boat; "neither would they pay such regard to your impatient gestures to quicken their motions; and you might chance to get thrown into the sea, in return for your vociferating, in Spanish, that they are the laziest dogs you ever met with."

"But, Philip, how came you, who are not quite so familiar in the Spanish terms of abuse as I am, to guess what I was saying to them?"

"Truly, my Lord," said Philip, "I guessed, by your tone and manner, that you were not addressing the most polite expressions to them: and it would perhaps be prudent to remember, that you are not their commanding officer; therefore, they are not obliged to put up with any incivility."

"True, Philip; I certainly have no right to abuse them; and I perceive I have already violated one of my good resolutions, by giving way to my usual intemperance of tongue, on a very slight occasion. Tell me, Harley, were you not astonished, after all I had determined on that subject, to see me swaggering and ordering about me, in the boat, quite in my old way?"

"No, my Lord," said Philip drily; "for I have always heard that good resolutions are much easier made than adhered to."

"Well, well! my dear Harley, I must exert all my strength of mind to adhere to mine, though I own this is but a bad beginning."

As he spoke, they approached near enough to the vessel to distinguish her build by the naked eye.

"It is a British ship of the line, though Portuguese rigged!" exclaimed Lord Robert, starting up in the boat.

"It is the Diomede itself!" said Philip, dropping Lord Robert's perspective-glass into the water, through which he had been examining the figure-head.

The sight of this vessel brought a thousand agonizing remembrances to Philip's mind; and he sank on one of the benches, almost annoyed by the ardent Lord Robert; who, as they dashed up the river, besought the rowers in the most moving Spanish he could command, to redouble their speed. He laughed and wept by turns; till the men, shrugging their shoulders, protested by all their saints that the young officer was the maddest Englishman they ever had the honour of rowing.

"Oh, my beloved uncle! My heroic commander! Shall I see you again?" exclaimed Lord Robert, as the sailors rested on their oars under the stern of the vessel: and, in another moment, he stood on the deck of the Diomede, to the inexpressible astonishment of her officers and crew.

The bustle on deck brought Sir Henry Stanley to the scene of action; as he advanced, he was struck by the exclamations of—

"Can it be?—Is it possible?" On his nearer approach, he could scarcely credit the evidence of his own eyes, when he beheld his lost nephew; altered, it is true, from the hardships he had undergone; for he looked pale and thin, and rather consumptive, and was grown considerably taller. He was leaning on the arm of Philip Harley, his former enemy, who now seemed to regard him with the greatest affection. Sir Henry, like the rest of the officers and crew, was inclined to doubt the reality of what he saw; when his impetuous nephew, catching a glimpse of his majestic figure, broke through the group that surrounded him, and, throwing himself into his arms, buried his head in his bosom, and sobbed aloud. Sir Henry, who fondly loved this young man, and had mourned his loss as for that of an only son, now felt himself overpowered by his joy at so unexpectedly beholding him.

"Look up, my dear boy!" he said, at length recovering his firmness. "Look up, and let me once more behold that beloved face, which I never thought to have seen again."

Lord Robert raised his head, and smiled through his tears on his uncle; but again, yielding to the joy of seeing that dear friend alive, he concealed his face on Sir Henry's shoulder, and wept passionately. Sir Henry was at last distressed by his agitation, and forced himself to chide him for giving way to such an excessive indulgence of his feelings.

"Compose yourself, my dear boy!" said he; "or you will give these gentlemen reason to suspect that it is one of your sisters, who has taken it into her head to assume the appearance of my brave young lieutenant."

Lord Robert was ashamed of giving way to his emotions so publicly; till, having in some degree collected himself, he looked in his uncle's face, and was pleased to find that his eyes were full of tears, notwithstanding the reproof he had just administered to him.

"And now," said Sir Henry, "I hope that you will consider how powerfully the curiosity of all present is excited, to learn by what means you have been enabled to appear among us alive and well, when we thought we saw you perish before our eyes, without being able to render you any assistance, and after we had deeply deplored your loss."

Lord Robert stepped back to the spot where he had left Philip, and taking him by the arm, led him to his uncle.

"For this interview," said he, "under the especial providence of God, you must thank my kind preserver, the brave and noble-minded Harley."

Sir Henry graciously presented his hand to Philip, who respectfully pressed it to his lips in silence.

"Ah, my dear uncle," said Lord Robert, in reply to Sir Henry's commendations and grateful expressions to Philip for his care of his nephew, "you know not half his merit yet; nor are you aware," said he, lowering his voice, "of half my unworthiness."

"Aware of your unworthiness! No, my dear boy—that is what I hope I shall never be," said Sir Henry.

"I fear," said Lord Robert, "you will have reason to blush for your nephew soon; for I must summon courage to relate to you a story which will, I fear, deprive me of your affection and esteem for ever."

"I shall be sorry to hear anything that is likely to have such effects," said Sir Henry, gravely: and when he looked from him to Philip Harley, and observed his visible agitation, and remembered the bitter hatred that once subsisted between them, he was convinced that Lord Robert had something to communicate respecting his conduct to the young mutineer, not much to his own credit.

Lord Robert was roused from his meditation by the importunities of the boatmen who had rowed him to the ship; and it was quite with the air of his former gay liberality that he flung into their boat a handful of money he had obtained from his uncle for that purpose.

The appearance of Lieutenant Cary on deck occasioned a great surprise to the young friends.

He was absent on shore when they arrived; and they were the more delighted at finding him alive, from the grief they had felt at his supposed loss. Lord Robert told him the manner in which they had found the chest containing his books, flute, and other property.

"Ah! my poor books!" said Cary: "the chest was weighty; and, in the extremity to which we were reduced, after you left the ship, we threw it overboard, in common with everything else that was likely to lighten the ship."

"And pray, how came my poor Neptune overboard? Did you commit him to the mercy of the waves in order to lighten the ship?" said Lord Robert, patting the faithful creature as he spoke.

"What became of Neptune we never knew," said Cary; "but we supposed that he went away with the pinnace; for in the height of our distress, when all on board expected the Diomede to founder every minute, the boatswain, with one midshipman, and two or three sailors, contrived to lower the pinnace and steal away, selfishly leaving their commander and messmates to endure the worst; and, most likely, Neptune, being uneasy at missing his master, jumped into the boat and went with them."

"They met with a fitting reward for their cowardly desertion," said Lord Robert; "for Neptune was the only creature that reached the island with life: some of the bodies we found and buried. But how came the ship to reach the shore of Brazil?"

"By the mercy of Heaven, we met some Brazilian proas, which took us on board, and the Diomede in tow; and, having favourable winds and a smooth sea, we contrived to get the hulk into the King's dock at Rio de Janeiro; where, being a fine new ship, she was found worth repairing and refitting; and here we have been ever since, the Portuguese workmen being very slow in their operations."[6]

It was not till late that day that Lord Robert summoned courage enough to disclose to his uncle the whole particulars of his conduct towards young Harley. It was not without reason that he dreaded the manner in which Sir Henry would receive this explanation; for he was a man of the purest honour himself, and was likely to consider with some severity the misrepresentation his nephew had made to his father, which occasioned Philip's being removed from his home.

Lord Robert, when a child, had been treated with ruinous indulgence by his fond parents, by whom his most extravagant whims were considered as a law to which the whole establishment must submit. Sir Henry Stanley was the only person who had ever attempted the arduous but necessary task of controlling Lord Robert; although, with the self-delusion not uncommon in such cases, his noble parents did not scruple to attribute their son's violent temper and petulant conduct when on shore, to his uncle's indulgence. But if there was a man in the world whom Lord Robert feared, it was Sir Henry; yet, at the same time, he was so unerringly just and judicious, that his nephew loved him with the most ardent affection, and was used to consider the displeasure of his uncle as the most serious misfortune that could befal him: and such was the good effect this salutary awe had on him, when on board ship, that Sir Henry was not a little proud of his officer-like conduct, never having had occasion to frown on him for any breach of duty or immorality. Lord Robert knew the high place he held in his uncle's opinion, and the idea of forfeiting his esteem was dreadful. True, he was not actually under the necessity of making a confession so mortifying. Sir Henry need never know the misrepresentation he had made to his father:—a single word to that fond parent would not only prevail on him to bury the whole in oblivion, but induce him to devise excuses to cover his faults and reconcile him to himself. From Harley, he knew, he need feel no fear of its being divulged;—that generous friend would, he was assured, take the whole blame of what had passed on himself to screen him from reproach.

Lord Robert was at first strangely tempted to take these measures, and conceal the worst part of his conduct from his revered commander; but his better principles obtained the victory in the struggle, and, in a private conference with his uncle, he revealed every circumstance,—beginning with his shooting Philip's dog, and relating all that had happened between them till their reconciliation and friendship on the Isle of Probation. And so severely did he blame himself that Sir Henry, moved by his candour, would not increase his mental sufferings by any reprimands.

Lord Robert was in earnest conference with his uncle that evening and the next morning; during which time Philip had resumed his duties on board: but he was restless and unhappy; for he felt his separation from Lord Robert had now commenced, and he conceived he should never more enjoy the pleasure of his society. In this frame of mind, he looked back with the most painful regret to their residence on the island, and the delightful hours he had spent with his noble friend in the acquirement of knowledge. In the midst of these repinings, he received a summons to Lord Robert's cabin. He did not find any one there; but was told by his conductor to wait till his Lordship returned from dining with his uncle. At last, Philip heard a quick and well-known step at the door; and Lord Robert rushed in with more than his usual impetuosity, and, seizing Philip by the hand, he exclaimed:

"Joy, my dear Harley! My noble uncle has forgiven me! For I have confessed everything that has passed between us; and so highly does he approve of your generous conduct towards me, that he has granted my earnest request of placing you on the quarter-deck of the Diomede, where you are now privileged to appear with the other midshipmen."—So saying, he beckoned to his servant who followed him, carrying a full-dress midshipman's uniform. He superintended himself the pleasing task of arraying his friend in this dress; and buckled on the dirk with his own hands, which was the same he had himself worn when a midshipman. When all was complete, he surveyed Philip from head to foot with great satisfaction; and assured him that the dress became him as well as if he had been born a gentleman; and, with much animation, expressed his conviction that he would, after serving his due time as a naval cadet, arrive at the dignity of an epaulet, and fill in progression the highest situations in the navy, to which, he was convinced, he would prove an honour.

The change was so sudden, that it almost took from Philip the power of expressing his joy. Lord Robert could not help smiling to find that he had, for once, overcome that firmness for which Philip generally was distinguished. His agitation was painful in the extreme; but when he did at length speak, it was with a vehemence of gratitude, which showed Lord Robert the dominion he now possessed over the once stubborn and haughty mind of Philip Harley. "It is not," said he, wringing Lord Robert's hand as he spoke, "because I am proud and ambitious, and you have raised me from my lowly rank, and given me an opportunity of distinguishing myself—this is, indeed, much,—but it is not that which makes my heart overflow with joy: it is the consciousness that I shall now sometimes be suffered to be near you, and that my humble situation will not deprive me of your friendship."

"Now, my dear friend," said Lord Robert, "I must leave you, though against my wishes: as the barge is waiting to convey my uncle on shore, to spend two days with the Governor, and it is his pleasure that I shall attend him. You will, in the mean time, find sufficient amusement, I doubt not, among your brother officers." As he said this, he gaily withdrew. Harley pursued his retreating figure with his eyes, as he followed Sir Henry Stanley and Lieutenant Cary into the splendid state-barge, which the Portuguese Governor had sent to convey them on shore. As the sun shone brightly on the gilded vessel, and her silken streamers fluttered in the breeze, it recalled to his mind the remembrance of the Ariel; and he recollected with shame his lawless exploit of sailing in that fairy frigate, in defiance of her owner, and in his very sight.

"Well might Lord Robert have been enraged at my repeated trespasses!" thought he: and, as he looked down on his new uniform, and considered how engagingly and delicately his noble friend had behaved in presenting it to him, he wondered how he could ever have appeared so overbearing and arrogant. Yet Philip was deceived when, in the warmth of his affection, he thought it must have been his own prejudices that made Lord Robert appear to him at one time so cruel and tyrannical. It was from the trials experienced in adversity, that he had learned to correct his faults and follies: yet it is but justice to Lord Robert to say, that he never would have committed such outrages, had not Philip studied modes of insult and provocation sufficient to have irritated a much calmer spirit, and which finally drew upon Philip severe punishment, and on Lord Robert proportionable remorse and suffering.

When Philip presented himself on the quarter-deck, he had the mortification to perceive a general coldness and disapprobation among the officers, very painful to one of his quick feelings and high spirit; and he attributed this contempt to his low birth. Perhaps many of them were not without prejudice on that subject; but, in addition to this, his former mutinous conduct had not failed to make a very ill impression on the minds of these gentlemen; and this conduct they now appeared to remember, so far as to render the time of Lord Robert's absence very uncomfortable, and to deprive Philip of most of the pleasure his new rank had given him. When Lord Robert returned, he found his friend, whom he expected to have seen full of joy and spirits, walking by himself in a very melancholy mood. To his anxious inquiries respecting the reason of his dejection, he replied, by relating the various slights which he had experienced since his departure.

"I went on deck with a heart full of goodwill to every one," added he; "and expecting to find every one there noble, generous, and refined, like yourself. But see how they have treated me!"

"For which, my young friend, you have no one to blame but yourself," observed Lieutenant Cary, who had returned with Lord Robert, and listened to Philip with some interest. Philip looked at him with surprise, but he continued:

"You perhaps forget, but they doubtless remember, that at the time you thought proper to act the part of a mutineer, among the other accomplishments of that character, you had a most provoking tongue; and there is not one of these gentlemen but has had a specimen of your sarcastic repartees, addressed to them, while in the lawful exercise of the authority with which their country has intrusted them. And they now think fit to show how much they disapprove of your former conduct when on board the Diomede, and that they do not think one worthy to command who formerly would not obey."

Philip blushed deeply as he assented to the justice of these observations; but Lord Robert, who was highly incensed at the conduct of the officers, exclaimed, with no little of his usual impetuosity, "Nonsense! Cary; they must have seen that I only was to blame for his behaviour then."

"Perhaps, as far as related to the blow which he struck, you were," replied Cary; "and during your residence at the island, to which you have given so appropriate a name, it appears he completely satisfied you for all his offences, and forgave you for yours. But, remember, the other officers who had given him no reasonable cause of offence, are not obliged to look over all the saucy speeches he addressed to them, because a reconciliation has taken place between you."

"But when they know all his noble conduct to me, they must and shall treat him with respect!" replied Lord Robert; and, drawing Philip's arm through his, he advanced towards the group of officers, who had withdrawn to a different part of the deck, and were discussing the matter among themselves.

"Gentlemen," said he, "give me leave to present to you my friend, Mr. Harley; for whose former faults I own myself more than answerable. He is sensible that you all have had cause to be offended with him at different times; but he trusts that you will have reason in future to forget the rashness of the pressed man in the merits of the midshipman; to which rank our noble captain, in reward of his valour in the last engagement, has thought proper to promote him. I say nothing of his admirable conduct to myself; though, I trust, that, with all my faults, his having been the means of saving my life will be a recommendation to my brother officers; and I should hope that his lowly birth will not be remembered to his prejudice by officers of the British navy, whose boast it is that some of its proudest ornaments[7] have risen from before the mast."

A murmur of applause followed this speech, which was seconded by Lieutenant Cary's presenting his hand to young Harley; and his example was followed by all the gentlemen present, who, with the frankness of British officers, offered him successively their congratulations on his promotion.

"Spoken like yourselves, my gallant friends!" exclaimed Lord Robert, warmly shaking hands with his brother officers; "it shall never be said by our enemies, that valour and merit were slighted in the British navy, unless recommended by the adventitious advantages of rank or riches in their possessor."

Lord Robert knew the way to the hearts of his brave friends. To their good feelings he did not appeal in vain; and Philip never again had reason to complain of the least slight or disregard from any officer on board the Diomede; and never till that hour had Lord Robert tasted how truly delightful is the possession of power, when the influence which more or less it holds in society is applied to a noble purpose; and Philip Harley, by his steady attention to his duty, and his officer-like and gallant conduct in his new rank, speedily erased from the minds of these gentlemen his former mutinous and violent behaviour, and obtained the highest praise from his just and discriminating commander. How proud was Philip—how happy Lord Robert, whenever Sir Henry Stanley expressed his approbation at this conduct! There never was a friendship more warm or sincere than that which now subsisted between the two former enemies, who used often to relate their mutual sufferings, as a warning of the folly of answering a provocation, or retaliating an injury.

Before they sailed from Rio de Janeiro, Sir Henry Stanley generously presented Philip with every equipment necessary for his appearance as a gentleman; and, during the voyage home, he was the friend, companion, and pupil of Lord Robert, who delighted to impart to him every accomplishment and took the greatest pleasure in witnessing the development of his naturally fine talents.

When the Diomede approached the shores of England, Philip again began to be fearful lest the high rank of Lord Robert should separate them; but he was agreeably surprised, when, on their landing, Lord Robert insisted on his taking a place in the equipage that conveyed him to Lancashire; and, though he permitted Philip to visit first the lowly home of his sorrowing parents, yet he and his noble father came for him the next day, and invited him to the Hall, where he shared in all the unbounded affection and caresses which the Marquis and Marchioness bestowed on their noble son.

On the first arrival of the Diomede at Rio de Janeiro, Sir Henry Stanley, supposing he had seen his nephew and Philip Harley perish, wrote to England an account of the dreadful loss, which was received both in the cottage and at the Hall with the deepest affliction. Since that time, no communication had been received; but as the Diomede was nearly ready to sail when the young friends arrived from the island, they themselves brought the first intelligence to England of their safety and welfare. They found each family in deep mourning, and plunged in acute sorrow, which was changed into extravagant joy at their unexpected arrival. The Marquis had become acquainted with most of the circumstances that occasioned the enmity between his son and Philip Harley, and had suffered much remorse, reproaching himself continually for having torn the only surviving child from his parents to meet an untimely death. From his natural goodness of heart, he greeted Philip's safe return as that of another son, particularly when he found he was indebted to him for the delight of seeing Lord Robert once again.

The unlimited indulgence which the young friends met with at home might have been attended with bad effects, had they remained long exposed to its influence. But, in less than a month, they were again summoned to resume their duties on board the Diomede, where Sir Henry had hoisted his flag on his promotion to the rank of Admiral.

Both the friends were possessed of those high talents which, when combined with valour, seldom fail of obtaining great distinction; and so nobly did they acquit themselves in their naval duties, that after many years had witnessed their career of glory, and they had attained the height of their profession, England never saw two braver admirals than Lord Robert Summers and the Mutineer.


ARTHUR RIDLEY;

OR, A

VOYAGE TO NORWAY.

Among the springs and mosses of Alston Moor, near the source of the South Tyne, are several little grass farms, on which are bred sheep and black cattle by the industrious farmers of Cumberland and Northumberland. In a most retired spot between the two counties, dwelt old farmer Ridley and his grandson Arthur. The farmer was one of those small landholders, who are called statesmen in the dialect of the northern counties; he had lost his wife, but she had left him two sons. Walter Ridley, the elder, was the father of Arthur, and captain of a merchant ship, that traded to the Baltic, from the port of Newcastle. He had married a tradesman's daughter from that place, who died when little Arthur was but two years old; and Walter, who knew not what to do with so young a child, begged his father to take the boy, and bring him up at the farm, till he was old enough to go to sea. About four years after, Hugh Ridley, the farmer's younger son, was killed in the command of a privateer, while he was endeavouring to take a French merchant ship. It was greatly against the wishes of old Mr. Ridley that both his sons followed so dangerous a profession: one of them, at least, he hoped would have remained at home to assist in cultivating the peaceful little farm which had descended from father to son for three centuries; but both the sons made light of the wishes of their father; and Hugh actually disobeyed his express commands, when he became captain of the privateer; a mode of life agreeing well enough with his rude rough habits, but which the good farmer abhorred and detested, justly considering such an occupation to be but one degree better than the pursuits of a pirate. This act of disobedience was soon punished; for Hugh Ridley fell in the first engagement, leaving a young widow and a little girl quite destitute. His death filled his father's heart with sorrow, and he lost no time in fetching his widowed daughter-in-law and her little Phœbe from Newcastle, and bringing them to his own quiet home, to the great joy of young Arthur, who promised to love aunt Rachel and cousin Phœbe better than his best pet lamb. Indeed, he said that little Phœbe was much prettier than his finest cosset; besides, she could answer all his questions, and ask him a thousand in return. They passed their happy summers together, keeping the sheep and cows on Alston Moor; in the winter, their good grandfather taught them to read the Bible; and in the long evenings, Phœbe spun by her mother's side, while Arthur learned to write and keep accounts. Arthur seldom saw his father, who only came to the farm for a few hours, when he was on shore, and then only laughed at his quiet habits and peaceful temper, slapped him rudely on the back, and asked him whether he were not ashamed of remaining lounging on shore like a coward and a milksop.

But Arthur was no coward. True, his very fair complexion and placid features gave him that gentle look which might well deceive careless observers into the belief that any insult might be offered to him with impunity; but there was a quiet, determined firmness in his character,—a spirit which silently says, on the appearance of any difficulty, "I will overcome it." On such minds success is a sure attendant: they follow the toilsome path which leads to glory and distinction with unwearied and steady steps, and often leave those of bold demeanour and boasting tongues at a hopeless distance.

Mr. Ridley's house was a very long way from the other farms; so when Arthur and Phœbe drove their cattle to any distance from home, on the moor, to seek fresh pasture, they were considered as strangers and intruders, by the boys who kept the flocks of the neighbouring farmers. Though somewhat older than Phœbe, Arthur was scarcely so tall as the blooming girl; and she looked better able to be his protector, than to receive assistance from him; but Phœbe knew well to whom to fly in any danger, as her cousin would beat off the most ferocious dog, or the biggest boy that strove to molest her. The farmers' sons in the neighbourhood, when once they had tried the force of Arthur's well-knit little arm, and felt the effects of his cool, determined courage, soon retracted the mean opinion they had formed of his prowess; and left off their favourite amusements of pelting his whitest lambs with mud, and running after Phœbe, to pull the long flaxen ringlets which floated from under her bonnet.

At fourteen, Arthur Ridley thought himself the happiest boy in the world; for his grandfather had a gold medal presented to him at an agricultural meeting in the county, as a prize for showing there six finer and fatter lambs than any one else could produce. Mr. Ridley told every one that it was by the care and attention of his grandson, that his flock throve so well; and the nobleman who held the meeting patted Arthur's head, and told him he would be an honour to Cumberland, and hoped that he should see him at the next sheep-shearing. Oh! how Arthur loved the dear little lambs that had obtained for him such an honour! And, all the way home, he secretly resolved never to be anything but a farmer.

We may suppose that Arthur anticipated the next June with great delight: but, alas! the succeeding summer, though it bloomed fairer than ever, brought no joy in its course to him; for it was in that lovely season that his young heart was to know the first taste of sorrow.

The spring set in cold and stormy, and it was a very bad lambing-time for the ewes. Farmer Ridley was more anxious for their well-doing than usual, and, in taking care of some of the early new-fallen lambs, he caught a bad cold, attended with ague, which hung on him through the two succeeding months; and before May came with all her flowers, even the inexperienced eyes of his grandchildren read, in his sunken temples and hollow cheeks, that the mortal foe within would soon rob them of their venerable protector. Arthur's father had passed the winter in Hamburgh, and was now expected home every day. Mr. Ridley wished much to behold his son once more in this world; and he seemed to linger from hour to hour, in the hope of seeing him again; till, about eventide, on the 2nd of May, his last minutes drew to a close. "Arthur," he said, in a faint voice. Arthur started from the place where he was leaning his head against the casement, and approached the bed.

"Arthur," he said, "your father is away; but tell him from me to take care of your aunt Rachel and your cousin Phœbe: I have little to leave them; for the farm is entailed on my eldest son, and must descend to you. Tell him that my dying request is, that he will never suffer them to want a home. They will find, in my oaken box, eighty guineas in a yellow canvas bag, and my will, which directs the money to be divided between them. And now, Arthur, my dear boy, you have ever been a dutiful child to me; be the same to your father, whatever his commands may be, and make it your rule to do your duty in that state of life unto which it may please God to call you."

The rising sun beamed on the bed of death; the venerable Mr. Ridley was no more! And his sorrowing family were not to be consoled. The next Sunday, they followed his remains to the grave. It was in vain that the first day of early summer smiled on them, and that between every solemn response of the burial service the blackbird sang loud and joyously; their hearts no longer leaped to the sound once so full of delight.

"Oh, Arthur," said Phœbe, as her tears fell on her black sleeve, "we shall never see May-flowers again without mourning!"

Three melancholy days passed on, before Arthur could resume his former employments; but on the evening of the fourth, after he had folded his sheep, he returned home, expecting to see aunt Rachel busy in preparing the milk-porridge for their supper, and Phœbe watering the flowers, or gathering salad in the garden. Phœbe was not there. He lifted the latch of the door; his cousin was laying the cloth, and aunt Rachel was roasting a fowl for supper. In the chimney-corner, and in his grandfather's high-backed chair, sat his father. Walter Ridley's stern features were softened by an expression of grief; he looked more kindly on his son than he had ever done before; and Arthur thought that when time had whitened his thick black hair, and dimmed the fire of his dark eyes, he would resemble in person his lamented grandfather.

Captain Ridley was very kind to his sister-in-law and niece; and when Arthur told him the last request of his father, he patted Phœbe's curly head, and said:

"Never fear, pretty one, I'll take care of you and your mother; you shall never want for a shilling, whilst Wat Ridley has one, if it's only for the sake of poor brother Hugh. Your uncle Hugh was a brave fellow, Arthur! I wish I could see some of his manly spirit in you, boy!—So, sister Rachel, you shall live in the farm, and look after the kine and sheep, and live as comfortably as you can. If you have a shiner or two over and above at the end of the year for me, it's all very well; and if you have not, I shan't complain; so don't starve your little one here. And when Arthur and I come back, after roving the salt waters for five or six years, mayhap we may stay at home for good; that is, if Phœbe should like the lad for a husband, and he should fancy her."

Rachel thanked her brother-in-law for his kindness towards her and her child; but Arthur, though much pleased with his father's intentions in respect to his cousin, did not like what he said about the sea.

"Are you determined that I shall be a sailor?" he asked, in a disconsolate voice.

"Hark'e, boy," said Captain Ridley; "I am determined to make a man of you. So don't let's have any puling and muling, but pluck up a good heart: and if you be a coward, don't show it. I have bought a good tight ship at Hamburgh, and have laid out all my earnings for these twenty years, that I may be owner of the vessel I sail in; she is freighted with a valuable cargo, and will soon sail for Norway; and you are to have a berth in her: so say no more, for I have made up my mind on the matter."

Arthur submitted in silence; for he well remembered the last words of his grandfather, and made up his mind to obey his father, let his will be what it would; besides, he was very grateful for the kindness shown to his aunt and cousin. "I shall leave them in the bosom of our peaceful home," thought he; "so I must not displease my father, for he must have a good heart to be so kind to them."

In two days, Captain Ridley declared his intention of being off, as he called it. In vain Rachel and Phœbe pleaded for time to make Arthur some new shirts, and pack up different things that he would want during a sea-voyage.

"No, no," said Captain Ridley; "the boy has been made too much of a pet and cosset already. I shall fit him out with check-shirts and blue jackets at Newcastle. I'll make a brave fellow of him, I warrant you. There's been too many parsons and farmers among the Ridleys. Nobody would believe they came of the same bold fellows who used to ride the border some three hundred years ago. Who ever heard of a boy making a brave, manly character, who spent his time lounging at the tails of two or three kine or sheep? So, Arthur, my boy, your aunt and cousin will find you quite a different sort of a lad when you come home from your first voyage."

The next morning Arthur bade adieu, with a heavy heart, to the home he loved so much; and kissed his good aunt and the weeping Phœbe, with tears in his eyes; but he durst not cry, for fear of bringing on himself the rough taunts of his father. Captain Ridley had been to the village church-yard that morning, to visit the new-made grave of his father; he there remembered that he had not always been the most dutiful of sons to him who now slept beneath the green turf; and he felt half inclined to fulfil what he knew was his departed father's wish, and suffer Arthur to remain at home and look after the farm: but then he thought again, that when he grew old, and left off going to sea, and came to live at home, there would be no one to talk to him of seafaring matters: so he hardened his heart against the tears and entreaties of Phœbe and her mother, and took Arthur to Newcastle, where his ship, the Aurora, lay in harbour, ready to sail.

Arthur found this new mode of life even more disagreeable than he had imagined; however, he made a resolution to go through all that was required of him with uncomplaining patience, and to shrink from none of the hardships of his situation. Neither his father nor any of the crew were disposed to lighten his difficulties; all were on the watch to jeer at the mistakes of the young landsman; not but they were a little surprised to see him go through the first seasoning of a seafaring life with so much spirit. The sailors, naturally generous and frank, in a little time began to look on him with more favourable eyes, particularly an old friend of his father's, who sailed in the Aurora as mate.

"Well, Captain," said he one day, as he saw Arthur aloft, and going through his duties with great adroitness, "what do you think of our young seaman now? To my mind, he will turn out as brave a fellow as ever stepped between stem and stern."

"He is better than might be expected from his breeding," returned Captain Ridley: "but I doubt he will turn out a sad chicken-hearted thing in time of danger."

"We shall see," said the mate: "but if young Arthur don't show more spirit than many of those who talk big and bluster, never believe a word that old Jack Travers says to you again."

"Well, well, old shipmate, I wish it may be as you say; but, I own, I have not such good hopes of him."

Arthur soon found a good friend in Jack Travers, who was determined that he should not disgrace his predictions. During their voyage to Norway, he taught Arthur to keep the log-book, to take the sun's meridian altitude, to navigate the ship, and to perform the duties of a complete seaman.

Travers had spent the chief part of his life at sea, and had seen and suffered much. He had twice lost his all by shipwreck, and had once been taken prisoner by the French; he had of course seen a great deal of the world, and had made many intelligent observations on the countries where fortune had thrown him; and was intimately acquainted with the customs and manners of the people whose shores they were now approaching.

One summer night, when Arthur and Travers were on the watch together, Travers began to tell him of all he had suffered by storm and wreck, in the course of a long and disastrous life. "The last ship I sailed in," said he, "the unfortunate Dædalus, was wrecked on one of the small islands that stud the coast of Norway, off Drontheim. Now, there was no very good understanding between the English and the subjects of the King of Denmark, because of the battle of Copenhagen, the carnage of which was so great as to occasion general mourning and sorrow throughout Denmark and Norway. However, the brave Norwegians did not look upon us in the light of enemies, but as suffering and shipwrecked men, and treated us most kindly during the time we remained with them; which was more than three of their winter months. A merchant of Drontheim gave me a berth in a ship of his, that was bound to Hamburgh; and there I met with your father, Arthur, who never was yet the man to see an old shipmate in distress without giving a helping hand. He offered to put me as mate in the Aurora, which he had just purchased. So here I am; but whether my bad fortune will pursue me still, I know not."

"I hope not," said Arthur; "for it is hard, at your time of life, to be without the means of obtaining those comforts you will soon greatly need: but did you not spend your time very miserably, to pass so many months in a strange country, the language of which was unknown to you?"

"As for that," returned Travers, "thank God! I am not given to be very miserable anywhere. A seaman, who knows his duty, bears cheerfully whatever hap Heaven may send him. But in fact, I never passed any time pleasanter than I did in Norway. We were quartered on the farmers and pilots who inhabited the coast where we were thrown. The good people, instead of murmuring at the burden of our maintenance, came down with their sledges, and contended whose home should afford shelter to the shipwrecked strangers. I was not willing to eat the bread of idleness, so I lent a helping hand to whatever work was going forward. As to language, I found the inhabitants of the sea-coast very familiar with the English tongue; and I knew a little German, by reason of trading to Hamburgh; so, between the two, we made out very well. The coast of Norway is tremendous to the sailor at the fall of the year, when the equinoctial winds begin to blow; as you will judge when I tell you the observations I have made during my acquaintance with it. The coast extending upwards of three hundred leagues, is beset with a multitude of small islands, affording habitations to fishermen and pilots, and pasture to a few cattle. They form an infinite number of narrow channels, and a natural barrier of rocks, which render Norway inaccessible to the naval power of its enemies. Attempts of this kind are the more dangerous, as the shore is generally bold, steep, and impending; so that, close to the rocks, the depth of the sea amounts to one hundred, two hundred, and even three hundred fathoms. You may easily judge of the fate of the unfortunate ship that is hurled by tempests against any of these frightful rocks: if she breaks, she instantly fills, and must go down into a dreadful depth of water; and it is only by the most signal mercy that any of the crew is ever saved. The perils of the North Sea are also increased by sudden streams, sunk rocks, violent currents, and dreadful whirlpools. The most remarkable vortex on the coast is called Moskœstrom, from the small island Moskœ, belonging to the district Lofoden. In time of flood, the stream runs up between Lofoden and Moskœ, with the most boisterous rapidity; but in its ebb to the sea it roars like a hundred cataracts, so as to be heard at the distance of many leagues. On the surface are many vortices; and if in one of those any ship be absorbed, it is whirled down to the bottom, and dashed in pieces against the rocks.

"When its fury has been heightened by a storm, no vessel ought to venture within a league of it. Whales are frequently absorbed within the vortex, and howl and bellow hideously during their fruitless endeavours to free themselves. A bear, in attempting to swim from Lofoden to Moskœ, was once hurried to this whirlpool, from which he struggled in vain for deliverance, roaring so loud as to be heard on shore; but, notwithstanding all his efforts, he was borne down and destroyed. Large trees, being drawn into the current, are sucked down, and rise again all shattered to splinters. There are three vortices of the same kind near the islands of Ferroe."

Before the vessel reached Christiania, the short northern summer had commenced in all its beauty. Arthur had expected to see an icy, desolate coast; he could not think that fair sunny days would smile so far northwards; and when the Aurora entered the bay of Christiana, he could scarcely believe it was the port to which they were bound.

Before them lay the town of Christiana, situated at the extremity of an extensive and fertile valley, forming a semicircular bend along the shore of the beautiful bay. The grounds, laid out in rich enclosures, gradually sloped to the sea. Behind, before, and around appeared the inland mountains of Norway, covered with dark forests of pines and fir, the inexhaustible riches of the North. The most distant summits were capped with perpetual snows. From the glow of the atmosphere, the warmth of the weather, the variety of the productions, and the mild beauties of the adjacent scenery, it was hardly possible to believe that they were nearly under the sixtieth degree of latitude.[8]

"Is it possible?" said Arthur, as he stood on deck by the side of Travers; "can this blooming land be one of the coldest and most barren regions of the North?"

"Ah," said Travers; "but you see it in the midst of its short, lovely summer; its aspect would be bleak and horrid, were you to visit it during the nine winter months. Were you to hear the roaring of the winds among the mountains, the fall of great heaps of snow, and oftentimes of huge masses of stone and rocks from their heights—sometimes choking up the course of rivers, and overwhelming the cottages of the peasants—you would then hardly believe that the return of the sun could produce so much beauty as you now see before you."

"I have heard," said Arthur, "that, farther to the North, the sun never sets in the height of summer, nor rises in the depth of winter."

"I have been at Tronsen,"[9] said Travers, "near the northern extremity of this country, where the sun is continually in view at midsummer; I have seen it circulate day and night round the North Pole, contracting its orbit, and then gradually enlarging it, until it leaves the horizon. In the depth of the winter, therefore, it is for some weeks invisible: and all the light perceived at noon is a faint glimmering, for about one hour and a half, which proceeds from the sun's rays being reflected from the highest mountains. But the inhabitants have other lights, by which they follow their work in the open air. The sky being very clear, the moonshine is remarkably bright: they are likewise much assisted by the Northern Lights,[10] which are very frequent in these parts of Europe."

"My grandfather showed me the Northern Lights once, in Cumberland," said Arthur; "and told me they signified that something very dreadful would soon happen to the country; for they were never seen but when famine, or plagues or rebellions were about to come to pass. What do you think about it, Travers? are such bad things very common in Norway?"

"Not that ever I heard," returned Travers. "Indeed, the poor people would be in a desperate way, if they were to have plagues and battles every time they saw the Northern Lights. Why, Arthur, they see them as often as we see the stars in England; and I have read, on a Sunday night, the psalm for the day out of my prayer-book, as plain in the open air, at ten o'clock, as ever I did by a candle. But that's the way with you landsmen: you sit at home and scare yourselves, and shake your wise heads, and prophesy evil, if a little glimmer reaches you of what is as common as the air you breathe in other countries."

Arthur did not greatly approve of hearing the opinion of his venerated grandfather treated with so much contempt: yet he plainly saw the folly of converting into an omen of ill a harmless and beautiful meteor; which is a blessing, as common as it is useful, in a country a few degrees farther to the north.

Captain Ridley soon became very busy in disposing of his cargo, and buying the different commodities that Norway produces, to reload his vessel with. He bought copper, and iron forged into bars, (the iron of Sweden and Norway is esteemed very good—much better than any England produces;) marble he used for ballasting the ship; he likewise bought goat-skins, and seal-skins, and some very valuable furs of the fox and marten, of which he expected to make a great deal of money in England. Another article of commerce, which is sold to great advantage in England, Captain Ridley made part of his cargo, viz. eider-down feathers.[11] He gave his son leave to purchase what pleased him most, to take home as presents for his aunt and cousin. Arthur accordingly bought a handsome fur cloak for aunt Rachel, and some curious baskets made of birch-bark, and beautifully wrought with coloured quills, for Phœbe. They passed about two months in Norway: by the expiration of which time Captain Ridley had completed his lading, and got everything ready for returning to England.

Arthur's heart bounded with joy as the sails were set for England; and he now looked forward with sensations of pleasure towards the continuance of the life which his father had chosen for him. He had gained experience and knowledge, and felt happy that he had obeyed his parent, however distasteful his commands were at first. Captain Ridley was very proud of his ship; her clever sailing and tight figure were the perpetual theme of his discourse and admiration: he was, besides, in excellent spirits on another account; for he felt confident that he had laid out his money to great advantage in the cargo, and expected a clear profit of several hundreds.

They ran before a favourable gale for some days, till, one clear lovely morning, as Captain Ridley was standing on deck talking over his expected gains with Arthur, Travers called from the main-top, "Look abaft, Captain; for I think we are chased?" Ridley flew to his cabin, and returning with his telescope, plainly saw a ship bearing down before the wind, in full pursuit of them. All hands instantly went to work, to raise every bit of canvas the Aurora could carry; and as she was a swift-sailing vessel, they had hopes that she would keep ahead of the enemy until night came on, when she might elude the pursuit under the shades of darkness. But, alas! the same gale which bore the Aurora so bravely along, brought her lightly-laden pursuer more swiftly after her. At length, after a hard chase, and a day of the most agonizing suspense to our poor countrymen, about sunset their fate seemed decided, when the adverse ship bore down upon them within hail, and fired a gun to bring them to. The crew of the Aurora still ventured to hope that, after all, she might be a neutral ship; but the experienced eye of Travers had from the first noted all her bearings, and felt convinced that she was a French privateer; which was soon confirmed by her hoisting the tri-coloured flag, and preparing to board. To resist was utterly useless, as a single broadside from the armed ship would have soon settled the fray: and Captain Ridley saw his favourite ship the prey of the most lawless and insolent crew that ever manned a privateer!

To a man of Ridley's violent passions, this stroke was worse than death; but his indignant expressions were only answered by laughter and mockery from the enemies into whose hands he had fallen, and who added insult and ill-usage to the calamities of war. It was at that period of the French Revolution when the war was carried on between the two nations with a fury scarcely known in modern times, and the animosity of the French towards our country knew no bounds.

There could scarcely be a more dreadful situation than that of the crew of this defenceless merchant ship, which had fallen into the hands of men whose bad passions were inflamed by national hatred. For many hours, the English expected every moment to be their last. Outrage succeeded outrage, and massacre seemed resolved on; but at last, after many blows and much reviling, the privateers contented themselves with thrusting their prisoners, strongly ironed, into the hold. These were horrors of which poor Arthur had never even dreamed; yet, in the terrors of that dreadful night, there was a satisfaction to his well-regulated mind in the consciousness that he was near his suffering parent, and could offer all the consolation that can be received from the affection of a dutiful child. And, truly, Captain Ridley had great need of it. Neglected by the ruffians who had conquered them, they were left without food; and, what was infinitely more needful, without water. This, joined to want of air, (the hatches being close shut down,) made their situation almost equal to that of the prisoners in the black hole at Calcutta.

Walter Ridley had hitherto been a fortunate man in life: where others had met with storms and capture, he had sailed securely and prosperously. This he did not fail to attribute to his own wisdom and merit, instead of ascribing it to the protecting hand of a bountiful Providence; therefore, when this reverse of fortune came, he received it with transports of rage, instead of patience and resignation. The violence of his emotions, and the confinement and ill usage he underwent, had such an effect on his frame, that, long before the morning, he was attacked by a dangerous illness. Poor Arthur sat by him, holding his burning hands, and offering his bosom as a pillow to his aching head; nor could the wild and frantic exclamations, uttered in the delirium of fever, affright the affectionate boy from the side of his suffering father.

The next day had nearly passed, before the captors thought fit to take any notice of their prisoners; they then resolved to divide the English crew; for as the captain of the French privateer determined to cruise in search of fresh prey, he did not choose to encumber himself with his prize.

Seven of Captain Ridley's crew were carried on board the privateer; and himself, Travers, and Arthur, were left below, with two sailors, in the hold. The French captain put his mate and a few seamen on board the Aurora, just sufficient to navigate her into Dunkirk, and proceeded on his cruise. The situation of the prisoners was now a little improved: for the mate, to whose charge they were committed, took off the fetters from Captain Ridley and Travers, and allowed them better berths; and when Arthur, by signs, made him understand how ill his father was, he gave him some wine, and suffered him to occupy the cabin that had formerly been his own. For some days, Arthur thought it impossible for his father to live, as his illness was violent, and he had no medical assistance; yet the strength of his constitution was such, that in a few days he passed the crisis of the fever favourably, and got a little better, though he remained as weak and feeble as an infant. Travers kept up his own and Arthur's spirits with the hope that they might fall in with some British cruiser and be retaken; but, however probable such a circumstance was, yet day passed after day, and they still remained captives, until it was reckoned that another or two would bring them into a French port. Arthur's mild manners and affectionate attention to his sick father induced the French mate to permit him to come when he pleased on deck; and one morning, after he had watched by his father till he fell asleep, he asked Travers to supply his place while he went on deck to take a little fresh air. He sat down on a chest, after he had paced to and fro in a very melancholy mood, and began to muse sorrowfully on the case they were in. "Here," thought he, "my poor father will be dragged to a French prison, and there he must die; for, in his weak state, the hardships he will have to go through will certainly kill him; and, perhaps, I shall never see England, nor my home, nor my cousin Phœbe again! Is there no remedy to be found for all this?"

He kept lifting up the lid of the chest he sat on, without noticing what he was about, till he pinched his finger pretty sharply, which drew his attention to it; and he saw it was a chest of arms belonging to the Frenchmen, and filled with sabres and muskets. At the first glance of these weapons, a thought darted through Arthur's brain, which he instantly ran down to communicate with Travers. He mentioned the arms to him, and said: "What hinders our retaking the ship? Surely it might be done with a little prudence and courage."

"And dare you venture on a scheme so full of peril? Can you look death stoutly in the face? For I tell you plainly, if we should fail, death, without mercy, would be our portion. Think on it, boy, and search your own mind; for an undertaking of this kind requires a cool head and an undaunted heart!"

"I dare," said Arthur firmly, laying his hand on his breast; "I will freely venture my life to regain the ship and our liberty. Think of a plan, and I will do my part as far as my strength will go."

"I have thought much of it already," answered Travers; "but your years were so tender, that I mistrusted your prudence, though not your courage. If we attempt it, we must proceed by art, rather than by force. We must take the opportunity of mastering the French, when one part of the crew are asleep and the other off their guard."

"In the night, I suppose?" said Arthur.

"Yes," said Travers. "It will be a sanguinary business; but the provocation was theirs. Surely a man may strive even unto death for his liberty."

"Ah!" said Arthur; "but it is a frightful thing to murder so many sleeping men—to send so many to their great account, without a moment's warning. I have thought that it is possible to take them prisoners without hurting them."

"Well!" said Travers; "let us hear your plan. I should be glad of anything that would save me the horrid work of despatching sleeping men."

"If I had a large gimblet and a dozen strong nails," said Arthur, "I would engage to secure all the Frenchmen but two, without hurting a hair of their heads."

"Yours seems a notable plan!" said Travers; "and if it is only the want of such tools that stops you, here is a great gimblet that the Frenchmen lent me, instead of a corkscrew, and you will find two or three hundred large nails in that cupboard. But tell me how such a little fellow as you can think of mastering six stout men?"

"You know," replied Arthur, "that if a hole were bored in the panels of our sleeping berths, and a nail slipped in when they are shut, it would be impossible to slide them back, to open them. I go about the ship without being suspected, and could take the opportunity, when the men are all on deck, of boring a hole, and fitting a strong nail in each berth, ready to be put in when I choose; and when the Frenchmen are all safe asleep in their berths, I may put in the nails, and they will be as safe as if they were caught in so many traps."

"It is an ingenious scheme," said Travers; "and I allow that it has every prospect of success. To-night, therefore, we will make the attempt; for every hour brings us nearer to Dunkirk. But hark'e, Arthur; don't let your father know our plan till it has either succeeded or failed; for he is so impatient, and still so weak, that the suspense would probably kill him."

"It will be much the best," said Arthur; "but I must go, for the Frenchmen are all on deck,—so now or never."

So saying, he left the cabin. Hour passed after hour, and Travers saw no more of him. Captain Ridley awoke; and Travers gave him some gruel, which he had boiled for his dinner. The sick man found great fault with it, and inquired very peevishly for Arthur. Travers made him some vague answer, and Captain Ridley complained much of his absence, assured Travers that he was the worst nurse in the world, and that it was a shame for that boy to leave him, and at last grumbled himself to sleep again.

Travers now began to be exceedingly alarmed; thinking that Arthur had been taken in the attempt, and perhaps murdered. He looked at the sun, (for his captors had spared him the trouble of keeping a watch,) and thought it might be about four o'clock, when Arthur appeared at the cabin-door, and with a pale cheek, but a look of determined courage, beckoned Travers, without uttering a word. He left the cabin, and followed Arthur with a noiseless step. While they were ascending the companion-ladder, Arthur turned round, and said in a low voice: "Every man in the ship is secured excepting two; one of whom is at the helm, and the other in the shrouds: master them, and the ship is ours!"

There was no time for questions; or Travers would have asked how all this came to pass: but Arthur hurried him on deck; and, going to the arm-chest, gave Travers a sabre, and armed himself with a musket. Travers stepped to the steerage, and took the helmsman unawares; who uttered a cry of astonishment at seeing a man standing near him in a threatening attitude, with a drawn sabre in his hand, and began, with a loud voice, to implore for mercy. This supplication reached the ears of his companion in the shrouds, who, putting a stop to the Marseillaise Hymn, with which he was entertaining himself, began to descend with great expedition. But Arthur stopped his progress by levelling his musket at him; and by his menaces made him understand, that if he did not remain where he was, he would receive the whole contents in his body. Now the French sailor did not know, nor did Arthur at the time remember, that there was no charge in the musket. However, it had the effect of intimidating the man, who made signs that he would obey, and supplicated with his hands for his life.

Travers and Arthur had proceeded thus far with success; but they were at this moment in a most awkward predicament, for each held his man in check, yet it was necessary to do something more. The steersman was a strong muscular fellow, and notwithstanding that, had at first been frightened by the suddenness of the occurrence; yet Arthur saw, by the expression of watchfulness that lurked in the turn of his eye, that he only waited till Travers was off his guard, to spring upon him.

There was a coil of strong rope, which lay about twelve paces from Arthur on the deck; of this he longed to make himself master: but he was afraid of taking his attention from his prisoner above; for he knew how soon a sailor could swing himself from rope to rope, and stand on deck in a moment. At last he lost all patience, and determined to trust to the man's fears: so with one spring he seized the cord and gave it to Travers, and resumed his guard with the musket, whilst Travers pinioned his prisoner, and bound him so strongly that escape was impossible. They then beckoned the man above to descend, and soon bound him safely. "Now," said Arthur, "you must take the helm, my friend; whilst I go below, and set at liberty our two shipmates, who are confined between decks."

He soon returned with the two English sailors, who could scarcely believe that they were at liberty, and the ship in their possession. Travers's first care was to shift the sails and alter their course. They then went down to tell Captain Ridley what had happened. As soon as they came below, they heard a most violent uproar among the Frenchmen, who were shouting and calling, and accusing each other of shutting up the berths. Travers thought it quite necessary to dispose of them, for fear, when they grew desperate, they should split the panels. He therefore called down the stoutest of his men, opened the berths, one by one, and put the irons they had formerly occupied, on their astonished prisoners; who by many gestures and exclamations, expressed their surprise at such a proceeding.

They then took them to the hold; and, after securely confining them, they went to Captain Ridley.

When Arthur came into the cabin, his father was sitting up in his berth, with a very discontented air; and, after making a sour face or two, began to complain of being neglected. He told Arthur that he could have sat up a few hours, if he had been there to dress and assist him. "I have just been wakened," said he, "by those detestable Frenchmen making the most hateful noise I ever heard: I thought they were certainly murdering you all."

"Come, come, Walter!" said Travers; "don't look so sulky at the most noble boy that ever a father was blessed with: but take Arthur in your arms, and thank him for the recovery of your ship and of your liberty."

"What!" said Captain Ridley; "have we met with one of our cruisers? And are we retaken? Well, Travers, if you are in your right wits, and know what you are talking of, this is the news that will presently make me well again."

"Did I say that we had fallen in with any of our ships?" answered Travers. "But I tell you now, in plain English, that by the prudence and courage of your brave boy, your ship is your own again: we are all free; the Frenchmen are in irons; and we have tacked about for Old England, instead of being carried into Dunkirk."

"And Arthur, you say, has done all this; but how?—You are not given to tell lies, Jack Travers,—and yet I can hardly believe it."

"I don't wonder that you can't," returned Travers, "for I can scarcely trust my own senses that it is so. But this is the short of the matter: Arthur, this morning, contrived a scheme for fastening the Frenchmen in their berths when they were asleep. He went away to prepare matters for it. The attempt was not to have been made till night. But, to my surprise, he came to me, an hour ago, and told me he had all our enemies secure, except two. Those we easily managed; and, after getting the assistance of our two men, we as easily mastered the others. How Arthur contrived to execute his plan so soon, he can best tell you, for I have not yet heard."

But Arthur could not just then speak. He had thrown himself into his father's extended arms, and given ease to the fulness of his heart in a burst of tears. It was some moments before he raised his head from his father's bosom, who thanked and blessed him, and declared that were everything in the world taken from him and his gallant boy spared, he should still consider himself the happiest and richest of men.

When Arthur had recovered from the agitation that had deprived him of his voice, Travers again pressed him to tell by what means he had secured the Frenchmen.

"You know," said Arthur, "I left you with the intention of fitting the nails into the panels. I got safely into the cabin, where they slept, and soon bored all the holes; but when I came to fit in my nails, I found they might be pushed out with a violent shake; and, you know, they could not be knocked in tight without a great noise. For some minutes I thought our scheme was at an end; but at last I remembered there was a paper of large screws in the locker. These I soon found, and made holes in the top and bottom of each panel, and then greased the screws; so that I could put them all in with a screw-driver without the least noise. I likewise greased the slides of the panels, that they might slip easily. Well, while I was at work, I recollected that the Frenchmen were in the habit of sleeping for an hour or two in the middle of the day, leaving only two men on deck. This, therefore, appeared the best time for the execution of our plan; for it was likely we might blunder in the dark, and they were off their guard and in such security in the middle of the day, that I was determined to try. About three o'clock, they all came down and tumbled into their berths. I waited more than half an hour, and then stole into the cabin, hoping they were asleep. Some of the panels were open; my hands trembled as I closed them; but fortunately I made no noise. After I had put in the screws, I tried every panel, and found that all were well secured. I then went to you: and, by the blessing of Heaven, everything has thus far gone prosperously!"

"And all we have now to do," said Travers, "is to keep what we have gained; that, Arthur, is not the least part of the work: but there shall be no exertion wanting on my part to bring the good ship safe into an English port."

Travers faithfully kept his word: for he paced the deck of the Aurora, with pistols in his hands, almost night and day; and when he was compelled to take a little rest, Arthur kept watch with equal vigilance. Two desperate attempts were made by the French crew to regain their liberty: the last time, Captain Ridley (who was now able to walk about and come on deck) was greatly inclined to send a volley of musket-balls among them; but Arthur and Travers both implored him to shed no blood, if it were possible to avoid it. After a few days of incessant toil and anxiety, a favourable gale carried them into the Thames; and, a few hours after their arrival at Sheerness, they had the pleasure of seeing the privateer which had captured them brought in as a prize, at the stern of a British frigate. She had been taken whilst cruising in the Channel: and thus the whole of the crew of the Aurora were delivered from their anticipated sufferings in a French prison. Captain Ridley lost no time in disposing of the Aurora and her cargo. He said he would tempt the sea no longer, but remain peacefully in the quiet home he was so fortunate as to possess. "And, Travers, my friend," said he, "I need hardly tell you, that whilst I have a guinea, you shall share it; and whilst I have a home, it shall shelter you." Half of the money which the cargo produced, Captain Ridley settled on Travers: he rewarded the two men who had assisted in bringing home the Aurora, and made a present to all his sailors who had been retaken in the privateer.

During their stay in London, their story was the news of the day; and much admiration was excited by the conduct of Travers and Arthur; and Captain Ridley was given to understand, from high authority, that if his son chose to enter the navy, he should be peculiarly marked for promotion.

Walter Ridley no longer wished to control his son. He respected his courage and high principles; and left it to his choice, whether he would return and cultivate the farm, or accept the offer that had been made him.

"Father," said Arthur, "I am very young, and have a life before me that I am now convinced may be more usefully employed than in a state of inactive ease. I will serve my country with alacrity; and I pray God I may be able to do something for her service."

I will not stay to describe their arrival at Alston Moor, nor the joyful meeting between Arthur and his aunt and cousin. Many years have rolled on since Arthur went through his service as midshipman, and passed as lieutenant with the greatest credit: he is now a gallant and distinguished officer,—the pride of his father, the delight of his old friend Travers, an honour to his country, and the husband of his pretty cousin Phœbe.

The picture I have drawn is not exaggerated. Arthur is no creature of my imagination; it was drawn from life, and may be realized by any youth who takes for his rule of life the maxim of our Church: "Do thy duty in that state of life unto which it shall please God to call thee."


This tale is founded on facts: and the recapture of the ship, extraordinary as it may seem, is a simple relation of occurrences that really happened, in the beginning of the American war, when the Lark merchant-ship was taken by a French privateer, and retaken by her captain, having no English on board, but a boy, and an English merchant, one of the Society of Friends. This gentleman refused to stain his hands with blood: but assisted in this peaceable recapture with great firmness and resolution. The underwriters presented the captain with £100, as a small reward for his intrepidity.


THE FISHERMAN'S COTTAGE.

Nearly a century and a half ago, there lived, in a little cottage on the eastern coast, an aged widow and her two grandsons. Although neither carpenter nor bricklayer was employed in the construction of this cottage, it was as neat a fisherman's cabin as any in that part of England. James Mayhew, the widow's son, had ingeniously built it on the sea-beach, under the cliffs. It was formed of pebbles and sea-stones; and he had, with great toil and labour, carried down earth from the cliffs, and made a nice little kitchen-garden, which formed a pleasing contrast with the barren sands that surrounded the cottage; and this, with a shed for a cow, (which got her living on the common belonging to the adjacent town,) made a very comfortable little dwelling place. It was poor James's summer work; and at Michaelmas he brought to live in it his widowed mother, old Amy Mayhew, and his wife, who had formerly been a tidy dairy-maid, and to whom he had been married just a twelvemonth. Now James was very clever and industrious; he could turn his hand to any sort of work; he would labour for the farmers at harvest and seed-time, and pursued the trade of a fisherman the rest of the year. He made one harvest on the land, and two more from the sea; for he used to go out in a boat and catch herrings and mackerel at those seasons when they abound so plentifully on our coasts. James was an excellent son and husband, and would, no doubt, have been as good a father. His wife had just presented him with two twin little boys, when James was forced to leave her, to go to sea for the herring-fishery; and, sad it is to tell what followed! though such events are too common on these coasts. From the cottage window, his boat was seen to founder; and the wife never beheld her husband, nor the mother her son, until the tide threw up his corpse within a few yards of his own door. His poor wife, in her weak state, was unable to bear so severe a shock, and sank into a state of stupefaction, which was soon succeeded by death. The neighbouring townsmen contributed a sum to bury the poor young people: and many, who were standing by at the funeral, and saw the sorrow of the aged Amy, and thought of the hard trial which had befallen her, said it would have been a mercy if the orphan little twins had been buried in the same grave with their unfortunate parents! But Amy did not think so. "God bless the poor babes!" she said; "they are all that is left me of my good dutiful James: I will do my best to bring them up; and, if my life be spared so long, I may see them prove a blessing and a comfort to me; and, perhaps, they may lay my head in the same grave with my poor son!"

Amy did, indeed, strive to do her best to rear her poor little grandsons. She was often seen with a baby on each arm coming into the town to fetch the cow off the common; and then the good-hearted sailors, who had known her son, would give her a white loaf for the babes, or a piece of meat or cheese for herself. With these helps, and with the milk from the cow and the vegetables from the garden, she contrived to get through that trying year. "Before the winter comes again," she said to a friendly old pilot who had called to see her, "my little boys will run alone; and when these aged arms are relieved from their heavy burden, I shall be able to work hard for their living."

Amy was firm in her resolution: and, by her good nursing, the little orphans throve and grew nicely,—so that by the end of the next summer they could run about, holding by each other, to assist their steps. They were very good and quiet, and fond of each other, and gave much less trouble than could have been expected.

Amy was now able to earn a little money by netting; and by the time the children were three years old, James and Michael learned to fill her netting needles with the twine she made the herring-nets of; and the little creatures would stand by her the whole day, each watching until his turn came to fill granny's needle. When they grew a little older, they used to pick up stones on the beach, which were wanted in the town for building. They carried them up the cliffs by little baskets-full at a time, and laid them in a heap, and then the bricklayers gave for them a halfpenny a bushel. And when the cold snowy winter nights came, they learned to net, and helped their grandmother a great deal. By the time they were twelve years old, the boys nearly earned their living. James got something every week, by fetching his neighbours' cows off the common: he was always up by five in the summer, and before light in the winter, that he might not be too late. He soon got work at the Hall farm, in the next parish; and though it was a long way to walk, night and morning, he was always there in time, and contrived to do some work for his grandmother in the hours he had for his meals. James took delight in the quiet employments of the country; he greatly preferred the husbandman's life to the unsettled condition of the fisherman or sailor. Michael, on the contrary, loved the sea, and always tried, in getting his daily bread, to remain, if possible, by the beach, as it was his most ardent desire to be a sailor. It may be supposed this wish gave pain to his poor grandmother, who never heard him express it without thinking of the death of his father. To divert him from his inclination, she did her best to teach him to read; but, though both he and his brother were very apt, and could soon read a chapter in the Bible, yet, even in that holy book, Michael contrived to find something to flatter his passion for ships and sailors. By the time the boys had attained the age of fourteen, James had learned so much of the duties of husbandry, that his employer, as a reward for his diligence and industry, promised to hire him for the following year at man's wages. Poor Michael was much hurt that his brother would now be able to maintain his grandmother, and give her those comforts that her age required, whilst he could merely fish on the beach with lines for whiting or cod, or pick up stones for the bricklayers; and that he could do when he was but seven years old. He was so ashamed of his inferiority, that he made a resolution of going to labourer's work with his brother, and was determined to give up his favourite wish, to please his good grandmother; but an accident which happened that winter altered his intention.

The day had closed-in some time, on the Christmas eve; and, though the moon showed a bright light, yet the wind had risen as the night came on, and soon blew a furious easterly gale directly on to this dangerous coast. Amy had swept her cottage clean, and looked out some time for her grandsons, when James trudged in with a billet of wood on his shoulder, which he threw on the hearth. "I have staid later than usual, granny," he said, "to look after the horses of some gentry, who have just arrived at the Hall to spend the Christmas holidays; but the good 'Squire has sent you this nice piece of beef for your dinner to-morrow, and this wood to warm your poor limbs this bitter weather."

"May heaven bless both you and your good master!" said the grateful Amy: "and may both he and his ever have good cheer and warm fires, when the cold and hard weather comes on! But, James, have you seen your brother?"

At that minute, Michael opened the door: he brought with him some fine whiting on the lid of an old basket. "I have been lucky to-day, grandmother," said he; "I have caught as many fish along-shore as I sold in the town for seven groats. Here is the money; let it be put in the earthen pot, with the rest that is to buy you a red cloak this cold weather."

"Thank you, my dear Michael," said Amy: "how good and dutiful you both are! The time was, when I thought that the Almighty had dealt hardly in taking from the lone widow her only son,—but he has restored me that blessing in a twofold degree; and if I could but see you take to quiet farming-work like James—"

"Well," said Michael, "I will do my best to like it: though, I am afraid, I shall never get over my wish to be a sailor. But look at these fine fish! I might have sold them in town; but, I thought, as it was Christmas-tide, that you should have them for supper."

Amy now began to bestir herself to dress the supper. She soon raised a cheerful blaze; but just as she was putting on the fish, the loud report of a gun at sea made her start and drop them. It seemed so close to the cottage, that the concussion made everything rattle and ring around.

"Heaven help them!" said Amy; "it is some poor distressed ship's crew at sea, firing guns for help this stormy night. Oh, Michael! this is what you wish for! This is the life you love so much! Can you say you wish to be a sailor now?"

"I wish," answered Michael, "I had been sailor enough to go off in the pilot-boat I saw trying to put off just now as I came under the cliffs. There's a brave ship—a king's ship, I believe,—has been in distress all the evening; and they want a pilot to go to her, for they fear she will be driven by the gale right on to the bar;—but the wind and waves run so contrary, that though they have been trying for this hour, they cannot get the boat off. Hark! there is another gun! She has certainly struck! Oh that I could help them!"

Michael now started up, and sprang to the door; but Amy ran after him, and held him back. "Oh, stay, my dear boy," she cried; "don't go off to sea! Don't let me see another child perish before these old eyes!"

"No," said Michael, turning round, "I will not disobey you; besides, I have not experience enough to be of any great use. Our brave pilots would help them, if help were possible."

"See, brother!" said James, "there lies the ship; she is beating on the Barnet-reef, sure enough; and yet the moon shines bright through the storm."

"Yes," said Michael; "and could they have got a pilot that knew the coast, they might have been saved. Look! they are putting out boats. See! There are two!"

"Where? where?" asked James: "the white flashing billows dazzle my eyes. I can see but one little black speck dancing among the waves."

"Oh, yes!" said Amy, "even I can see two; but they will never reach the shore. See, there goes down one of them!"

"No, no! I hope not," said James; "it is only hidden for a moment between the high waves."

"I tell you it is gone," said Amy. "Alas! I know that shocking sight too well?—Don't I know what it is to see a boat swallowed by the sea? Come in, boys, or I shall think I see your father again washed on shore at my feet."

"Go you in," said Michael; "but I will stay and see if indeed some one be thrown on shore; for we may give timely help."

As he spoke, he plainly discovered some one struggling with the waves at a little distance. The brothers hastened to the spot just as the man was thrown with violence on the sands by the huge breakers; they seized and dragged him out of the reach of the waves, and Amy ran out of the cottage to help them.

"Is he dead?" said she, fearfully.

"I am afraid," said Michael, "that the waves, in throwing him ashore, have beaten the breath out of him; but he was alive just now, for I saw him struggle with the breakers."

They carried the poor man into the cottage, and tried every means in their power to revive him; but Amy had nothing better than a little elder wine to give him. This she hastened to warm; and James ran to the town to borrow or buy a little brandy, and to get medical assistance. He soon procured the liquor; but the doctor was so busy attending other sufferers who had been washed ashore, that he could not leave them. James thought it best to return quickly with the spirits; and he had the pleasure to see the person they had saved sitting in the chimney-corner; and after he had taken the brandy which James had brought, he seemed considerably revived.

It was not till he was out of danger that the kind cottagers remarked that the dress and appearance of their guest were far above those of a common seaman. Amy had put him on some dry clothes, which were more comfortable (though very coarse) than his dripping garments; and on holding up the latter to dry, an elegant watch fell from one of the pockets. This she hung up before the fireplace; and soon afterwards the weary stranger retired to rest, the brothers having cheerfully given up their bed, and slept that night on a heap of old nets and sea-weed in the cow-shed.

Early in the morning, the doctor came to visit the shipwrecked stranger, and brought with him one of the sailors, who had got safe to land in the other boat. As soon as they entered the cottage, the seaman cast his eyes on the uniform that hung at the fire, and eagerly asked if the owner of it were alive. He was informed that he was alive, and likely to do well; but that he was then asleep.

"Then the storm has spared one of the bravest captains in his Majesty's fleet," said the sailor.

"What! is he a sea-captain?" asked Michael.

"Yes," answered the sailor: "our brave Captain Lucas."

A voice from the inner room now called, "Is that you, Tom?"

"Yes, your Honour," said the sailor, who immediately recognised the voice of Captain Lucas, his commander. Captain Lucas called the sailor to him, and asked, with much anxiety, how many of the ship's company were lost? "Only ten," said he; "the long-boat came safe ashore; and several of those in the boat with you were picked up by the good town's-people. We thought all night that you were lost: it would have been a bitter loss to us, Captain; for you are, indeed, the sailor's friend. It was a dreadful sight for us to see your boat go down; but your Honour knows that we all begged you to go in the long-boat, for we said the other could not live in such a sea."

"Well, Tom," said the Captain, "mine was but a single life; most of you were fathers and husbands. I am thankful that so many have been spared; and, as for myself, I could not have fallen into better hands. Mind and get a good Christmas dinner, you and your messmates, to cheer your poor hearts; I'll be at the expense: thank God! I have enough to spare a few comforts for my brave sailors, after all their sufferings."

Tom, having made a sailor's acknowledgment, hastened to the town to tell his messmates the joyful news, that their noble captain was saved.

Captain Lucas was so much bruised, that the doctor told him he must keep in bed for a day or two, and take the medicine which he would send him; but the captain seemed averse to physic, and thought that Amy's treacle-possets did him more good. He refused to be removed from the cottage, saying that he could not find better quarters anywhere. Michael attended him with the greatest care, and his sailors came daily to see him.

Michael was delighted with the frankness and noble bearing of the Captain, and with the affection his men bore him: and Captain Lucas was as much pleased with the honest and warm-hearted Michael. "You are the brave fellow," he said to him one day, "that pulled me ashore."

"I helped my brother James," said Michael.

"It is not always," said the Captain, "that shipwrecked men fall into such good hands; but it shall be the better for you, my lad."

Captain Lucas was not a man to keep his bed a long time for a few bruises. He was soon able to walk about; and his first care was to see the bodies of the drowned seamen decently buried. He attended their funeral, with all the surviving crew, and showed himself to be as pious as he was brave.

The night before he departed for London, he handsomely rewarded old Amy and her grandsons for their kindness to him; and as he put some broad pieces into Michael's hand, he said, "My young friend, I thought of giving you and your brother the watch and rings which I had about me when I was thrown ashore; but I think these pieces will be more serviceable: and I give them to you as much for your uncommon honesty as the humanity you have shown to me."

"Ah, Sir!" said Michael, laying the gold on the table, "you could do me a favour, that I should prize more than your little golden clock[12] and all the Caroluses[13] in the world."

"Ah!" said the Captain; "and what is that, my lad?"

"To persuade my grandmother to let me go to sea with you."

"Well, my brave boy, I should be glad to have you under my command. What do you say, Amy? You hear your grandson's wish. But, remember, that I will never repay your hospitality so basely, as to take him away without your consent."

Amy sighed. "Well, your Honour, as it is Michael's desire, and as he has wished it for a long time, I wont deny him; for I see his heart is wholly set on being a sailor. I should have thought that the lives he had just seen lost would have shown him his folly; but, as it is, I would rather he should go to sea with such a noble gentleman as yourself than with any one else."

Michael rejoiced that his grandmother had at last given her consent. "While I can have Captain Lucas for a commander, and King Charles for a master," said he, "I never will serve a Suffolk farmer."

The Captain was pleased with his spirit; but Michael's heart rather failed him, when he bade farewell, the next day, to his good grandmother and his twin-brother. "I know the Captain wont despise me for crying," he said to Tom; for "I saw him weep when the poor sailors were buried."

"Ay! ay!" said Tom, "he has a tender heart, and he is the better for it, and so are you; and considering as how you are but a young one, I think you have borne it very well. Why I sometimes pipe a bit myself when I bid good b'ye to my Jane, and mother, and the little ones."

Captain Lucas was soon appointed to another ship; and Michael sent word to Amy and James, that he loved the life he had chosen better than ever, and that he would not change it for any other.

For a long time Michael was sadly missed at the cottage. James and Amy would look sorrowfully at one another, and shake their heads when they saw Michael's empty place at dinner, and the vacant corner where he used to put his three-legged stool by the chimney-side—and it was war-time. England was engaged in a severe struggle with the Dutch for naval pre-eminence in those days; and perhaps she never had to sustain a more arduous maritime contest; and Michael had many perils to encounter besides the danger of the stormy seas; but then he was very punctual in writing to his relatives—they were sure to have a letter from him at every opportunity; and Michael took a pride in sending home a considerable portion of his pay. Amy had so often heard that Michael was safe and well, that it was only after hearing of some sharp engagement that her heart ached for him. James was as diligent and industrious as ever, and kept his old place, and pleased his good master. Poor Amy had nourishing food and warm clothing, and more comforts in her old age than she had ever expected.

Three years passed quickly away, and James had grown a fine-looking young man. Old Amy, though healthy and strong for her years, seemed to fear that she should not see her dear Michael before she died.

The war now raged more fiercely than ever between the English and Dutch; and it was said that the fleets would soon come to action in the seas between England and Holland. James and Amy understood very little about this. All their care was to know whether it was likely for Michael's ship to be in the action: this they could not learn; but they saw a great fleet nearly opposite at sea, hovering to and fro, and many seamen and officers came on shore; but they neither saw nor heard anything of Michael; so they hoped he was not in the fleet.

It was a lovely morning in the latter end of May, and James had been some time at work in his master's fields, when he was suddenly startled with a tremendous noise, louder than any thunder he had ever heard. He looked round about, and up at the heavens; all was blue and serene there, and he could see no traces of a thunder-cloud: still the roar continued in horrid bursts that seemed to shake the shores and the very ground he stood on, and it rang and rebounded through the hollow coast with the most frightful din.[14] At last he cast his eyes towards the East, and there he saw, in the bar, white clouds of smoke, mixed with flashes of flame. "The sea-fight has surely begun," he said aloud, "so near in shore! Our cottage will certainly be knocked down with the balls." This thought induced him to throw down his hoe, and away he ran towards his home, thinking of nothing but his poor grandmother.

He got safely down the cliffs, though the cannon-balls were coming on shore very near him, and in some places they actually shattered large pieces of earth and stones from the cliffs. James found poor old Amy kneeling by the bed in the inner room, hiding her face and half dead with terror. He wanted to take her farther up the country, out of the reach of danger; but Amy dared not venture out of the house, and James could not persuade her that the cottage would be no defence in case a cannon-ball should strike it. He determined at first to take her in his arms and carry her away to a place of safety: "But, who knows," thought he, "but I may drag her into the very danger she dreads so much?" So he determined to stay with her at every risk, and they spent the day half-deafened with the roar of the cannon, expecting every moment that their little home would be shattered about them.

Towards evening, the firing grew weaker and weaker, and the people who were beholding the fight from the cliffs, shouted that the Duke of York had gained the victory. But before the action was quite over, a boat was seen making to the shore; it seemed to bear in the direction of Amy's cottage, and actually ran on shore within a few yards of it. The sailors leaped out, and, lifting an officer in their arms, bore him towards the cottage; whilst a young sailor walked slowly after, leaning on an old seaman's arm. James flung open the cottage door, and told them to place the officer on the bed. They accordingly laid him down. He moaned faintly with pain. At the sound of his voice, the young sailor approached the bed with an unsteady step. Amy gazed wistfully on the young man, and then on James;—they were exactly alike. "It is my own boy Michael!" she cried at last.

"Yes, it is Michael!" said James, throwing himself on his neck.

"Ah, my poor grandmother! and my dear James!" said Michael, "I have come home to you in a sorrowful hour! My noble Captain is mortally wounded."

"Is this the brave gentleman who took you away, and behaved so kindly to us? Alas, how wan he looks!" said Amy, looking mournfully on the pale features of Captain Lucas, as he lay fainting on the lowly bed, where they had placed him.

"But you look as white and ill as he does, Michael!"

"Yes," said he faintly, pointing to his side, from which the blood slowly trickled; "I was wounded whilst fighting near him—I return to my home once more; but it is to die. Our Captain's brother took the command of the ship after he fell; and when the fight slackened, he sent the boat ashore with him, in hopes of getting better assistance. He did not know I was wounded, but he told me to go on shore with my master, and take care of him. Instead of suffering the sailors to take him to the town, I bade them steer direct for the cottage on the beach. He laid his noble head there when he was in distress before; and I resolved that he should not die among strangers."

Here Michael's voice faltered with grief and pain; and he was so faint that he would have sunk from his seat, had not James supported him in his arms. A surgeon arrived soon after, and at once pronounced that the Captain's wounds were mortal, and that Michael was in a dangerous state. Before night, Captain Lucas's brother came on shore, and hastened to the cottage: Captain Lucas held out his hand when he saw his brother. "William," said he, "is England victorious?" William Lucas turned from his dying brother, and wept.—"Oh yes, Charles! The Duke has gained the battle, but it is a dearly-purchased victory."

"Many a one has fallen, William, who will be more missed than I shall be," replied the Captain. "I have but one dear brother to weep my loss.—Hear my last request: you know, by my will, you inherit my estates;—but give my faithful Michael the gold in my portmanteau, and a hundred pounds besides, to be divided between him and his brother: if Michael should die, give his share to his grandmother—I fear I have robbed her of one of the props of her age! It is owing to the good inhabitants of this cottage that my death has been a glorious one: three years ago they saved my life from the waves on this coast."

Captain Lucas did not live through that night: and Michael only survived him two days. They were buried together, with many a hero who fell in that engagement. Captain William faithfully executed his brother's dying request. But it was not the riches they obtained that could console Amy and James for the loss of their dear Michael;—it was long before they could think, without extreme sorrow, on his untimely death.

James's good master assisted him with his advice in laying out the Captain's legacy, which amounted to more than five hundred pounds. James took a good farm, and, by his unremitting industry, soon became a rich man; and old Amy had the pleasure of seeing her great grandchildren born to affluence: yet the beautiful month of May never returned but she remembered with sadness the fall of her brave sailor-boy and his noble captain.

THE END


[1] Cutting away the mast is nobly described by poor Falconer.

"'Haste, with your weapons cut the shrouds and stay,
And hew at once the mizen-mast away!'
He said: the attentive sailors on each side,
At his command the trembling cords divide.
Fast by the fated pine bold Rodmond stands,
Th' impatient axe hung gleaming in his hands:
Brandish'd on high, it fell with dreadful sound:
The tall mast groaning, felt the deadly wound."

Shipwreck.

[2] The well is an apartment in a ship's hold, serving to enclose the pumps. It is sounded by dropping a measured iron rod down into it by a long line; hence the increase or diminution of the leaks is easily discovered.

"They sound the well, and, terrible to hear,
Five feet immersed along the line appear;
At either pump they ply the clanking brake,
And turn by turn the ungrateful office take."

Falconer's Shipwreck.

[3]

"While on the quivering deck, from van to rear,
Broad surges roll in terrible career,
Rodmond, Arion, and a chosen crew,
This office in the face of death pursue.
The wheel'd artillery o'er the deck to guide,
Rodmond descending, claim'd the weather side.
Fearless of heart, the chief his orders gave,
Fronting the rude attacks of every wave.
Meantime Arion traversing the waist, }
The cordage of the leeward guns embraced, }
And pointed crows beneath the metal placed. }
Watching the roll, their forelocks they withdrew,
And from their beds the reeling cannon threw.
Then from the windward battlements unbound,
Rodmond's associates wheel'd the artillery round;
Then, hurl'd from sounding hinges o'er the side,
Thundering they plunge into the flashing tide."

Falconer's Shipwreck.

[4] The progress of vegetation is very curious in those islands, which are supposed by geologists to be thrown up from the bottom of the sea by volcanoes, or formed by the unceasing labours of the coral animalculi. These generally present at first a rocky surface, barren and arid. By degrees, a little soil is deposited by sea-fowl and birds of passage; on this at first grow the seeds of some of those minute plants, which are literally carried on the wings of the wind from countries that appear too far distant for any such conveyance. These plants flourish, fade, and are renewed by the seasons, until from their decayed parts is formed that fine vegetable mould which overspreads the more fertile surface of the earth. When this process is begun, if the land receives from the hand of some benevolent discoverer a few seeds of trees or plants to which the climate is congenial, the work of fertilization is rapidly accelerated; grass grows luxuriantly under the shade of the trees: verdure increases, and creeps farther and farther, till from one little spot, an oasis in the midst of a desert, the whole island becomes fruitful.

[5] The sciences requisite to form a complete seaman are beautifully described by Falconer:—

"Him Science taught by mystic lore to trace
The planets wheeling in eternal race;
To mark the ship in floating balance held,
By earth attracted, and by seas repelled;
Or point her devious track through climes unknown,
That leads to every shore, and every zone.—
He saw the moon through heaven's blue concave glide,
And into motion charm the expanding tide;
While earth impetuous round her axle rolls,
Exalts her watery zone, and sinks the poles.
Light and attraction from their genial source,
He saw still wandering with diminish'd force;
While on the margin of declining day
Night's shadowy cone reluctant melts away."

To add to this,

"That never seaman more serenely brave
Led Britain's conquering squadrons o'er the wave."

The Shipwreck.

Perhaps it will be considered that Falconer's beautiful poem is too generally known to give these extracts the charm of novelty; yet surely every one who is acquainted with the talents and fate of Falconer, will feel almost a tender emotion when his writings are alluded to, from a combination of circumstances. His poem is very interesting, his character and fate are still more so, and his memory is thrice hallowed and will be immortalized by the beautiful allusion to his Shipwreck in the "Pleasures of Hope."

[6] Commodore Byron found some repairs necessary at Rio de Janeiro.—"We had six Portuguese caulkers to assist our carpenters, who were paid at the rate of 6s. per diem; though it is certain an English caulker could do as much in one day as they did in three; but, though slow and inactive, they perform their work very effectually."

Byron's Voyage.

[7] Sir Cloudesly Shovel, Admiral Hopson, Admiral Campbell, Sir Samuel Cornish, and many other gallant gentlemen, rose from the lowest ranks.

[8] Cox's Travels.

[9] Encyclopædia Britannica.

[10] Otherwise called Aurora Borealis.

[11] The mollissima, or eider-duck, is double the size of the common duck. The feathers, which are soft and valuable, fall off during incubation. The male is white above, but black below and behind; the female is greenish. This species is found in the Western Isles of Scotland, but in greater numbers in Norway, Iceland, and Greenland; from whence vast quantities of the down, known by the name of eider, or edder, (which these birds furnish,) is annually imported. Its warm, light, and elastic qualities, make it highly esteemed as stuffings for coverlets and down beds. This down is produced from the breast of the birds, in the breeding season. The eider-duck lays its eggs among the stones or plants near the shore, and prepares a soft bed for them by plucking the down from its own breast; the natives watch the opportunity, and take away both eggs and nest. The duck lays again, and repeats the plucking of its breast. If she is robbed after that, she will still lay; but the drakes must supply the down, as her stock is now exhausted: but, if her eggs are taken from her a fourth time, she wholly deserts the place. The number of eggs in each nest are from three to five, warmly bedded in down; they are of a pale olive colour, and very large, glossy, and smooth. The ducks now and then, however, lay as many as eight, for sixteen have been found in one nest, with two females sitting on them, who agree remarkably well together. They take their young on their backs to sea; then dive to shake them off, and teach them to shift for themselves. They live on shell-fish, for which they dive to great depths. The males are five years old before they come to their full colours. It is said they live to a great age, and grow quite grey.

[12] Watches were only in general use at court, in the time of Charles the Second.

[13] The gold coinage in the reigns of the Stuarts were commonly called Caroluses and Jacobuses.

[14] In an old song, published a few days after Solebay fight, there are the following lines:—

"Well might you hear their guns, I guess,
From Sizewell Gap to Easton Ness;
They fill'd up all the hollow coast,
From Walberswick to Dunwich."





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