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board and engulph the vessel.- much as seeing their commander viHaving got the better of my own gilant in his duty ; besides, were I fears, I waited for some time in ex- known to be a doomed man, not a pectation of his re-appearance, try- single hand would trust himself in
ing to conjecture the cause of such the ship with me. I must, therestrange conduct, till, at length, una- fore, beware of giving them further ble to endure longer suspense, I got cause to conjecture the reason of my a lantern lighted at the binnacle, and abrupt retreat.” descended to the cabin. I found him So saying, he left me: and, finding on the after-lockers, with his face all desire for sleep completely ba. hidden in his hands: he raised it nished, I sat ruminating on the perat my entrance, and I saw it was ex- versity of human nature on the vaceedingly wan, and that a slight rious means man falls on to embitter shivering ran through his frame. the brief tenure of his life, bringing “ In the name of heaven, captain," imaginary evils and miseries in aid said I, “ what is the matter that of those which we all too truly exyou shake so, are you taken sud- perience as the concomitants of our denly ill ?" " Thank
thank you, existence. Sir," he answered, “I am well-in After a while the captain came beperfect health--but I have a feeling low again; the gale had abated, and here,” and he pressed his hand to there was no immediate necessity for his heart, “ which you cannot un- his remaining on deck. “ And now, derstand, and the cause of which you Sir," said he, “ if you feel no incliwould only laugh at, were I to tell it nation for bed, and are willing to you.” “I do not think I should,” lend me your attention, I will recount returned I: “this is no time for mer- a few of the leading incidents of my riment; if the ship is in hazard, our life, which will show you that a madanger is mutual, and I see nothing riner's superstition has nought to do laughable in the idea of our going to with the affair : the bottom.” “ No,” he replied, you mistake
me, there is no fear of I was sent to sea at an early age, that, and if there were a risk, our and bound cabin-boy to a barque danger is not mutual. The gale will belonging to S- -, a small seanow take off, and as far as timber port village in Ayrshire. I had for and iron goes we have as staunch a my fellow-apprentice a boy nearly of sea-boat under us as ever stemmed my own age, and my most intimate salt-water; she will make better companion, called George Cuthbertweather in a gale of wind than any son. Our parents were next door neighseventy-four in the navy; she is well bours, and in habits of great friendfound above and below, and my ship. We had been at school togecrew are every one of them as true ther-shared in the same amusebred seamen as ever rove reef points ments-had fought each others batthrough grimits. We are as safe as tles and now felt happy that we hearts of oak, in every sense of the were to acquire our nautical knowphrase, can make us. No, Sir, that ledge unseparated. We served our is not what troubles me. I now know time faithfully; and when it expired, but too well that I am a doomed made several voyages to different man-I feel that my fate is sealed, ports of America and the West-Inand it is that fearful certainty which, dies. I was shortly afterwards made with a weight like our best bower- mate of the vessel, and we were on anchor, presses on my soul, para- our passage to Smyrna, when we lizes all my faculties, and renders were captured by a French privateer existence a curse instead of a bless- off the Land's end, and carried into ing; I see that you think me raving Port Louis. Unfortunately for us, under the influence of a distempered this happened at the period when imagination. At one period of my Buonaparte permitted no exchange life I was as incredulous as you, but of prisoners between the two nations: woeful experience has since taught we were, therefore, marched far into me otherwise. I will explain myself the interior along with several ships' more at large; but I must now go companies, and confined in the forton deck till these squalls blow over, ress of Breal. I will not take up your for nothing encourages seamen so attention by a recital of the hardships
, we endured during the five years of had broken his right leg below the our imprisonment. Our treatment knee, and could not move a step. was more like that of brutes than What was now to be done ?-every of one Christian nation towards an- moment was precious—there was other; but Cuthbertson and I wea- nothing for it but to get him on my thered through it, and that was more back, which we did, and I fled as than hundreds of our fellow-captives fast as the weight of my burden did. Twice we made our escape, would allow me. Taking spell and but were recaptured both times, spell about, we travelled till daytreated with additional rigour, and breaking warned us to seek some threatened with instant death if we place of concealment. We accordmade the attempt again. Neverthe- ingly lay down in the middle of a less, we tried it once more, with the large turnip field, and covered ourresolution either to regain our free- selves with the leaves as much as dom or perish. After months of cau- possible. When twilight came on, tious and unremitting labour, we we again took up our charge, marchsucceeded in undermining the corner ed all night, and in the morning, of our stone floor, and bored a pas- found ourselves in a lonely little dell, sage through the wall at the bottom over arched with trees and bushes, and of the building. This outlet took us with a small stream of water flowing clear of the centinels, but still we through the midst. had a descent of more than twenty I now found that our poor Capfeet over the face of the rock to over- tain had not much longer to endure
There were eleven of us con- his sufferings his limb had swelled fined in the same dungeon, and most to a fearful size, with the bone propart of these were our own crew. truding several inches; it was proWe set all hands to work; soon cut digiously inflamed, and mortificaup our blankets into stripes, and tion had already taken place. “God formed a sort of rope by which we bless you both, my good lads !” he were to lower ourselves down. We all murmured, as we laid him in a sort landed safe except our captain, who of recess under the bank, “ God in was a heavy man, and on that ac- heaven bless you! you have acted count ag to be the last; he was the part of sons towards me, and not so fortunate. He had hardly de- what I would have done by you had scended half way, when his weight you been stranded in a strange land. proved too great for the frail tack- I feel that my last yarn's spun out, ling; it broke, and he was precipitat- and my glass run down--only i ed to the bottom. No time was now should have liked better to have been to be lost-the noise of his fall would laid under hatches in my own counprobably alarm the soldier on duty, try, and along-side of my own kith and the guard would be down on us and kin. But there's no help for it! in the turning of a capstan-bar. We The old hull must break up someall, therefore, separated; each tak- where, and it's all one whether she ing a different course, the better to lies stranded ashore, or founders unelude pursuit, and every one shifting der the deep-sea waves. Tell them for himself the best way he could. all about my mishap at home, if ever George and I were just darting off, you reach it; and bid Will be kind when the faint voice of Green the to his poor mother and the little ones captain arrested our steps. “ Jack,” -and now give me a drop of that said he, “and you Cuthbertson, will pure water to quench my burning ye both sheer off like land-lubbers, thirst-fare ye well once more, and and leave your old master and towns- the blessing of heaven go with you!" man aground here without ever lend- He died in the course of the aftering a-hand to tow him off a lee- noon; in the evening we dug his shore?" We were not proof against grave by the margin of the stream— this appeal. Both of us esteemed laid him in—and departed on our him; and though we were in a man- way. We travelled eight nights in ner giving up our only chance for es- the same manner, avoiding every hacape, we had not the heart to leave him bitation, and living on such wild herto die, without contributing what we ries and field roots as we could gacould to his assistance. We tried to ther, till the ninth, when we reached raise him on his feet, but in vain-he St. Malo just as day was beginning to dawn. We proceeded directly for “ I wish I could persuade yon, the harbour, where seeing a fishing- Jack," said my companion, “ to give boat lying afloat with her nets on up your birth here, and go home with board, we jumped in-sang a French . me. One of your late crew told me sea-song to deceive the sentinel that this ship would never see Old while we pulled past the batteries England again, for all the rats had -trimmed our sails to the wind, and forsaken her; and you know as well stood out to sea.
as any of us, that it is a sure sign Our good fortune still accompanied the ending of the vessel is not far us; the wind held fair, and the next distant when they leave her.” “Well, day we were picked up by the Hun- let them go," returned I, “ and a tingdon West Indiaman, bound for fair wind to their tails! I care not Savannah-la-mer; the Captain of though I never see a whisker of them which purchased our boat, and glade again, we shall get the more beef and ly received us on board.
biscuit for ourselves in that case. I On our arrival at port, we found know it's a common superstition the bloody flux raging with such among seamen, but do you think I violence, that, during the time we am such a swab as to believe that a were discharging the vessel, we bu- parcel of vermin can foretell a vesried the mate and two thirds of our sel's fate? No, no, I have engaged crew. Upon this the Captain offer- to go the voyage, and, if that's all, I'd ed me the berth, with orders to carry “Aye, but hearken to me,” interthe ship round to Mondego-bay, and rupted he, “ that's not all.” Many take in the produce oftwo estates there years ago, this ship left Nata, in the belonging to the owners. Cuthbert- bay of Panama, with a quantity of son had also got charge of a schooner specie for the merchants in London, for Clyde, which had lost her master, They had not been long at sea when and he accompanied me round, as she the mate and crew agreed to kill the was lying there too. The evening captain, share the money, and turn previous to his sailing, he came on pirates. He was accordingly at board the Huntingdon, that we might tacked when he came on deck, but spend one night together before we being a stout man he resisted, until, separated. It was one of the love- weakened by loss of blood, he reliest evenings I ever beheld. The treated to the bows, where he was sun had set behind the Blue Moun- overpowered, murdered, and thrown tains, but the reflection of his parting overboard. The villains kept these rays still tinged with purple and seas in terror for some time; but at gold the edges of the few light clouds last, decoyed by a disguised sloop of which floated round their summit. war, which they mistook for a merA gentle land-breeze had sprung up, chantman, they were captured, and insufficient to ripple the smooth the mate and five men run up to the surface of the water, but capable of fore-yard arm. Ever since that, the diffusing a refreshing coolness through captain's ghost haunts the vessel, but our frames, wearied and exhausted is never seen except to foretell some by the day's labour. All our hands disaster, either to the ship or crew. were askore at one of the plantations, The sailor who told me for the ship was anchored up a nar- that night we arrived at Savannah'; row creek; and the balmy fragrance and has not the prediction been fulof plants and flowers uniting with the filled in the death of our men ?” I solitude of the scene, shed a sooth- could not forbear laughing at the ing influence over us. Insensibly I conclusion of this story, to his great fell into a train of melancholy musing. annoyance, for he gave implicit creMy mind wandered to the home I dit to such tales. I declared my had been so long absent from. The total unbelief of supernatural ap. dear friends I had left there--were pearances, and tried to argue him they still in existence, and did they out of his faith in them, but to no recal thoughts of their wandering purpose ; he remained firm and fast. sailor? We talked over our early We had much discussion on the subdays of our scattered school-fellows ject, by which neither of us was -of our boyish adventures-of our convinced; so, getting fairly tired of more recent perils--and now of our the topic, I proposed taking supper parting
and turning in. I do not know how
long I had slept, when I was roused brighter and more defined, until I by Cuthbertson shaking me violently, distinguished a human face, wan and exclaiming, “Rise, Jack, for and ghastly—its eyes, lustreless and God sake, rise, I have seen him!” fixed, as those in the sockets of a I immediately started up; “ Seen dead man; and gore streaming from what," inquired I, “ what have you a wound over its temple. I shudseen?” but the poor fellow was in dered with horror at the sight, my no condition to reply—he had become knees bent beneath me, and I was insensible. I lifted him up, and on the point of sinking down, when, carried him on deck, where, by the rallying all my fortitude, with an application of a little water, he soon effort of desperation I threw myself recovered.
forward and attempted to seize it, “ After turning in,” said he, “I but nothing met my grasp. Panting lay thinking on what we had been and breathless, a cold perspiration conversing about, till I worked my bursting through every pore, and self up to such a state that I could with a feeling as if the scalp of my not fall asleep. I tried repeatedly to head was shrinking to nothing, I banish it from my mind, but in spite stopt and again looked on it. It of all my efforts to get rid of it, it stood without motion with its dull and still recurred. After tossing about lifeless eyes still riveted upon me. I for some hours, I got so heated that could endure their gaze no longer-I I could lie no longer, so I thought I felt my brain maddening with terror: would rise, and take a turn fore and driven to frenzy, I again darted foraft to cool myself, and see how the ward, and tried to grapple with it; night looked. The moon was dim but without any sensible motion it and hazy, and her light much ob- receded as I advanced, and, the scured by clouds driving with great moon suddenly becoming obscure, it swiftness across her surface. The vanished from my sight on the forewind was all a-peak—for the fly of castle. A faintness came over methe vane at the mast-head was mo- I thought the ship whirling roundtionless and drooping. Not a leaf I staggered to the companion, but rustled on the trees; and I almost how I got down to the cabin I know fancied I heard the rushing of the not.” He ceased, and the agitation clouds as they hurried over my head. of his frame showed how deeply he I never felt myself so impressed with was impressed with the reality of the the awful stillness of nature. I apparition. I again ridiculed the walked a good while to and fro, and notion of its having been a spirit, but then stopt and leaned over the bul- rather some phantasy of the brain warks at the waist to watch the pro- —a form conjured up by the force of gress of the carries, wondering why an over-wrought imagination; and, they flew so rapidly above, when it perhaps, a particular reflection of was such a dead calm below. While moonlight might perfect the delusion; thus engaged I chanced to turn my and I ended by swearing I would vot head, and thought I saw something trust the evidence of my senses, alwhite standing behind me. I start though my father should rise from ed, and rubbed my eyes to ascertain the grave and present himself before if I saw distinctly, for I had walked me. “ Well, Jack," he returned, the length of the deck only a few “ I'll argue the matter no more. I minutes before, and knew that our don't pretend to guess at the purport men had not yet returned. The of its visit-no trifle would occastory of the captain haunting the sion its becoming visible to human vessel now flashed across my mind, eyes; but this I know, that all the and the idea that I stood in the pre- powers on earth cannot shake my sence of an unearthly being created conviction of its reality, or prove it a feeling I cannot describe my heart a mere delusion of sight. We are leaped to my mouth at the conviction, now about to part, perhaps for ever; and a cold shivering thrilled through and if so, and I am permitted, i my body. I tried to shut out the promise to be thrice visible to you vision, but my eyes were fascinated before your death, if you are left in by some spell against which I had this world behind me. I laughed, no power of resistance. As I con- and swore I should be glad to see tinued to gaze it gradually became him--that I should dvem inyself secure till the last visit; and moreover, and boarding us by the bowsprit. I that I did not value all the rats and now left the gun í had been workghosts on earth a rotten rope-yarn. ing, and called out for our men to Here we ended. The boats came off stand fast; but instead of obeying, with our men, we all went to help they ran below for safety, with the the schooner into the bay, bade him Captain at their head, leaving me farewell as he got under-way, and alone on deck, and the colours flyreturned to our ship.
ing. I saw there was nothing more A few weeks afterwards we loads to be done, so throwing away my ed, and left Savannah ; and falling in cutlass, I was following their exwith a Halifax brig, we were in- ample, and had my back to the comformed that war had been declared panion in the act of descending, when I against the United States, whose pri- was surrounded, and ordered to stand. vateers were swarming in all direc- I cried out, that surely they wouldn't tions. One morning at day break kill an imarmed man. « Then, why we discovered a small cutter to wind- don't you haul down your colours ? ward; she was on the contrary tack, replied one of the fellows, and fired but in place of holding on her straight his pistol right in my face. I gave course, she kept yawing, and sheer- my head a sudden jerk to one side, ing, and gradually bearing down on by which means the ball only grazed us under English colours, and her my teeth and went through my foresail unset. Our men pronounced cheek, while both eyes were scorchher to be American built, and seem- ed and driven full of powder from ingly a Charleston pilot-boat; but the closeness of the discharge. I the Captain, on the contrary, thought was knocked over, and fairly thought her one of the mail-carriers which I was shot through the head ; but in ply between the islands, and shorten a little time I recovered, and finding ed sail to send a boat on board to the blood flowing from my mouth and get the news. The jolly-boat was cheek, I groped my way down the therefore prepared; but by way of ladder, where, getting hold of a sail, precaution we cast loose our guns I scraped off some tow, thrust it and prepared for engaging. As into the wound, and bound it round she neared us we could see but few with a handkerchief. I next exmen on board, which, with their tended my search for my chest, out manner of manæurring, gave her of which I took all my money, hid it such a suspicious appearance, that I about me, and lay down in my bed. proposed to fire a gun and bring her I remained undisturbed for an hour, to: for at arm's length I knew our brooding over the disasters such a heavy metal was capable of blowing short time had brought about, when her out of the water; but if she got I heard some one enter the cabin, under our guns she might easily carry and recognized the voice of the Capus by boarding. The Captain still tain. - We have run ourselves into hesitated, and desired me to have a fine mess, Gilkison," said he; “ inpatience, but he had scarcely pro- stead of our captors being Americans, nounced the words when a gust of I mistake much if they don't turn wind blew aside the corner of the out a set of sea-sharks. They have foresail, and disclosed the muzzle of been overhauling my papers above, à long swivel pointing out. There and swear that there is money on was no room for hesitation now-s0 board, and they threaten to make us I seized a trumpet, and desired them walk the plank if it's not instantly deto haul their wind, or else we would livered up. God only knows what I fire into them. “ Fire, and be am to do! I brought out some gold damned," was the reply.
privately on account of my owners, The sail was cast off, and the con- which I left at Savannah, but, like a tents of the swivel, with a shower of cursed idiot,I neglected to burn my prismall arms, poured on us. We re- vate instructions. They havelost two turned the broadside ; but it was now men by our fire, and that makes them too late to do any service, for she was like so many devils, which, upon my so close, and so much under us, that soul, I believe they are, for I never our shot went clean over them. We saw such a set of cut-throat looking had not time to exchange another, villains of all colours between the ere she was laid athwart our bows, gumels of a vessel.”
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