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tor," roared the pirates, among whom Left to the solitude of his cabin, the Lieutenant was the most excited. whither old Tom had hurried him,
Trevanion eyed them with a look of muttering, as he thrust him down the cold contempt; “ you may bear me companion ladder, many a tough curse down by numbers," said he, “and glut on the Captain's folly in having any your vengeance on an unarmed man, thing to do with such a “ fair-weather but you shall not compel me to shed spark," John's thoughts were of the the blood of those who never injured most distracting nature possible. Now me. As for you, Captain Davis, I he determined to rush up on deck and have merely to observe, that it is but meet an honourable death, fighting a short time since you solemnly plight side by side with the Spaniards, and ed your faith to me, that you would now, as he recalled the image of Mary, not attempt to coerce my inclina. he desisted from his desperate purpose. tions till a full week had elapsed. As No, he said, while there is life there is a man, then, and as a Christian-for hope, and possibly a few hours may I perceive you lay great stress on your procure me release from my prison. religious duties—I call upon you to Courage then, all may yet be well, fulfil that promise."
and the last as well as the first part The pirate was evidently staggered of the witch's prediction be accomby this address. His first impression plished. had accorded with his crew's, that the His reverie was here broken in upon youth was an arrant coward; the cool by the tremendous uproar that now and imperturbable demeanour of Tre- raged upon deck. To every broadvanion, however, soon convinced him side poured in by the Don, the pirates that this could not be the case, and he responded by a fierce yell of derision, was already hesitating as to how he and a cannonade that set the vessel should act-for he had as sincere a quivering from stem to stern. Oh, liking for John as it was possible for how often did John pray for the sucsuch a man to have when this appeal cess of the Spaniards, though his heart to his honour decided him. Assuming, sank within him, while ever and anon therefore, a less savage aspect, he said, he heard the pirate chief cheering on “ the fool speaks truth, lads; I did his men in such terms as “ give her pledge him my word, and I will not grape enough, lads—hurrah for the break it, be the risk what it may. One black flag-now's your time, Jack, lay hand more or less will be of no conse. us alongside her, and twenty piastres quence; and to-morrow he is ours, or to him who first mounts her deck." up he goes to the yard-arm. 'Twas And now roared the full hurricane an absurd promise on my part, but I of battle. Hark to the crash of the stand to it, as he shall to his. Heaven falling mast--the demoniac cries of help the lubber, he has missed a glo- the bucaniers--the blasphemous oath rious opportunity of making his for--the wild hurrah--the trampling of tune!"
feet on the crimsoned deck, and the An angry murmur here rose among instant rush of life in one shrill, the crew, who crowded close up to agonizing scream from some wretch Trevanion as if they would have hack- shot right through the heart! And ed him to pieces. The Lieutenant while this wholesale carnage is going was the foremost, and was actually pre- forward all is peace and gentleness in paring to level his pistol at the youth's surrounding Nature! Heaven's coun. head, when the Captain, after wrest. tenance is radiant with smiles--the ing it from his hand, shouted in a voice wind, but of late so fresh, is lulledof thunder, “ down with your barkers, the sea sleeps with scarce a wrinkle the first who stirs, dies. D-n, have on its surface. Oh, man, man! if this you no sense of religion, that you thus world be a “ vale of tears" it is thou set your Captain's authority at naught? chiefly that dost make it so! Away, each man to his post ; see, the Threc times were the pirates reDon is preparing his broad-side! As pulsed, and as often did they make for this youngster, since he is resolved good their footing on the enemy's for a few hours to remain neutral, I deck. John mean.
n-while kept listenwill put it out of his power to be ing to the uproar above his head with treacherous, so down with you below feelings of indescribable agitation, decks; and woe to you if you play the which soon increased to such a degree same boy's game to-morrow." that he could bear it no longer, and,
unarmed as he was, was in the act of deck, for the ruffians were returning rushing up to take part with the from the captured vessel, laden with Spaniard, when two men came down plunder. In a few minutes steps des. bearing old Tom, mortally wounded, cended the companion, and Trevanion in their arms, whom with the utmost could distinctly hear—for he had now sang froid they left to bleed to death retreated to his own berth—one or on the cabin floor.
two men arranging the tables, and Trevanion's feelings were now di- making preparations for a night of rected into a new channel. He ap- unusually drunken revelry, while proached the wretch, and strove to others were piling up bags of moidores, staunch the blood that was fast flowing piastres, and other treasure, in a spare from a gaping wound in his head. corner of the cabin. But the veteran waved him off. No sooner were these completed, “ Avast brother, avast,” he feebly and the corpse of old Tom licaved gasped out, “it's no use whatsomever overboard, than the Captain hurried -all's up with me, tho'ff' it might have below, and accompanied by the skelebeen otherwise had the Cap'n given ton of his crew-for the late conflict orders to board in time. In the good had seriously thinned their numbers-old days of"
took his seat at the head of the table. “ Let me raise you up," said John, “ No business to-night, lads," he softened by the sight of the pirate's said, it will be time enough to agonies, “and you will breathe more divide the booty to-morrow," and he freely,” at the same time applying his tossed off a large horn-full of raw handkerchief to the wound.
brandy to the success of the black “ Who speaks : ” exclaimed the dy- flag. ing man, deliriously. “ Are you go- From this time all was clamour and ing to shove me overboard: Avast confusion. Obscene songs, oaths, and heaving-I arn't dead yet! Ah, they frightful blasphemies, were bandied come! they warned me they would about as so many capital jokes--all come when I fung 'em to the sharks talked, none listened, and it was plain at Vera (ruz. Save me, brother!-- from their excited condition, that the see, they swarm in crowds about me! revellers would soon be in a state of —now they are standing right ahead! utter insensibility. It was at this --now-pipe all hands to prayers-- critical period that a wild desperate that'll keep 'em off!-Hah, hah!” and idea flashed across Trevanion's brain. raising himself with difficulty, the What if he should remain concealed fear-stricken wretch just managed to where he was till the pirates were scramble on his knees, and clasp his past all power of movement! Nothing hands in prayer, when he fell back, could be more evident than that the and lay stretched a corpse at Tre- Captain, as well as the crew, had in vanion's fcet.
the enthusiasm of the hour wholly As the young man stood fixed in forgotten him. It did not escape his contemplation of the ghastly object recollection that, on the occasion of before him, his ears were saluted by a their last carousal, they drank like tremendous shout of “ Hurrah, the very bigots to the bottle, and he felt Don has struck his flag!” The sound persuaded that in this instance their thrilled to John's heart like the trump devotion would be still more intense. of doom. “ Gone, all gone,” he said, Ile remembered also having heard the and for the moment meditated suicide cry of land raised from the mast-head, --but soon his better genius came to and could he but contrive to make his his aid. Suddenly he heard the voice escape in the boat, which had been of Captain Davis, in reply to the lieu- hoisted out to take up some wounded tenant's question of " What shall we pirates who had fallen overboard at do with the prisoners ?” make answer, the close of the action, he did not des“ Overboard with them all, then look pair of being able to reach it in safety. to the piastres, bring them on board, But he was unarmed. lle must pass and scuttle the ship.”
through the state cabin, and if but one For some time after this brief eye recognised him, his doom was dialoguo all was comparative silence sealed. No matter-better die so on board the pirate ship. At the ex- than linger out existence among the piration of an hour, however, the very scum of society. quick tramp of feet again sounded on His heart swelled high with hope as he pondered on this scheme, and knees, and screwing up his body into sat listening, hour after hour, to the the smallest possible compass. increasing uproar of the rioters. . And now he is standing--say rather Shortly, to his no little delight, he crouching-right opposite the dreadheard the Captain, in husky and al. ed pirate chief, to whose ensanguined most inarticulate tones, call for lights features the glimmer of the lamp imand more grog--on which there was parts a still ghastlier expression. Ilah, a sudden movement among some of the ruffian's eyes are slowly opening! the crew, while the as sudden evanish- God of Heaven, is he awake! 'Twas ment of others under the table, satis- a moment of intense anxiety. Joly fied Trevanion that the party were stood like one spell-bound, bowed fast approaching that consummation down beneath the influence of some which he so ardently desired.
mighty curse, while the stony gaze of Another hour clapsed, and the noise those fixed still orbs remained rivetted momently grew less and less, though on him. Had a spectre crossed his a couple of desperate Dutch prosers path at midnight on some blasted still kept up a steady, drony hum be- heath he could not have been more tween them, like cockchafers on the bewildered. His teeth chattered wing. At length these too came to the sweat stood on his brow--his knees an anchor with their yarns; and now knocked convulsively together. His the entire fraternity, worn out with agitation, however, was but momenfatigue and excitement, having glided tary, for the pirate showed not the by a natural transition from the em- slightest token of recognition, perbraces of Bacchus into those of Mor- ceiving which John hastened to seize pheus, John, gathering courage, yen- one of his pistols, and then moved on tured to throw open his door and look towards the door. in.
What a sight presented itself! Unfortunately, when he reached the The table was strewed with horns, further end of the table, he made a cans, and fragments of broken glass. false step, and stumbled with some On the floor lay many of the pirates violence against one of the spirit unable to stir hand or foot_à few, casks. seated on tubs, were leaning their The Captain's cars caught the backs against the wall, their faces, and sound. “ Gomez, is that you ?” he grea part of their clothes, spotted enquired, in a thick tone of voice full with dried blood, while the Captain of sleep. was stretched full-length on a bench, Trevanion made no reply, but snoring a tremendous trumpet sulo, adroitly secreted himself bencath the with his pistols placed on the table, table, keeping his foretinger on the and his sword dangling idly by his side. trigger of the pistol, with the deter. Never was seen so disgusting an ex- mination to blow out the brains of hibition of vile unmitigated debauch- the first ruffian who should approach ery! 'Twas as if Satan and his imps him. held carnival there.
But fortune favoured him in this For some minutes John stood gaz- critical emergency, for the Captain, ing with a sickening sensation at the after shifting about on his bench, and scene before him, fearing even to half raising himself on his elbows, draw breath lest he might wake some sank back into his old position, and in of the slumbering innocents, particu- a few minutes was as fast asleep as larly the Captain, whose sleep, from his comparative lightness of respira- Trevanion now ventured to emerge tion, appeared to be such as he might from his hiding-place, and soon reachbe roused up from without much diffi- ed the cabin steps, up which he swiftly culty. But there was no symptom of hurried, halting, however, when his a return to consciousness on the part head was on a level with the deck, of any one of the pirates, for the and directing a searching glance fore stifling heat of the cabin had over- and aft to ascertain whether any of the powered them quite as effectually as crew were on the watch. The night, their debauch. Having satisfied him however, being cloudy, he was unable self of their condition, John made his to satisfy himself on this point, but way into this worse than den of Comus, fancied that he could perceive the dark casting keen glances around him, as outline of two figures stretched upon he crept on, and bowing his head and deck with their heads resting on a coil of rope near the ship's bows. the cabin. In an instant he threw Here was fresh cause for anxiety. But down the weapon, and had barely John had gone through too much to time to fling himself along the quarter. be daunted by this new obstacle-he deck, as if in profound sleep, when waited, therefore, a few minutes be- the Captain stumbled over him. fore he ascended into the open air, " Halloo," hiccuped the pirate chief, and then hearing no sound or stir of 66 who the h_ll have we got here?" life, stole noiselessly along the quarter- Trevanion started to his legs, and deck.
was beginning, with well affected When he reached the further end, anger, to expostulate with the indiviwhat was his dismay to see lying full- dual who had thus disturbed his relength on deck, close by the helm, a pose, when the Captain, who at once silent solitary figure.
6 Curses on recognised him, said, “ What, is it you, him!” said the young man, grinding youngster? Why, I had quite forhis teeth with vexation, “shall I?- gotten you ; how is it you did not join No, the sound of the pistol would our brave fellows below? But perrouse the whole crew_besides he may haps you were as well away, for these be so fast locked in sleep as to be able bouts of ours are apt to play strange to offer no interruption. I will be tricks with a man's noddle. Devil quiet, therefore, for caution is now a soul is able to stir but myself ; my only chance."
however, it's no great odds, for the Accordingly, he took his station night's as calm as a sleeping babe ; near the sleeper, hoping the best, yet and Morgan's squadron will be heavprepared to brave the worst; the heetie ing in sight shortly, and it will then fever of his frame cooled by the gentle be time enough to be on the alert. night-air, which played over him with As for me, I'm just as sober and fit a freshness the more grateful from the for duty as ever I was," and so saying, noxious heat and fumes of the den he after vainly endeavouring to balance had just quitted. After waiting near- himself, he gave a sudden lurch that ly a quarter of an hour in a state of utter nearly threw him on his beam-ends. inactivity, he could bear this suspense “ Steady, brother, steady, and be no longer; and finding that the figure damned to you," he continued, “ can't neither breathed nor stirred, he knelt you stand where you are, without rundown beside him, and looked closely ning athwart my hawse ? but I see how into his face. 'Twas a corpse he gazed it is, you've got your grog abroad ; on--a corpse gashed with so many well, another glass will do neither of frightful wounds that scarce a single us harm, so come down with me befeature was discernible !
low deck." At any other time such a sight would “Excuse me, Captain Davis, for have completely unhinged Trevanion, this one night; to-morrow I am at but now austere and desperate thoughts your service, and join your brave engrossed him ; and, availing himself crew." of the favourable moment, he darted “ Well said, lad, did'nt I tell you forward, and leaning over the stern, you'd think better of it ?--You've saw, as he had anticipated, the object heard of course that old Tom is gone?" of his fondest hopes, which was moored “ Yes, I was with him in his last by a rope to the ship. 6 Thank moments." heaven!" he exclaimed, concealing “ Ah! poor soul, you've lost a good the pistol, “oars too in the boat! Now friend in him, though mayhap you did then, or never is my time ; the sea has not know it. It was only this morngone down, and I may possibly con- ing he was advising me to make you trive to reach land; but if not, why, a walk the plank ; but that's his way, watery grave is the very worst fate I he was always so full of fun. Weil, can meet with, and as certain destruc- he's gone, but it's some comfort to tion awaits me if I remain here." think that he died like a Christian in Thus soliloquizing, he prepared to the discharge of his duty. Poor Tom, undo the fastenings, but finding this a I could grieve for him”_and here the more troublesome job than he had pirate's drunkenness took a sentimencalculated on, he took up a small dag- tal turn—“if I could grieve for any ger that lay near the corpse, and had thing, for I had always a d-d soft just succeeded in severing the rope, heart-Ah! lad, you should have seen when he heard steps ascending from the fun we had to-day with the Spaniards, such kicking, and squalling as who had with difficulty kept his passion we flung 'em—but zounds, my head under restraint, glided stealthily tospins round like a top; well, I'll just wards the ship's bows, and finding go and snooze away an hour or two; the watch still fast asleep, having conand if you'd take my advice, you'd do fided, like Palinurus, to the serene so to. What, you won't? well, you aspect of sea and sky, he hurried back shall have your own way; so good again to the stern, swung himself into by, I shall be up again within the the boat, and pushed off from the hour;” and away went the Captain, vessel, plying the oars with a speed swaying to and fro like a lugger in a and energy marvellously quickened heavy swell.
by his apprehensions. No sooner was he gone, than John,
Two years have elapsed since the It was, then, just two years after the events mentioned in the last chapter. events alluded to in the foregoing chapThe space measured by the ordinary ter, that late one summer afternoon a length of human existence is a brief young man, whose countenance bore one; but brief as it is, what an amount the trace of many trials, entered the of joy and grief, startling circumstance, village of South Zeal, and hurrying and bitter experience may not be com- rapidly past the main street, turned prised in it! Some have lived a whole up a shady lane that led to the cottage life in two years, while others have of Mr Mordaunt. That gentleman, slumbered through the same period, who chanced to be in his garden at the unconscious of aught but that they time, no sooner cast his eyes on the breathe vital air. Two years have stranger who had halted at the gate, changed the destinies of heroes and of than he at once recognised Trevanion, nations. In 1812 Napoleon was con- and hastening up to him, and shaking queror of Europe; in 1814 he was a him cordially by the hand, he said, hopeless exile, doomed to see the most “welcome, my boy, a thousand welcolossal empire that earth has yet comes; this is indeed a surpriseknown, fall with a stunning crash, who'd have thought it? Why, John, leaving scarce a fragment to show do you know I had given you up for that it had once existed. Two years lost, having never once heard of, or have delved wrinkles in the brow of from you, since your departure ; howbeauty ; taught buoyant youth that he ever, better late than never, so come is mortal ; and unwilling age that in, my boy, come in, and let us hear the grave is but a step off him. Where your adventures ;" with which words is that fair girl whom I saw but two Mr Mordaunt entered the cottage, folshort years since shedding sunshine lowed by the eager Trevanion. around her by her presence? I look When they had taken their seats, for her-she is gone ; the light of her “ Well, and when did you arrive, young eye is quenched ; the smile has John?” exclaimed the old gentleman, passed for ever from her lips; and I " and where have you been to ? and see instead—what? a pale, deserted how's your father? You've seen him wife hanging in tears over her first of course." born. And have two years, gentle "Not yet," replied John, looking reader, wrought no change in you ? anxiously towards the door, as if Are you the same man now, that you he moniently expected Mary would were then: Have you had no hopes enter. subdued, if not crushed ; seen no gol- “ Not yet?" repeated Mr Mordaunt den visions “fade into the light of with surprise. common day;" lost no dear friends “ No, but I shall see him this evenor relatives, and with them a portion ing. You know, sir, I could not pass of yourself? Alas, not so! The iron your cottage on my road to the Hall, has entered into your soul as it has and not stop for an instant to enquire into mine. The weight of two years after old friends ; why, it is now three hangs heavy on both of us, as it did years since I have seen Mary; I trust also on poor John Trevanion, the she has not forgotten me." sequel of whose strange fortunes I " Oh no--that is, I mean-but let now proceed to relate.
me hear your adventures, John," said