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“Oh! never mind the stump-pots the example of the admiral, when he see that you're ready at five.”
helped himself to the stumpsin question, There was no alternative, I was and in so far was only doing his duty." obliged to submit; and all the time we The range of captains who were were pulling ashore I was meditating seated round the table, stared in perwhat I should say in exculpation of fect astonishment at my audacity. Capmy misdemeanour. The appearance tain Morley laughed outright. As for of the company with whom I was to the worthy admiral, he was one of dine, did not tend to remove my em. those commanders who, at the dinnerbarrassment. They were all captains, table, forget the quarter-deck. He save myself and the flag-lieutenant. joined in a hearty laugh ; and only With the latter I was, fortunately, very replied, “ that if the case were as I well acquainted ; and a finer, nobler had stated it, perhaps the best thing fellow I never knew, either in the ser- the admiral could do, was to say vice or out of it.*
nothing about the matter.” The truth “Well, Widoe,” said he, “ in a little was, that Captain Morley, who was bit of a funk, eh! But don't be fright- always doing his officers one good ened ; and if the stumps are mentioned, turn or another, had gone ashore in be sure you pass it off as a joke.” the morning, expressly on purpose to
Shortly after we had commenced explain the affair, and had arranged dinner, and as soon as the dry cere- it all with the admiral before returning monial, which invariably fences the on board. I was invited to dinner table of a commander-in-chief in either merely to be “roasted” a little, by way service, had been somewhat got over, of punishment. the admiral apologized to the party for The business of provisioning the having given them no stumps.
ship being at length accomplished, we “ The truth is, gentlemen, my stump. weighed, and sailed for the Cape. It pots were plundered this morning. A was now four weeks since I had come pretty pass the service is coming to, on board from my visit at my uncle's ; Mr. Lascelles," he continued, address- and this period, short as it was, had ing himself to me, “when midshipmen worked wonders on me. The moping rob admirals' stump-pots!"
melancholy with which my separation He evidently waited for a reply, but from Sophia at first affected me, had I was so much embarrassed that I entirely disappeared, and I once more could not bring out a word.
engaged in the duties of my situation “ Did you ever hear of any midship- with that lively interest which is so men, Mr. Lascelles,” he continued, essential to performing them well. pressing the point, “who did such There is not, I believe, on earth a things?"
being more truly miserable than a man There was no getting over so pointed who has either mistaken his profession, a question ; so, screwing up my courage,
or who, from whatever cause, engages I bolted out the following reply, with in its duties as in a burdensome task. tolerable self-possession :
This misery I had fully experienced ; “I have only heard of one instance, and the pleasure I felt at being reSir; and the midshipman who did it, stored to my proper
self was proporthought he was only doing his duty.” tionably great. We bore away before
“ What ! a midshipman's duty to rob a steady breeze ; and the sun, whose an admiral's stump-pots!"
evening beams had gilded the rocks of “ It is a midshipman's duty, Sir, to St. Helena, rose in the morning upon a follow in all things, and to the best of wide expanse of empty waters. A week his ability, the example of his senior passed rapidly away without anything officers."
particular to mark it; every day the same * Well, what of that ?"
monotonous routine of common duty. "Only this, Sir ; that the midship- One night about four bells in the man to whom I allude, was following first watch,t I exchanged the sultry
Should these pages chance to meet the eye of this gentleman, Widoe Wildfire embraces the opportunity of sending him his very warmest regards, + Ten o'clock, p. m.
closeness of the midshipman's berth for vessel steerage way ;
and we could the free air on deck. It was a lovely distinctly hear the spinning noise of tropic evening. The sun had been for the line for some time after the boat some time gone down, and the slender was lost to our view in the obscurity. crescent of the young moon, whose In a few minutes all was again silent. rays were occasionally obscured by “ Did they take any lights with dense clouds, afforded but a feeble and them, Mr. Parsons ?" said Captain intermitting light. It was Strangway's Morley, addressing the boatswain. watch, and Captain Morley and he “ No, Sir ; they took nothing with were pacing the quarter-deck side by them but a couple of boarding pikes." side. The coolness of the evening “ Ah!" said 'Morley ; "that was a air was delightfully refreshing after great oversight. The moon will very the sultriness of the main-deck, and I soon go down, and in their situation leant over the bulwark to enjoy it. darkness must be attended with con
“ Pray what is that in the water, Sir ?" siderable danger. Let the second gig I said to the captain, as he and Strang- be lowered instantly; and harkee! way passed near me, and I directed which of the men are acquainted with their attention to several huge masses whale-fishing?" of some black-coloured substance that “ None of thein, Sir, as far as I rose and sunk from time to time under know, were ever on board a whaler in the bows of the ship.
their lives." Why, it must be a shoal of black- “ Let the boat be lowered instantly, fist,"
;"* said Strangway; and as he and send Mr. Settler here. It was spoke, a column of water was pro- rash in me to allow them to go on this jected from one of them into the air. foolish enterprize !"
Had we been whalers," said Cap- The boat was soon lowered, and the tain Morley, “this would have been a first lieutenant awaited the captain's lucky adventure—as it is, I fear we coinmands. must look out for squalls." +
" I must leave the ship for a short Whalers or not;" rejoined Strang. time in your charge, Mr. Settler," he way, “ I feel strongly inclined to have said.
“ To prevent accidents it will a run with one of them, if you have no be necessary to give Mr. Strangway objections, Sir.”
some assistance, and I believe I am “None,” said the captain ; " but the only man on board whose assistwhere will you find tackling for the ance can be of material service to him. purpose ?”
Let the blue-lights be taken from the “There's a harpoon on board, Sir, deck and put into the boat-we shall and as for a line, we have the deep- also require the quartermaster's lansea-lead line.” I
tern." Very well,” said Morley, With these precautions our worthy about it; I will take charge of the commander descended into the boat, deck for you during your
absence." and rowed off with four men to the The line was soon bent on to the har- assistance of his lieutenant. Soon poon; and Strangway, stepping into after they were gone, the weather the main-chains, very dexterously sent changed, and a strong breeze sprung it up to the socket in one of the fish. up; but as it blew steadily, and we Off the monster dashed, and the line were quite aware of the direction the spun like lightning from the reel. boats had taken, we never for a moThe whale-boat was instantly lowered; ment thought of any danger. At and Strangway, with four men, having last, as the captain had predicted, the descended, the reel, and a couple of moon disappeared, and the sea was boarding pikes, were handed down. involved in total darkness. Even this
There was very little wind at the circumstance did not, however, cause time, hardly sufficient to afford the us any alarm, for we had perfect con
• A small kind of whale commonly called finners.
| The deep-sea-lead-line, which is about 200 fathoms in length, is wound round a large reel, and langs constantly abaft ready for use.
fidence in the ability and expertness of despair. “ Can't we cast a gun loose, our favourite officers. But at length, and fire it whether he will or not ?" after rather more than an hour and a “ That would savour something like half had elapsed without bringing any mutiny, Sands," said Wetherall ; tidings of them, we began to be some might as well tack the ship whether he what anxious for their safety. All eyes will or not.” were eagerly strained on the look out, The rigging was by this time crowdand we puzzled ourselves inventing ed with officers and men, all keeping plausible reasons for their delay. Mr. an anxious look-out; and the boats Settler, meanwhile, paced the quarter- were constantly reported in one direcdeck, and never opened his lips, tion or another, so apt is imagination though we expressed our anxiety to deceive us when its powers are loudly enough in his hearing. increased by anxiety. But no boats
" Had you not better fire a signal appeared. Mr. Settler still kept pacing gun, Sir ” said Mr. Sands at last, the quarter-deck, and speaking to no going up to him, and interrupting him one. In this manner another hour in his walk.
passed away. “ What business have you to advise “ He's preparing to fire a signal at me, Sir ?" said the lieutenant, turning last,” said Mr. Granger, the marine sharply round. “I presume you are officer, who stood beside me on the aware, Sir, that the ship is under my main-top; " I see the gunner carrying command.”
a match." “ Perfectly, Sir," replied Sands, with Thank God!” I exclaimed, as, after great mildness; “ but I thought that a few minutes, the report of the gun as the wind had sprung up, and the rung through the rigging. I did not boats are so long of appearing at the moment reflect, though Mr.
Very well, Sir ; don't I know the Settler probably did so, that as the wind has sprung up as well as you do? breeze was blowing very strong at the You will be kind enough, Sir, to mind time, and as the boats must have been your own duty, and leave me to mine.” considerably astern, they could not
" Good God!" cried Sands, as he possibly hear the signal. joined a group of officers standing aft; Another half hour elapsed, and the "I hope the fellow has no improper sentinel struck two bells of the middle design. Why should he be so angry watch.* It was a fearful interval of at my proposing a signal gun to be time, during which a thousand things fired " The officers to whom he ad- were said, and a thousand more were dressed himself looked at each other, thought. But Mr. Settler all the but said nothing
while kept aloof from his comrades, The breeze was now blowing hard, exchanging words with none, pursuing and the sea running pretty high. The his own counsel and issuing his own ship, which had previously been hove commands. I prayed inwardly for to, made sail and hauled on a wind. daylight, but it was still several hours We were astonished at this movement, till sunrise. I stretched my anxious as its obvious tendency was to carry gaze in the direction the boats had us away from the boats.
taken ; but in vain ; not a trace of " I've seen a good deal of service," them was to be discovered; all around said Wetherall, who was standing was thick, impenetrable darkness. The among the other officers ; "and I sky was obscured by dense clouds ; think I ought to know something not so much as a star was visible. about the management of a ship : but “ By Heaven, here they are at last !" I'll be hanged if I understand the mean- cried Granger ; “look, Widoe, right ing of our hauling the wind at present, past the end of the main-yard !" the breeze being northerly, and the I looked in the direction he pointed direction of the boats due south." out, but could discover nothing.
" What, in Heaven's name, shall we “Don't you see them, man ?” cried do, Wetherall ?" said poor Sands, who Granger ; take my glass : do you see was reduced to a state of absolute them now ?”
• One o'clock in the morning.
With the assistance of the glass I quite agree with you, that steps ought descried a light in the distance. It to be taken.” was, indeed, a ray of hope ; but it “ The doctor's right,” said Wetherall. beamed only to deceive ; for it proved “Come, Sands, let's go together to to be nothing more than a solitary Settler, and see if we can persuade him planet in the horizon, which the drift- to steer upon another tack. ing clouds had exposed for an instant, They accordingly proceeded forward. and which they speedily again ob- Settler was still pacing the quarterscured.
deck, with folded arms ; the vessel Again the sentinel struck the bell; keeping the same course as before. its sound was like a death-knell on the Wetherall and Sands faced him, just ear. Again it sounded, and my heart as he turned to make another round, responded with a throb to each of and they stood in such a position as its four dismal chimes. Every mo- prevented his passing. He immediment seemed an hour, so intense was ately saw there was something in the our anxiety ; and weary, at length, wind , so sticking his arms akimbo, of straining my sight in vain, I once and throwing into his countenance an more descended to the deck. Wetherall, expression of infinite superciliousness, Sands, and the Doctor were standing he addressed them with the assured in close conclave abaft.
air of one entitled to command. " You're right, Sands,” said Wether- “ Pray, gentlemen, may I ask the all ; it is high time that something reason of your stopping me in this should be done ; and I can't help think- unceremonious manner !" ing that it will be little short of downl- “ Mr. Sands and I are of opinion, right murder, if we do not go in search Sir," replied Wetherall, “ that the ship of the boats. As it is, we're steering is, at present, steering away from the right away from them, by Jove !" buats ; and we are come to give you
“ Before Heaven !" "cried Sands, our advice as to the course it would who was dreadfully excited, “you may be best to take.” talk of discipline, and subordination, “ And pray when did I ask either and mutiny, and all such balderdash, Mr. Sands or you to give me any but what are these to me, when the advice on the subject, Sir?” lives of the two men l value most in “ You certainly did not ask our ad. the world are at stake !"
vice, Sir ; but we thought it proper, “ This is a matter, gentlemen," said under present circumstances, to volunthe doctor, “that will require serious teer it." consideration. What do you propose " And I,” replied Settler, " think it to do?"
proper, under present circumstances, “ Seize that Settler dog," cried to decline all conference with you on Sands, striking his clenched fist against the subject, Sir." the bulwark," and clap him in irons. The bell again reminded us that the Though I should swing for it at the morning was advancing—it struck five.* yard-arm before mid-day, I'll be the “ The boats on the weather-bow !" first man to rivet the gyves!”
cried Parsons from the forecastle, in a “ And what then ?”
voice that made the vessel ring. • Why then Wetherall will take “God be praised !" cried Wetherall, command of the ship, and we'll go in interrupting himself, as he was about search of the boats."
to reply to Settler. We all rushed “ Would it not be better,” said the eagerly forward, to assure ourselves of doctor, to go first and speak to Mr. the welcome intelligence, and disSettler, and
covered the blue lights in the boats Confound him, for a villain !" cried at no great distance, making directly Sands, impatiently.
for the ship. Settler immediately hove Nay, my good Sir, hear me. First to, and in a few minutes they were endeavour to persuade him to alter his
ws. Officers and men course, and if he still persist in reject- crowded eagerly forward on the ganging all advice, then—why then I way ; and as the rope was thrown
* Half-past two in the morning.
over to the boats, a tremendous cheer “ And now Sands, my boy,” conresounded to their welcome. Sands tinued the captain, “ here's oil enough was standing next the gangway, and to make your fortune. Serve out as soon as Morley touched the deck, lamps, my lad, and cabbage your he eagerly grasped his hand.
candles! Our trip has been of some May God be praised, Sir," he cried, service to you, at all events !". as the tears started in his eyes,
that It turned out that they had sucwe have you once more safe on ceeded in killing the fish, after much board !”
difficulty. It had proved a very strong • Thank you, my honest fellow," one, and gave them a long run before cried Morley, returning the cordial it was exhausted. By what almost shake of his hand ; " thank you my seemed a merciful interposition of Prohonest fellows all ! By Heaven, it vidence, it had towed them in the makes a man's heart warm to meet same direction that the ship had with a welcome like this! Danger taken, and the gleam of our blue lights, becomes desirable when such a reward which they discovered accidentally, awaits it! Strangway and I, to be while looking for them in a totally sure, were nearer losing the number different direction, served afterwards of our mess, by the frolic, than we to guide them in their course. bargained for ; but it's all over now, The fish was now got on board, and your looks, my fine fellows, repay piecemeal, and the blubber was boiled me a thousand times. We must have on the main deck. The oil, which been sadly out of our reckoning, how- turned out to be very fine, was sold to ever; we took the ship to be full two Sands for a pound of tobacco and a miles to leeward of where she is !" straw hat to each man in the ship;
Settler blushed slightly at this re- and we went on our way rejoicing. mark, but not a word was said. His About the end of the third week guilt or innocence was allowed to after leaving St. Helena, the flat top remain between his own conscience of Table Mountain began to appear and the main-mast.
above the horizon.
THE IVY TREE.
“ Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."-JOB.
Old Ivy Tree-old Ivy Tree,
Of cark and care,
Which man must wear,
Is the cunning guile
That feigns a smile,
Which wind around
The form they wound,
Yet I trow well
Thy leaves can tell,