Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

on your outsailings and insailings, for this many-a-day, they have, and 'tis no manner of use spinning 'em any more smooth yarns, Cap'n, for they know what it comes to."

“ Villain!" muttered the Pirate, who trembled lest his son and daughter should bave heard what had passed ; for their sakes he dissembled a little, and said, with as much calmness as he could command

Here I will say not a word more-hear not a word. Go on deck, I will come in a second or two; and then, whether

you

Michael and Jonas shall be heard, or whether I shall be heard—whether you shall be masters of the ears and confidence of the crew, or whether I shall have my due influence in my own ship—must be at once, and permanently, decided. Now go on deck,” he said to the black, “ go up good fellow, you have done me a great service-it shall not go unrewarded—”

No, nigger, it shant, I promise thee,” said Michael, meaningly, who, a little taller than his choice companion, Jonas, strikingly resembled him, and had the same sort of forbidding personal characteristics--the same thick Deck, low forehead, large lips, and eyes devoid of any redeeming expression. “ No, Cap’n,” he went on, with the most triumphant and daring malignity,

66 above deck I will not go. You have a critter of the Governor's in that same cabin of yourn ; let him come out and show himself. He and his employers would give us a taste of lynching, I guess,” cried the fellow raising his

" let him come out, and he shall give us his opinion if it's suitable to his own palate !"

Often had the Pirate been in extreme danger froin the lawless and ferocious tempers of the men with whom

[ocr errors]

voice;

he was associated, but never before had he felt the dismay which he felt now. Clinton was in imminent peril owing to a mistaken notion of his errand here being spread among the sailors—how was the father to dispossess the band of the poisonous idea in time to rescue him? Having scarcely a moment for reflection the Pirate doublelocked the cabin door on the outside, secured the key, and, calling on the black to follow him, hastened up the ladder.

The negro was a young runaway American slave; his frame, which was well knit, and of the middle height, had no other clothing than trowsers of striped cotton, and a blue shirt left unfastened at his sable neck and breast; his face was not unpleasing; there was something frank and open about the lines of his mouth, and something affectionate and generous in the sparkle of his eyes. Merry, as he was named, had been a favourite in the ship; he had, up to the present time, offended no one, but obliged and cheered even the most sullen by his good humour and accommodating disposition. To two persons he had remarkably attached himself from the first hour of his adıission into the vessel-those persons were the Captain aud ancient Haverstraw.

“Keep close to me, Merry, my good fellow," said the Pirate, speaking under his breath, and pausing an instant at the top of the ladder.

“ Yes, Massa Captin--me at your heels-me stand by you,” whispered the black ; “ but dere be big black looks ready for you, I can tell, Massa, and amost a bushel of swords de men got out of de room where you lock 'em up, and powder too. By gor, Massa, dey got powder in all dere pistols, and balls tvo-de rascals!"

a

“ Hah! have they been to the powder room !” exclaimed the Pirate. Well, Merry, never mind, we must make the best of a bad matter ; now come on, and be sure you speak not a word, or half a word, nor lift your hand, unless I bid you.”

“ Me hear, Massa Captin—me mind what him say,” said the black,

The deck was crowded with seamen, all armed as if for a fight; there was whispering on one hand, and loud and fierce talking on the other; some men were walking up and down with moody and dangerous looks, and some in

group were waiting the approach of the Pirate. “ I thought that when I came up last I had dispersed you all to your employments,” said he, quietly but sternly ; “ how is it then I find you here in this disorderly way? Do you want to Wring immediate destruction on us? Do you not think that passing vessels and boats have already observed you? Come, come away to your places, while there is a probability of your being safe. Put by your arms and disperse.”

After a little fear and hesitation the sailors declared their determination not to separate or quit their postures of defiance.

says you have sold us to the Governor,” said one sailor. “ Jonas lies!” exclaimed the Pirate.

“ Michael says that you have a spy of the Toronto assembly men in your cabin now.”

“ Michael lies!" again exclaimed the Pirate.

The two causers of the disturbance now came up, determined not to let pass this opportunity for ruining the Captain, as they had for some time waited for such

[ocr errors]

Jonas

an one. They stood face to face with him, and with shameless looks reasserted their falsehoods. The sailors every moment grew more irritated and more deadly minded. Clinton's life was demanded. The Pirate's features grew darkly pale, and his heart quaked.

Merry,” he whispered, grasping the black's wrists, my faithful Merry, get out the small boat–be hasty, and tell me when it is ready ; you may do it, perhaps, with a little skill and boldness.”

“ Me hab got it ready-it is on de water, Massa Captin, awaiting for you. Me saw de debil in all de crew, and me was afeard for you and Fader Toby, so me said noting, but dropped de boat down from de vessel side while all de sailors were busy wid de bad notions dat Michael and Jonas put into 'em-de rascals !"

" I shall not forget this' goodwill, this forethougth of yours, Merry. You say true, the evil spirit is indeed in the minds of these men at present, and I have no power to drive it thence, I fear, good fellow.”

The Pirate then turned to the men who were on the point of rushing down to drag forth Clinton from the cabin, and said, not without signs of agitation, “ You will stop an instant, sailors ! Generous and just menyou will hear me tell you who he is you are going to destroy. He is—my own son! Do you credit me? I tell you he is my sou! His mother, whose bones and ashes lie in Quebec, was the wife of my bosom. Now, if you will, bring him up!-insult him !-injure him !---take from him that breath he derived from me—from me--your Captain, whom you have each sworn, yes, sworn, to serve and obey! Why do you not go to fetch him to death? I will not stir a muscle-I will stand still and look on

will be still and passive-while my son is in his expiring agonies !"

The listeners were startled, surprised, moved ; they appeared irresolute, and looked one on another.

“ Some of you have been fathers !” continued the Pirate more vehemently." What of that-bring up my son to death! Some of you, exiles though you now are from society, have lived in it in times past as I have, and have been married to the women of your hearts.- What of that-bring up the first-born of my wife to death! I have been true to you to the present moment—I have made no gain but what you have shared—I have been the first here to expose myself to danger, and the last to shrink from hardship—I have hourly consulted your comforts—I have daily promoted your interests. But what of that !_You have conceived a suspicion against me. Fetch up my son—my only son—and sacrifice him-I will not stir a hand to save him from your malice !” and so folding his arms, the Pirate sat down on a seat at the side of the deck.

In the meantime Jane and Clinton remained in suspense in the cabin. The latter concealed the extent of his own fears in order that he might support the spirits of his sister. They had heard all that had passed at the foot of the companion-ladder, and both now stood close to the cabin door anxiously listening to every sound that came from the deck. Presently they heard Toby Haverstraw get up and totter. Jane spoke to him, and asked if he had been hurt by his fall.

“No, my dear Miss,” he answered feebly; “ my head is a little confused, that's all, but it will soon go off.”

« PreviousContinue »