Page images
PDF
EPUB

promise well for you at present. I hope their flattering appearances may not prove deceitful.”

Lady Cleveland too, I have heard,” said Clinton, diffidently, “ intends to quit Toronto by water in a few hours—for her I hope the elements may be calm, I am indifferent to their changes for my own sake.” These words, spoken with ill-disguised tenderness, were not lost on Lady Hester.

“ Well, we may not see you again—at least not until this projected expedition is over,” said Mrs. Markham. “ I sincerely wish you well. Your life has been unfortunate hitherto I know ; but you must not despond; you cannot tell what good things Providence may yet have in store for you."

“ It can have nothing better for me, madam, in this world,” said Clinton, “ than the good wishes of a heart

like yours.”

Mrs. Markham's eyes were moistened with the tears of kindness as she gave him her hand, and pronounced a final good bye, her heart full of the melancholy tale which Lady Hester had told her of his early disappointment. Lady Hester, also, just as they were turning from him, offered her hand; he took it, pressed it, and said, fervently, “ Peace and health be with you, lady!"

Thus this unexpected meeting terminated—but not so its consequences.

CHAPTER XIII.

Missortune binds tis in her powerful bands ;
Danger enchains us heart to heart; and fear,
And need, and sorrow, and remorse,
Draw round our hapless selves a circle charmed.—Mary Bennett.

Clinton determined, at all hazards, to apprise his father of his danger. Having left the value of a small canoe with its owner, he paddled himself out from a retired sand-bank, at the foot of the cliffs, and made towards the spot where the Pirate's vessel lay.

It was between ten and eleven o'clock, there was no moon, and only a few scattered stars in the sky, but it was sufficiently light for him to be enabled to avoid coming in contact with any of the boats and canoes which still plyed on the lake. He found the ship he sought, moved from its former position, and spreading all its sails to the wind as if about to wing its way to a safer distance from its pursuers. Lanterns were moving about the decks, and as Clinton glided under the gunwale he heard the voice of the Pirate issuing commands to the crew. His inind was instantly relieved of some of its apprehensions. “ All is quiet within the ship,” said he to himself—“ that is a happiness !"

“ Who goes there ?" shouted a pair of brazen lungs from the edge of the forecastle.

“ It is I–your Captain's son,” answered Clinton, in a voice only just loud enough to make itself heard. “I bring you important intelligence.”

Why did you come so close without hailing us?” said the speaker in the ship: “ you might have had a half score of bullets into your boat before you had thought of saying your prayers.”

The Pirate started when he heard that bis son had returned to the ship. He was standing by the foremast, and without moving he waited Clinton's appearance, still giving directions to the seamen in clear, sonorous tones, not allowing himself to appear conscious of any interruption.

The animated, yet orderly scene, which the vessel presented to Clinton's eye when he stepped upon deck, was new to him, and inspired him with interest. As he walked from the half deck to the forecastle he looked on all sides, then upwards at the shining cordage of the rigging. The privateers were busy every where, and their Captain's orders were repeated and answered by them, both below and aloft, in that wild, monotonous recitative, which is so pleasing on the water to a romantic ear.

The Pirate beckoned to Clinton to stand by him, then proceeded with his duty. When all the ship was in perfect sailing order, and the privateers were each set in their respective places ready to unfetter the ship from her moorings, and to guide it out into deeper waters, before he exchanged a word with his son, he called near two men, and said

sence,

There shall not one word pass between me and this young man on his present visit hither but in your pre

You have seen that I have not yet spoken with him. I demand that you will now be witnesses for me with the rest of the crew, and repeat to them every sentence you will hear pass between us. I sacrifice my private feelings to the peace and safety of the ship. I shall behave to my son as to a stranger, in order that the confidence of my men, now once again restored to me, may be preserved."

The two mariners he addressed muttered something to the effect that they did not wish to separate father and son. Now the Pirate, though he made concessions to his men as a body, was too wary to do so with them individually, but he made every man personally feel strictly subordinate to him. As he would make no concessions but to the whole crew, so he would receive no remission of them but from the whole; therefore, as if he had not heard what the two men whom he had called near had spoken, he turned to Clinton.

“ Nicholas,” said he, “ what has brought you back to this ship to-night ? Ilave you forgot the peril in which you were so recently placed by the suspicion that was here entertained against you ?”

“ I have come,” said Clinton, “ to tell you that the Governor is making strict search for you in the harbour. Even while I speak, armed officers are just at hand prepared to surround you.”

“ How has he learnt we were in the harbour ?" asked one of the men, with a sinister look.

“ That I know not,” said Clinton; " but,” he added pointedly, " in my opinion, the informant would hardly

have risked his life to give you warning of flight. But this is not all—there was a brig rifled last night by you, at a spot not far from here, so the Governor has received tidings, and he has heard, also, that the captain of the men who rifled her, was to-day in disguise in Toronto.”

“ This is news indeed !” exclaimed the Pirate, again starting. “ Thanks, son! In an hour I shall laugh at all pursuit,” he added ; “ I have got stores enough here to last under a long chase. I fear nothing, only let me get my anchor on board again. I have held our foes at bay before this. Have you any thing more of consequence to say ?”

“ No, I have told you all that I myself know of the Governor's movements,” replied Clinton; “and, in doing so, I have compromised my honour to save you, for before I knew that in the Pirate I had a father, I had engaged with the Governor to join those who were to endeavour to capture him.”

“ Well now, if you join us instead of them, gallant young sir,” said a third privateer, who had also been listening, “ we shall be glad to shake hands with you, and you shall have my voice toward making you one in command under your father. He is a bold and a clever buccaneer, no one can deny it, and carries his brains full of learning of all sorts. We have all been proud of him as our Cap’n, until those two fellows you saw last afternoon made a hubbub here with a parcel of lies—but they have had a taste of hemp this evening, and are lying together in a watery hammock under our gunnel, just below the bottom of your canoe there ; but as I was saying, young sir, blow me, you must have had your father's spirit to venture back here now; and as there is

« PreviousContinue »