Page images
PDF
EPUB

men got quite tantalized and jaundiced in them latitudes, when the sun is on at seeing so much of the yellow bunt- the equator, and it was very near it then, ing,—for the enemy had hoisted it every comes on in a few minutes,—the ship where out of bravado.

was hove in stays, and stood in-shore, So, d’ye see, messmates, the crews of with a pleasant breeze and a stern swell the boats got busy about their gear, and setting after her. About eight o'clock placed the oars aud boat-hooks, the rud- the wind died away, the yards were laid ders and tillers, all in their proper places, square, and the boats hoisted out, whilst ready for a moment's sarvice. The cap- those on the quarters were lowered, and tain twigged 'em at it, but he never said all were soon manned for the expedition nothing till the next day but one, when and shoved off. Whilst they're pulling he orders the hammocks to be opened to in-shore, messmates, I'll just lucydate air and spread out over the boats, and he Captain Hamilton's plan of attack. stands off-and-on till about noon, when “Now, mind me, this here paper of he makes a long stretch out from the 'bacca shall be one battery, and this here land, and the men thought he was going 'bacca-box shall be the other battery, and to give it up. So, d’ye see, they pipes this here shut-knife shall be the Har. to dinner, and after that they sarves the moine,—the laniard sarving for one cable grog out, of course; but at two out of the hawse-hole, and this piece of bells, instead of calling the watch, marline for the other cable out of the the hands were turned up, and all or- gun-room port;-(he arranged the ardered aft on to the quarter-deck, where ticles on the table). Now, the boats the captain was standing as upright as a were to pull in, and the boarding parties fathom of smoke in a calm, and the had each a different place to board at. master was bent down like a yard of As soon as they got upon deck, the boats, pump-water measured from the spout, with their respective crews, were to cut and looking over a chart of the harbour, the cables, and then go a-head to tow; as busy as the devil in a gale of wind. whilst four of the boarders were instantly

“Well, every soul fore-and-aft mus. to shin aloft to loose the fore-topsail, and tered in the twinkling of a hand-spike, two to loose the mizen-topsail, which, if and they all crowded together as if they'd possible, were to be sheeted home, to been stowed with a jack-screw for a catch the breeze coming off the land. long voyage; and then the captain up The Surprise was to come in close to the and tells 'em that he meant to head the harbour's mouth, to act as circumstances boats himself, and cut the Harmoine out, required. if they would do their duty like men, “ The boats kept close together, but and back him. My eyes, if there warn’t didn't make any quick head-way, as the a cheer then, there never was one before captain meant to get in about midnight, nor since ; and the lads, to seal the bar when he expected the Spaniards would gain, gived one another a grip of the fist have their eyes buttoned up, and their that would have squeezed a lemon as dry ears plugged with their nightcaps, like as a biscuit.

the hawse-holes in blue water. “So, you see, the murder was out, Well, d'ye see, it was just about and every man betwixt the cabin win- eight bells when the mast-heads of the dows and the figure-head volunteered to Harmoine showed above the dark mass the duty; but the captain said he wouldn't of land, and the light rigging looked like take more than one hundred, including a fine spider's web traced on the silvery officers and marines; he was sorry to sky; and there too fluttered the yellow leave any behind, as he believed them to rag, that was soon to be humbled under be all brave fellows, but some must stay the saucy pennant of St. George. On to work the ship, and, if necessary, bring pulled the boats, and except the ripple her into action.

of the oars and the hissing of the foam in “Well, the men were picked out, the their wakes, silence slept deep and still, muskets, pistols, tommyhawks, and cut- disturbed only by the moan of the sea as lashes got ready, and long hook-ropes it broke upon the rocky shore. coiled away in the starn-sheets of each “ Suddenly there was a flash, and beboat, and clinched to the ring in the bot- fore the report could be heard, grapetom; the oars and rullocks were muffled shot were jumping about the boats and and well greased, so that not a sound splashing up the water like a shoal of might be heard louder than the sigh of a Alying-fish at play. This firing was from periwinkle.

a couple of guard-boats, each mounting “ The sun set soon after six o'clock, a twelve-pounder; and if it did no and as soon as twilight came on,—which, other mischief, it aroused Jack Spaniard, who, it appeared, was up, and rigged to stab him to the heart ; but the tide of like a sentry-box; and before a cat could existence was ebbing like a torrent, his lick her ear, flames of fire seemed to be brain was giddy, his aim faltered, and bursting from the dark rocks, like light the point descended in the captain's ning from a black thunder-cloud; it was right thigh. Dragging away the blade the frigate, speaking with her main-deck with the last convulsive energy of a and fokstle guns.

death-struggle, he lacerated the wound. Finding that the enemy were pre- Again the reeking steel was upheld, and pared, the captain had less delicacy in the Spaniard placed his left hand near alarming them out of their sleep, and the captain's heart to mark his aim more so the boats' crews gave three tremen- sure : again the dizziness of dissolution dous cheers. Mayhap, your honour spread over his sight, down came the never heard the cheers on going into dagger into the captain's left thigh, and action, when the voice of man goes from the Spaniard was a corpse. heart to heart, and stirs up all that is “ The upper deck was cleared, and brave and noble in the human breast; the boarders rushed below on the mainit invigorates and strengthens every tim- deck to complete their conquest. Here ber in a fellow's frame, and is to the weak the slaughter was dreadful, till the or mild what mother's milk is to the infant. Spaniards called out for quarter and the

“ Well, they gave three British cheers carnage ceased; but no sooner was the as would have stirred up the blood of an firing on board at end, when the sodgers anchor-stock, if it had any, and on they at the batteries—who had been wonderdashed, stretching to their oars with a ing at the frigate moving away as if by good-will and making the water brilliant magic, and had been calling a whole with their track as they pulled for the reg’ment of saints to help 'em,—let fly devoted frigate, then about three-quar- from nearly two hundred pieces of can. ters of a mile distant, which kept send- non, as if they were saying their prayers ing forth the red flames from the muzzles and wanted the British tars to count the of her guns as the boats gallantly ap- beads. Howsomever, the wind was very proached.

light close in-shore, and the smoke “ Captain Hamilton boarded on the mantled thick and heavy on the waters, starboard bow, and with the gunner and so as to mask the ship from view ; but eight or ten men cleared the fokstle. a chance twenty-four-pounder hulled her The doctor boarded on the larboard bow, below the water-mark, and they were and with his party joined the captain; obliged to rig the pumps.

The mainand the other boats having discharged mast, too, at one time was in danger their men, the whole of the boarders from the stay and spring-stáy being shot attacked the quarter-deck, where the away, and the head swell tumbling in Spanish officers had collected and fought made the frigate roll heavily ; but about with desperation. And now mind the two in the morning they got out of downright impudence of the thing; for shot, the towing boats were called alongwhilst they were fighting for possession side, and every thing made snug. Thus on deck, the sails were loosed aloft, the in an hour and three-quarters the frigate cables were cut, and the boats were tow- was boarded, carried, and clear from ing the ship out of the harbour; and the the batteries ; but, to be sure, considercraft, as if she knew she warn't honestly ing the little wind there was, and the come by, was walking off from the land head swell setting in, she did stretch her like seven bells half-struck;~if that legs as if glad to be out of bad company warn't going the rig, then blow me if I and the quarantine flag ; *—for you know what is.

know, Darby, none in our sarvice likes “ When the Spaniards saw that the to be yellowed,—it looks so like a landship was actually under way with sail crab. on her, and boarding parties cutting “Well, messmates, sail was soon made down all afore 'em, a great number on the Harmoine, the shot-hole was jump'd overboard and some ran below, plugged up, and the party mustered ; whilst the killed and wounded lay in all when there were found to be only twelve directions. About this time Captain men wounded, amongst whom were the Hamilton received such a tremendous captain and the gunner, Mr. Maxwell. crack on the head from the butt end of There was not one man killed on the a musket, as brought a general illumination into his eyes and stretched him Ships and vessels coining from unclean senseless on the deck. A Spaniard, who

ports, hoist a yellow flag; and the pensioners had fallen near him, raised his dagger pelled to wear a yellow coat with red sleeves.

are punished for drunkenness by being com

gunBritish side, but the Spaniards had 119 put in commission as an English frigate ; killed and 97 wounded, most of them though in logging her name in the navy dangerously, and the decks were again list, the Lords of the Admiralty changed stained with human blood, some of which it to the Retribution, and I had the was no doubt shed by those murderers and honour to be drafted on board her as traitors who had mutinied.

captain of the main-top. “ At day-light next morning the “ Captain Hamilton was invalided Spaniards were indulged with the sight home on account of his wounds; but the of both ships standing off shore, and the packet was taken by a French privateer, Harmoine with a British ensign and and he went to see Boneypart, who pennant over the Spanish colours. The treated him like a messmate for his prisoners were put on board of a bravery, and allowed him to be exchangschooner, that was captured during the ed for six French middies; and now, my day, and sent ashore ; and the Surprise, lads, I've told you all I know about the with her prize, stood for Jamaica, where recapture of the Harmoine." she arrived seven days afterwards, and We will now insert a specimen of the brought up at Port Royal.

smaller cuts, which are sprinkled over “ You may be sure, messmates, Cap- the volume; we need hardly say, that tain Hamilton was well received; the the subject is not the attraction, for we Parliament-men at the island gave him believe we should feel as uneasy in such a beautiful sword that cost three hun- company as the affrighted wight, who dred guineas; he was made a "knight has just caught a glimpse of his convoyon, and the Harmoine was called the but the nonchalance of his Satanic maRetaliation, and she was immediately jesty is inimitable.

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed]

Gladly would we have given one of forbid—besides we have no ambition to the “Old Sailor's” pathetic yarns (which be considered Pi.rals. we think are his best), but our limits

[graphic]

OR THE ARM OF THE DEVIL.

ANECDOTE OF FENELON'S soldier in his youth," and that did not TELEMACHUS.

make him a whit younger, for a soldier's

life is a rough one, and wears a man Bausset, in his life of Fenelon, says, that sadly. But, though old, he was as brave the manuscript of this celebrated work in spirit as he had ever been; and, exwas secretly circulated in several families cept when the weather changed, and his previous to its publication.

old wounds, barometer-like, felt it, he This circulation was occasioned by the was vastly good-natured and happy. faithlessness of the valet to whom he gave And so he might-for he was above it to transcribe.

want, and in comfort himself, and knew It was afterwards sold to the widow that he had wherewithal to make those of Claude Barbin, who committed it to he cared for equally so; for he owed no the press; but only two hundred and man anything, and was the owner of a eight pages had been printed when it was snug little corner of land, which he had discovered to be the work of Fenelon; bought from the commissioners of conand that suspicious king, Louis XIV., fiscated domains six and twenty years ordered strict search to be made at the before, with a little money he had saved printer's after the sheets had been worked when quartered for two years in the off, which were confiscated and burnt, house of one rich widow in the Fauxand every effort made to annihilate this bourg, St. Antoine, in Paris, and twelve admirable production. Fortunately, a months and a half with another in the few copies escaped, with transcripts of Rue de Provence in Lyons, for, though that part which had not been printed; now bent and weak, he was once tall, one of these was obtained by Adrien comely, and strong. He also received a Moetgens, a bookseller at the Hague, pension from the state, for the wounds who, in 1699, published it, in four he had gotten in its service. volumes.

A. H. At the time my tale begins, Jean was

old, however, and even ill. He had JEAN PREVOST;

caught a cold after dancing at the wedding of his eldest grandson. The apo

thecary of a neighbouring village, in It is of little importance, gentle and ju- passing, having heard that Jean was dicious reader, whether thou ever wert sick, called to see him, and brought from across the channel of the waters, which out his saddle bags a goodly store of flow betwixt the chalky cliffs of Dover, gallipots and pill boxes, papers of brickand the sandy beach of Calais :-I mean dust, and other medicines; but Jean, in so far as regardeth thy capacity to who had never been so ill before, said he understand my tale; seeing that it form- would have none of them, and told the eth no part of my intention to quote man of glysters to go “au diable.French phrases, or hinge the interest of Whether he took this advice or not I my narration on customs exclusively cannot, for a certainty, state; though I Gallic; although I must, as a faithful deem it improbable that he did, seeing historian, apprise thee that the circum- that he left the house muttering “ Mon stances I shall relate, took place in the Dieu,”—not a very likely way of talking commune of Beauvais, in the department when about making a call on the Devil. of Brest, in the kingdom of France, in Jean ate, or tried to eat, fat bacon, and the year of grace one thousand eight drank, or tried to drink, some of his best hundred and seventeen.

wine-but all would not do. When Jean Prevost was as honest a man, honest John Prevost, sometime ploughand his family of children and grand- boy, and sometime cultivator at the farm children, who all dwelt under his roof, of Clos-Giraud, next grenadier in Biron’s was as well provided for, as any in the Chasseurs, and, lastly, proprietaire in the whole parish. He had the best cured department of Brest,—was born, it was bacon, and the finest flavoured cheeses, in decreed that sixty-eight years should be the district, and, on holidays, he could the term of his lease of life; and nature indulge himself and his guests with a had fulfilled the contract. Now the rasher of the one, and dressed lentils; a time of expiry had arrived, and Jean slice of the other, and, to wash all over, felt, and his children saw, that he a draught of wine, superior to the small was dying. The veteran had always beer sort of stuff, the poorer folks swal- been a good Catholic, and had not missed lowed, under the fine name of vin du hearing mass, and keeping lent and fast pays.

days, as strictly as his love of bacon, But Jean was old :-_"he had been a when cured after his own fashion, would

ome

let him, at least for the last dozen years. and they swore to be revenged. This, But his old friend, the curate, who had they thought they would do, by sending visited, and married, and buried, and word to Jean's family, that they would eaten with every family in the parish in not permit him Christian burial, “even turn, had died lately of a surfeit, from if he came to the churchyard—which he disposing of the greater part of a young would never do;”—(true, dead men pig, the half of a turkey, and six « don't walk far), “for," said they, “the lettes a la Fermière,” at a merrymaking, Devil and three of his servants, would on the marriage of a young woman whom carry him to hell the same night.” he called his niece, and the world called Jean's friends were dreadfully frighthis daughter; and he had been succeeded ened at all this, but an old fellowby some zealous lenten-faced, soup-mai- soldier of his, who happened to be a gre eating, but plotting and avaricious guest in the house at the time, smelt Jesuits, called, in modern parlance, the rat beneath the cassock, and anmissionaries, who settled themselves in swered them that “his old friend's bones an old monastery, and undertook the cure would lie in the churchyard, and devil a of all the souls in the parish.

bit of the Devil would touch them, till Jean had a mortal dislike to these they got there.”—“How shall we secure fellows, who were always preaching about them ?” they inquired." Leave that to the lost property of the church,--the me,” answered the old boy; “Give me a propriety of refunding it, and the bless, bottle of brandy—a slice of your bacon edness of tithe-paying. But how could leave your door on the latch, and I'll the old fellow act, when he saw himself dare all the devils that come, to touch dying ? No other priest was to be had, the coffin of Jean Prevost, my old and and what good Catholic would die sans worthy comrade !

!” Night arrived -absolution ? So he even sent for one of Jean's friends crept fearfully to bed these lean-faced gentry, on purpose to the old soldier had his brandy and bacon ; receive his certificate of discharge from and, having primed himself with a dose the army of this world, that he might of both, and sharpened a massy hangthe more readily get admission into one ger, which hung at his side, he sat down of the standing regiments of heaven. A by his friend's corpse, and sang old songs, member of the scarecrow tribe soon arriv- and smoked from old pipes, till twelve ed, for they knew Jean to be a man who o'clock. A few minutes after that hour, could pay; and proceeded without delay strange noises were audible without, to his bedside. He was fast approaching screams were echoed by owls, and grunts to the grave; but the friar would not let by groans ;-footsteps were heard on the him get quietly into it, by easing his ground floor of Prevost's cottage, and, soul, and by giving him extreme unction, above all, a strong smell of sulphur was till he confessed and did penance. Did perceptible. Pierre Jaquemont – that penance-why old Jean could not turn was the old soldier's name--began to feel on his side !-yet he was obliged to own queerish at the sulphur; but, recollectthat he had Airted with the widows-hading it was used in manufacturing gunliked wine too well, and had eaten too powder, he took another petite verre of much bacon in his lifetime--even on brandy, and was quite ready for the noc Fridays. “ Now,” thinks he, “he'll turnal visitors, who soon floundered into surely dismiss me;"_but no:--Jean the dead man's chamber, and began to Prevost was told he could not have ab

unscrew his coffin. “ What d'ye want solution till he restored to the church the with my old friend, you rogues?” cried lands which had once been its property, Pierre,—but he got no answer. They but which he had fairly bought and paid began to lift the body—“Come, come,” for! At this startling proposition, Pre- said he, “ let him alone, will ye?" No vost, weak as he was, raised himself up reply. “ Then have at ye, you old humand stared—as well he might. He then bugs!” bawled Pierre, and with one by looks, declined to acquiesce in this swing of his hanger, he cut off the hand modest demand. - It was reiterated with of the most forward devil of the party. threats.—Jean recovered speech-cursed If devils don't feel pain, they at least the old Monk-made signs to his son to cry when they appear to be hurt, for this kick him down stair—was eagerly obeyed one roared unmercifully. He was, how. -shook hands with his children ever, carried off; Jean Prevost was blessed their offspring—said an ave—and replaced in his coffin- next day was gave his spirit to its Giver. The priest, quietly buried in it-his 'friend Pierre with an aching breech, hastened to com- Jaquemont got well paid for his sentinelmunicate this bad success to his brethren, ship; and it was remarked for ever

« PreviousContinue »