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complicated thing; not a patch upon yours, Mr. Fullalove. Yours is ingenious,
and simple. Ship has been in
action I see: pray how was that, if I may be so bold?"
"Pirates, commodore," said Sharpe. "We fell in with a brace of Portuguese
devils, latine-rigged, and carried ten guns apiece, in the Straits of Gaspar:
fought em from noon till sundown, riddled one, and ran down the other, and sunk
her in a moment. That was all your
doing, captain; so don't try to shift it on other people; for we won't let you."
"If he denies it, I won't believe him," said Collier: "for he has got it in his
eye. Gentlemen, will you do me the honor to dine with me to-day on board the
Dodd and Fullalove accepted. Sharpe declined, with regret, on the score of duty.
And as the cocked hat went down the side, after saluting him politely, he could
not help thinking to himself what a difference between a real captain, who had
something to be proud of, and his own unlicked cub of a skipper, with the
manners of a pilot-boat. He told Robarts the next day. Robarts said nothing; but
his face seemed to turn greenish; and it embittered his hatred of Dodd the
It is droll, and sad, but true, that Christendom is full of men in a hurry to
hate. And a fruitful cause is jealousy. The schoolmen, or rather certain of the
schoolmen—for nothing is much shallower than to speak of all those disputants as
one school—defined woman, "a featherless biped vehemently addicted to jealousy."
Whether she is more featherless than the male can be decided at a trifling
expense of time, money, and reason: you have only to go to court. But as for
envy and jealousy, I think it is pure, unobservant, antique Cant which has fixed
them on the female character distinctively. As a mole-hill to a mountain, is
women's jealousy to men's. Agatha may have a host of virtues and graces, and yet
her female acquaintance will not hate her, provided she has the moderation to
abstain from being downright pretty. She may sing like an angel, paint like an
angel, talk—write—nurse the sick—all like angel, and not rouse the devil in her
fair sisters: so long as she does not dress like an angel. But, the minds of men
being much larger than women's, yet very little greater, they hang jealousy on a
thousand pegs. When there was no peg, I have seen them do with a pin.
Captain Robarts took a pin: ran it into his own heart, and hung that sordid
passion on it.
He would get rid of all the Doddites before he sailed. He insulted Mr. Tickell,
so that he left the service, and entered a mercantile house ashore: he made
several of the best men desert: and the ship went to sea short of hands. This
threw heavier work on the crew; and led to many punishments, and a steady
current of abuse. Sharpe became a mere machine, always obeying, never speaking:
Grey was put under arrest for remonstrating against ungentlemanly language: and
Bayliss, being at bottom of the same breed as Robarts, fell into his humor, and
helped hector the petty officers and men. The crew, depressed and irritated,
went through their duties pully-hauly-wise. There was no song under the
forecastle in the first watch, and often no grog on the mess-table at one bell.
Dodd never came on the
quarter-deck without being reminded he was only a passenger, and the ship was
now under naval discipline.
"I was reared in the royal navy,
Sir:" would Robarts say: "second lieutenant aboard the
Atalanta: that is the
school, Sir; that is the only school that breeds seamen. Dodd bore scores of
similar taunts as a Newfoundland puts up with a terrier in office: he seldom
replied, and, when he did, in a few quiet dignified words that gave no handle.
Robarts, who bore the name of a lucky captain, had fair weather all the way to
The guard-ship at this island was the
Salamanca. She had left the Cape a week before the
Agra. Captain Robarts, with his characteristic good-breeding, went to
anchor in shore of Her Majesty's ship. The wind failed at a critical moment, and
a foul became inevitable: Collier was on his quarter-deck, and saw what would
happen long before Robarts did: he gave the needful orders, and it was beautiful
to see how in half a minute the frigate's guns were run in, her ports lowered,
her yards toppled on end, and a spring carried out and hauled on.
The Agra struck abreast her
own forechains on the Salamanca's
(Pipe.) "Boarders away. Tomahawks! cut every thing that holds!" was heard from
the frigate's quarter-deck.
Rush came a boarding party on to the merchant ship and hacked away without mercy
all her lower rigging that held on to the frigate, signal halliards and all;
others boomed her off with capstan bars, etc., and in two minutes the ships were
clear. A lieutenant and boat's crew came for Robarts, and ordered him on board
the Salamanca, and, to make
sure of his coming, took him back with them. He found Commodore Collier standing
stiff as a ramrod on his quarter-deck.
"Are you the master of the Agra?"
(His quick eye recognized her in a moment.)
"I am, Sir."
"Then she was commanded by a seaman: and is commanded by a lubber. Don't apply
for your papers this week; for you won't get them. Good-morning. Take him away!"
They returned Robarts to his ship; and a suppressed grin on a score of faces
showed him the clear commanding tones of the commodore had reached his own deck.
He soothed himself by stopping the men's grog and mastheading three midshipmen
that same afternoon.
The night before he weighed anchor, this disciplinarian was drinking very late
in a low public house. There was not much moon, and the
officer in charge of the ship did not see the gig coming until it was nearly
alongside; then all was done in a flurry.
"Hy! man the side lanterns there! Jump, you boys! or you'll catch pepper."
The boys did jump, and little Murphy, not
knowing the surgeon had ordered the ports to be drooped, bounded over the
bulwarks like an antelope, lighted on the midship port, which stood at this
angle \, and glanced off into the ocean, lantern foremost: he made his little
hole in the water within a yard of Captain Robarts. That Dignity, though
splashed, took no notice of so small an incident as a gone ship-boy: and, if
Murphy had been wise and staid with Nep. all had been well. But the poor urchin
inadvertently came up again, and without the lantern. One of the gig's crew
grabbed him by the hair, and prolonged his existence, but without any malicious
"Where is the other lantern?" was Robarts's first word on reaching the deck: as
if he didn't know.
"Gone overboard, Sir, with the boy Murphy."
"Stand forward you Sir!" growled Robarts.
Murphy stood forward, dripping and shivering with cold and fear.
"What d'ye mean by going overboard with the ship's lantern?"
"Och your arnr sure some unasy divil drooped
the port; and the lantern and me we had no foothold at all at all, and the
lantern went into the say, bad luck to ut; and I went afther to try and save
ut—for your arnr."
"Belay all that!" said Robarts; "do you think you can blarney me, you young
monkey? Here, Bosen's mate, take a ropesend and start him! — Again! — Warm him
well! — That's right."
As soon as the poor child's shrieks subsided into sobs, the disciplinarian gave
him Explanation, for Ointment.
HAVE THE COMPANY'S STORES EXPENDED
"The force of discipline could no
farther go" than to flog zeal for falling overboard: so, to avoid anti-climax in
that port, Robarts weighed anchor at daybreak; and there was a southwesterly
breeze waiting for this favorite of fortune, and carried him past the Azores.
Off Ushant it was westerly; and veered to the norwest just before they sighted
the land's end: never was such a charming passage from the Cape. The sailor who
had the luck to sight Old England first, nailed his starboard shoe to the
mainmast for contributions; and all hearts beat joyfully: none more than David
Dodd's. His eye devoured the
beloved shore: he hugged the treasure his own ill luck had jeopardized, but
Robarts had sailed it safe into British waters; and forgave the man his ill
manners for his good luck.
Robarts steered in for the Lizard; but, when abreast the point, kept well out
again, and opened the channel, and looked out for a pilot.
One was soon seen working out toward him, and the
Agra brought to; the pilot descended from his lugger into his little
boat, rowed alongside, and came on deck; a rough, tanned sailor, clad in
flushing; and in build and manner might have passed for Robarts's twin brother.
"Now then, you Sir, what will you take this ship up to the Downs for?"
Robarts told him roughly he would not get thirty pounds out of
"Thyse and no higher my Bo," answered the pilot, sturdily: he had been splicing
the main brace, and would have answered an admiral.
Robarts swore at him lustily: Pilot discharged a volley in return with admirable
promptitude. Robarts retorted, the other rough customer rejoined, and soon all
Billingsgate thundered on the Agra's
quarter-deck. Finding, to his infinite disgust, his visitor as great a
blackguard as himself, and not to be outsworn, Robarts ordered him to quit the
ship on pain of being man-handled over the side.
"Oh, that is it, is it?" growled the other: "here's fill and be off then." He
prudently bottled the rest of his rage till he got safe into his boat: then
shook his fist at the Agra,
and cursed her captain sky high. "You see the fair wind, but you don't see the
channel fret a coming, ye greedy gander. Downs! You'll never see them: you have
saved your — money, and lost your — ship, ye — lubber."
Robarts hurled back a sugar-plum or two, and then ordered Bayliss to clap on all
sail, and keep a midchannel course through the night.
At four bells in the middle watch Sharpe, in charge of the ship, tapped at
Robarts's door. "Blowing hard, Sir, and the weather getting thickish."
"Wind fair still?"
"Then call me if it blows any harder," grunted Robarts.
In two hours more, tap, tap, came Bayliss, in charge. "If we don't take sail in,
they'll take themselves out."
"Furl to-gallan'sels, and call me if it gets any worse."
In another hour Bayliss was at him again. "Blowing a gale, Sir, and a channel
"Reef taupsels, and call me if it gets any worse."
At daybreak Dodd was on deck, and found the ship flying through a fog so thick,
that her forecastle was invisible from the poop, and even her foremast loomed
indistinct and looked distant. "You'll be foul of something or other, Sharpe,"
"What is that to you?" inquired a loud rough voice behind him.
"I don't allow passengers to handle my ship."
"Then do pray handle her yourself, captain! is this weather to go tearing
happy-go-lucky up the British Channel?"
mean to sail her without your advice, Sir: and, being a seaman, I
all I can
a fair wind."
"That is right, Captain Robarts;
if you had
but the Channel all to yourself."
"Perhaps you will leave me
my deck all to myself."
but my anxiety will not let
this Dodd retired
kept a keen look-out.
At noon, a lusty voice cried "LAND ON THE
All eyes were turned that
way, and saw nothing.
Land in sight was reported to Captain
Now that worthy was in reality getting
secretly anxious: so he ran on deck crying, "Who
"Captain Dodd, Sir."
"Ugh! Nobody else?"
Dodd came forward, and, with a respectful air, told him that, being on the
look-out, he had seen the coast of the
Isle of Wight in a momentary lift of the haze.
"Isle of Fiddlestick!" was the polite reply. "Isle of Wight is eighty miles
astern by now."
Dodd answered firmly that he was well acquainted with every outline in the
channel, and the land he had seen was St. Catharine's point.
Robarts deigned no reply, but had the log heaved:
it showed the vessel to be running twelve knots an hour. He then went to his
cabin,. and consulted his chart; and,
having worked his problem, came hastily on deck, and went from rashness to
wonderful caution. "Turn the hands out, and heave the ship to!"
The manoeuvre was executed gradually and ably, and scarce
a bucketful of water shipped. "Furl taupsels and set the main try-sail!
There, Mr. Dodd, so much for you and your
Isle of Wight. The land you saw was
Dungeness, and you would have run on into the North Sea, I'll be bound."
When a man, habitually calm, turns anxious, he becomes more irritable:
and the mixture of timidity and rashness he saw in Robarts made Dodd very
He replied angrily: "At all events I should not make a foul wind out of a fair
one by heaving to; and if I did, I would heave to on the right tack."
At this sudden facer—one, too, from a patient man—Robarts staggered a moment. He
recovered, and, with an oath, ordered Dodd to go below, or he would have him
chucked into the hold.
"Come, don't be an ass, Robarts," said Dodd, contemptuously. Then, lowering his
voice to a whisper: "don't you know the men only want such an order as that to
chuck you into the sea?"
Robarts trembled. "Oh, if you mean
to head a mutiny—"
"Heaven forbid, Sir! But I won't
leave the deck in dirty weather like this, till the captain knows where
Toward sunset it got clearer, and they drifted past a Revenue cutter, who was
lying to with her head to the Northward. She hoisted no end of signals, but they
understood none of them; and her captain gesticulated wildly on her deck.
"What is that Fantoccini dancing at?" inquired Robarts, brutally.
"To see a first-class ship drift to leeward in a narrow sea, with a fair wind,"
said Dodd, bitterly.
At night it blew hard, and the sea ran high and irregular. The ship began to be
uneasy; and Robarts very properly ordered the top-gallant and royal yards to be
sent down on deck. Dodd would have had them down twelve hours ago. The mate gave
no one moved. The mate went forward angry. He came back pale. The men
refused to go aloft: they would not risk their lives for Captain Robarts.
The officers all assembled and went forward:
they promised and. threatened; but all in vain. The crew stood sullen together,
as if to back one another, and put forward a spokesman to say that "there was
not one of them the captain hadn't started, and stopped his grog a dozen times:
he had made the ship hell to them; and
now her masts and yards and hull might go there along with her skipper, for
Roberts received this tidings in sullen silence. "Don't tell that Dodd, whatever
you do," said he. "They will come round now they have had their growl: they are
too near home to shy away their pay."
Robarts had not sufficient insight into character to know that Dodd would
instantly have sided with him against mutiny.
But at this juncture the ex-captain of the Agra was down in the cabin with his
fellow-passengers preparing a general remonstrance: he had a chart before him,
and a pair of compasses in his hand.
"St. Catharine's point lay about eight miles to windward at noon; and we have
been drifting South and East this twelve hours, through lying to on the
starboard tack: and besides the ship has been conned as slovenly as she is
sailed. I've seen her allowed to break off a dozen times, and gather more
leeway: ah, here is Captain Robarts: Captain, you saw the rate we passed the
revenue cutter. That vessel was nearly stationary; so what we passed her at was
our own rate of drifting, and our least rate;
putting all this together we can't
be many miles from the French coast, and, unless we look sharp and beat
to windward, I pronounce the ship in danger."
A horse-laugh greeted this conclusion.
"We are nearer Yarmouth sands than France,
I promise you:
and nothing under our lee nearer than Rotterdam."
A loud cry from the deck above, "A LIGHT ON THE LEE BOW!"
"There!" cried Robarts, with an oath:
He ran upon
shouted through his
trumpet, "All hands
heard the previous cry, obeyed
relieved their ill humor. Robarts
saw them come tumbling up,
and gave his
"Brail up the trysel!
in with the weather main
The ship's bow turned from the
got way on her,
and entered the cabin
and now, Captain
you: you will
disaffection in my
and but for my
weather we should
marrow; a voice in the dark cried, "Oh
God! we are dead men!"
THE harvest-moon o'er the battle-plain
in the filmy eyes of the dead,
And the yellow wealth of the later grain,
Ground by the millstones of death and pain, And wet with the life-blood of the
Is kneaded to
The dying by twos and threes, as night
Kisses their brows with cooling breath, Gather, with failing outward sight,
To tell of the inward visions bright
That rise like a tender morning light
Over the hills of death.
Two who have stood up hand in hand,
Brothers to-day as in years gone by,
When, on the slopes of the Northern land, Was braided closely each separate
Of their lives in a perfect, golden band,
Close to each other lie.
"Tom," says the elder, wiping slow
From his comrade's lips the crimson stain,
" Does the thirst torment you now?"
Says the other, with broken voice and
"My wounds stopped bleeding an hour ago,
And now I am free from pain.
"Don't think of my trouble, Ben, for you
Are wounded far worse I know than I;
I am only a little stiff and blue
With lying out in the evening dew;
But Ben, you are shattered through and through:
Do you think you are going to die?"
"No, Tom, the bleeding is almost done;
I shall live this many and many a day:
And I felt all round to find my gun
heard the firing just as the sun
the rebels I think have run,
was so far away.
to fight as never before
In the battle's front I shall bear my
And when it is over, on the floor
I shall play with my boy; and by the door
My wife shall sit, with the fear no more
Of war in her gentle heart."
"Oh, Ben! the days of battle appear
A great way off; I'll forget them soon.
I have been thinking while lying' hero
It was just a year ago—a year
That I went a-nutting with Nellie dear,
In the sunny afternoon.
"The hills were as bright as hills could be,
And Nellie, she wore a dress like down,
And under the green old chestnut-tree,
Pelted by dropping nuts, sat she
Looking up with half scared eyes at me
As I shook out the chestnuts brown.
"I came down safe, and she kissed me then
With a face
as glad as the happy sun,
And she gave me a handful of brown nuts,
They lay so soft in her hand that when
I took them they slid and got back again
Somehow, so I kept but one.
"I have that nut in my knapsack still:
more with Nellie soon:
They are ripe by this time up on the hill.
To-morrow, perhaps, I shall go—I am ill
And its cloudy to-night—but to-morrow
Be fair in the afternoon.
"I am going a-nutting with Nellie, and
Will sit with your wife and boy at home;
The day is bright as ever I knew,
And the chestnuts have ripened the summer through,
Still as the love in your eyes of blue—
Nellie—dear Nellie, come!"
Night on the battle-plain stained with gore,
Night in the eves now closed for aye;
But. a morning bathes a nightless shore
Where a maiden watches and waits no more,
Nor a wife sits mute by a cottage-door,
With a child that forgets to play.