VOL. XXXIII. PHILADELPHIA, SEPTEMBER, 1848. No. 3.
OR SIX MONTHS BEFORE MARRIAGE.
BY F. E. F., AUTHOR OF "AARON'S ROD," "TELLING SECRETS," ETC.
"They say Miss Morton is engaged to Robert Hazlewood," said Augusta Lenox.
"So I hear," replied Angila Mervale, to whom this piece of news had been communicated. "How can she?"
"How can she, indeed?" replied Augusta. "He's an ugly fellow."
"Ugly! yes," continued Angila, "and a disagreeable ugliness, too. I don't care about a man's being handsome—a plain black ugliness I don't object to—but red ugliness, ah!"
"They say he's clever," said Augusta.
"They always say that, my dear, of any one that's so ugly," replied Angila. "I don't believe it. He's conceited, and I think disagreeable; and I don't believe he's clever."
"I remarked last night that he was very attentive to Mary Morton," continued Augusta. "They waltzed together several times."
"Yes, and how badly he waltzes," said Angila. "Mary Morton is too pretty a girl for such an awkward, ugly man. How lovely she looked last night. I hope it's not an engagement, for I quite like her."
"Well, perhaps it is not. It's only one of the on dits, and probably a mere report."
"Who are you discussing, girls?" asked Mrs. Mervale, from the other side of the room.
"Robert Hazlewood and Miss Morton," replied Augusta, "they are said to be engaged."
"Ah!" said Mrs. Mervale. "Is it a good match for her?"
"Oh, no!" chimed in both the girls at once. "He's neither handsome, nor rich, nor any thing."
"Nor any thing!" repeated Mrs. Mervale, laughing. "Well, that's comprehensive. A young man may be a very respectable young man, and be a very fair match for a girl without being either handsome or rich; but if he is positively 'nothing,' why, then, I grant you, it is bad indeed."
"Oh, I believe he is respectable enough," replied Augusta, carelessly, for, like most young girls, the word "respectable" did not rank very high in her vocabulary.
"And if he is not rich, what are they to live on," asked Mrs. Mervale.
"Love and the law, I suppose," replied her daughter, laughing. "He's a lawyer, is he not Augusta?"
"Oh!" resumed Mrs. Mervale, "he's a son, then, I suppose, of old John Hazlewood."
"Yes," replied Augusta.
"Then he may do very well in his profession," continued Mrs. Mervale, "for his father has a large practice I know, and is a very respectable man. If this is a clever young man, he may tread in his father's footsteps."
This did not convey any very high eulogium to the young ladies' ears. That young Robert Hazlewood might be an old John Hazlewood in his turn and time, did not strike them as a very brilliant future. In fact they did not think more of the old man than they did of the young one.
Old gentlemen, however, were not at quite such a discount with Mrs. Mervale as with her daughter and her friend; and she continued to descant upon the high standing of Mr. Hazlewood the elder, not one word in ten of which the girls heard, for she, like most old ladies, once started upon former times, was thinking of the pleasant young John Hazlewood of early days, who brought back with him a host of reminiscences, with which she indulged herself and the girls, while they, their heads full of last night's party and Mary Morton and Robert Hazlewood, listened as civilly as they could, quite unable to keep the thread of her discourse, confounding in her history Robert Hazlewood's mother with his grandmother, and wondering all the while when she would stop, that they might resume their gossip.
"You visit his sister, Mrs. Constant, don't you?" asked Augusta.
"Yes, we have always visited the Hazlewoods," replied Angila, "but I am not intimate with any of them. They always seemed to me those kind of pattern people I dislike."
"Is Mr. Constant well off?" inquired Mrs. Mervale.
"No, I should think not," replied Angila, "from the way in which they live. They have a little bit of a two-story house, and keep only a waiter girl. How I do hate to see a woman open the door," she continued, addressing Augusta.
"So do I," replied her friend. "I would have a man servant—a woman looks so shabby."
"Yes," returned Angila. "There's nothing I dislike so much. No woman shall ever go to my door."
"If you have a man servant," suggested Mrs. Mervale.
"Of course," said Angila; "and that I will."
"But suppose you cannot afford it," said her mother.
"I don't choose to suppose any thing so disagreeable or improbable," replied her daughter, gayly.
"It may be disagreeable," continued Mrs. Mervale, "but I don't see the improbability of the thing, Angila, nor, indeed, the disagreeability even. The Constants are young people with a small family, and I think a woman is quite sufficient for them. Their house is small, I suppose."
"Oh, yes, a little bit of a place."
"Large enough for them," replied Mrs. Mervale, whose ideas were not as enlarged as her daughter's.
"Perhaps so," said Angila, "but I do hate low ceilings so. I don't care about a large house, but I do like large rooms."
"You can hardly have large rooms in a small house," remarked Mrs. Mervale, smiling.
"Why, Mrs. Astley's is only a two-story house, mamma, and her rooms are larger than these."
"Yes, my dear, Mrs. Astley's is an expensive house; the lot must be thirty feet by—"
But Angila had no time to go into the dimensions of people's "lots." She and Augusta were back to the party again; and they discussed dresses, and looks, and manners, with great gout.
Their criticisms were, like most young people's, always in extremes. The girls had either looked "lovely" or "frightful," and the young men were either "charming" or "odious;" and they themselves, from their own account, had been in a constant state of either delight or terror.
"I was so afraid Robert Hazlewood was going to ask me to waltz," said Angila; "and he waltzes so abominably that I did not know what I should do. But, to my delight, he asked me only for a cotillion, and I fortunately was engaged. I was so glad it was so."
"Then you did not dance with him at all?"
"No—to my great joy, he walked off, angry, I believe."
"Oh, my dear!" remonstrated her mother.
"Why not, mother," replied Angila. "He's my 'favorite aversion.' Well, Augusta," she continued, turning to her friend, "and when do you sail for New Orleans?"
"On Monday," replied Augusta.
"On Monday!—so soon! Oh, what shall I do without you, Augusta!" said Angila, quite pathetically. "And you will be gone six months, you think?"
"Yes, so papa says," replied the young lady. "He does not expect to be able to return before May."
"Not before May! And its only November now!" said Angila, in prolonged accents of grief. "How much may happen in that time!"
"Yes," returned her friend, gaily, "you may be engaged before that."
"Not much danger," replied Angila, laughing.
"But remember, I am to be bridemaid," continued Augusta.
"Certainly," said Angila, in the same tone, "I shall expect you from New Orleans on purpose."
"And who will it be to, Angila," said Augusta.
"That's more than I can tell," replied Angila; "but somebody that's very charming, I promise you."
"By the way, what is your beau ideal, Angila, I never heard you say," continued Augusta.
"My beau ideal is as shadowy and indistinct as one of Ossian's heroes," replied Angila, laughing; "something very distinguished in air and manners, with black eyes and hair, are the only points decided on. For the rest, Augusta, I refer you to Futurity," she added, gayly.
"I wonder who you will marry!" said Augusta, with the sudden fervor of a young lady on so interesting a topic.
"I don't know, only nobody that I have ever seen yet," replied Angila, with animation.
"He must be handsome, I suppose," said Augusta.
"No," replied Angila, "I don't care for beauty. A man should have a decided air of the gentleman, with an expression of talent, height, and all that—but I don't care about what you call beauty."
"You are very moderate, indeed, in your requirements, my dear," said her mother, laughing. "And pray, my love, what have you to offer this rara avis in return for such extraordinary charms."
"Love, mamma," replied the gay girl, smiling.
"And suppose, my dear," pursued her mother, "that your hero should set as high an estimate upon himself as you do upon yourself. Your tall, elegant, talented man, may expect a wife who has fortune, beauty and talents, too."
Angila laughed. She was not vain, but she knew she was pretty, and she was sufficiently of a belle to be satisfied with her own powers if she could only meet with the man, so she said, playfully.
"Well, then, mamma, he won't be my hero, that's all."
And no doubt she answered truly. The possession of such gifts are very apt to vary in young ladies' eyes according to the gentleman's perception of their charms. And heroes differ from one another, according as the pronouns "mine and thine," may be pre-fixed to his title.
"And such a bijou of a house as I mean to have," continued Angila, with animation. "The back parlor and dining-room shall open into a conservatory, where I shall have any quantity of canary-birds—"
"My dear," interrupted her mother, "what nonsense you do talk."
"Why, mamma," said Angila, opening her eyes very wide, "don't you like canaries?"
"Yes, my dear," replied her mother, "I don't object to aviaries or conservatories, only to your talking of them in this way, as matters of course and necessity. They are all very well for rich people."
"Well, then, I mean to be rich," continued Angila, playfully.
"That's the very nonsense I complain of," said her mother. "It's barely possible, but certainly very improbable, Angila, that you ever should be rich; and considering you have been used to nothing of the kind, it really amuses me to hear you talk so. Your father and I have lived all our lives very comfortably and happily, Angila, without either aviary or conservatory, and I rather think you will do the same, my love."
"Your father and I!" What a falling off was there! for although Angila loved her father and mother dearly, she could not imagine herself intent upon household occupations, an excellent motherly woman some thirty years hence, any more than that her beau ideal should wear pepper and salt like her father.
"It was all very well for papa and mamma," but to persuade a girl of eighteen that she wants no more than her mother, whose heart happens to be like Mrs. Mervale, just then full of a new carpet that Mr. Mervale is hesitating about affording, is out of the question.
And, unreasonable as it may be, whoever would make a young girl more rational, destroys at once the chief charm of her youth—the exuberance of her fresh imagination, that gilds not only the future, but throws a rosy light upon all surrounding objects. Her visions, I grant you, are absurd, but the girl without visions is a clod of the valley, for she is without imagination—and without imagination, what is life? what is love?
Never fear that her visions will not be fulfilled, and therefore bring disappointment—for the power carries the pleasure with it. The same gift that traces the outline, fills up the sketch. The girls who dream of heroes are those most ready to fall in love with any body—and no woman is so hard to interest as she who never had a vision, and consequently sees men just as they are; and so if Angila talked nonsense, Mrs. Mervale's sense was not much wiser.
Angila was a pretty, playful, romantic girl, rather intolerant of the people she did not like, and enthusiastic about those she did; full of life and animation, she was a decided belle in the gay circle in which she moved.
Miss Lenox was her dearest friend for the time being, and the proposed separation for the next six months was looked upon as a cruel affliction, only to be softened by the most frequent and confidential correspondence.
For the first few weeks of Augusta's absence, the promises exchanged on both sides were vehemently fulfilled. Letters were written two or three limes a week, detailing every minute circumstance that happened to either. But at the end of that time Angila was at a party where she met Robert Hazlewood, who talked to her for some time. It was not a dancing party, and consequently they conversed together more than they had ever done before. He seemed extremely amused with her liveliness, and looked at her with unmistakable admiration. Had Augusta Lenox been there to see, perhaps Angila would not have received his attentions so graciously; but there being nothing to remind her of his being her "favorite aversion," she talked with animation, pleased with the admiration she excited, without being annoyed by any inconvenient reminiscences. And not only was Miss Lenox absent, but Miss Morton was present, and Angila thought she looked over at them a little anxiously; so that a little spirit of rivalry heightened, if not her pleasure, certainly Hazlewood's consequence in her eyes. Girls are often much influenced by each other in these matters—and the absence of Miss Lenox, who "did not think much of Robert Hazlewood," with the presence of Miss Morton who did, had no small influence in Angila's future fate.
"Did you have a pleasant party?" asked Mrs. Mervale, who had not been with her daughter the evening before.
"Yes, very pleasant," replied Angila; "one of the pleasantest 'conversation parties' I have ever been at."
And "who was there—and who did you talk to?" were the next questions, which launched Angila in a full length description of every thing and every body—and among them figured quite conspicuously Robert Hazlewood.
"And you found him really clever?" said her mother.
"Oh, decidedly," replied her daughter.
"Who," said her brother, looking up from his breakfast, "Hazlewood? Certainly he is. He's considered one of the cleverest among the young lawyers. Decidedly a man of talent."
Angila looked pleased.
"His father is a man of talent before him," observed Mrs. Mervale. "As a family, the Hazlewoods have always been distinguished for ability. This young man is ugly, you say, Angila?"
"Yes—" replied Angila, though with some hesitation. "Yes, he is ugly, certainly—but he has a good countenance; and when he converses he is better looking than I thought him."
"It's a pity he's conceited," said Mrs. Mervale, innocently; her impression of the young man being taken from her daughter's previous description of him. "Since he is really clever, it's a pity, for it's such a drawback always."
"Conceited! I don't think he's conceited," said Angila, quite forgetting her yesterday's opinion.
"Don't you? I thought it was you who said so, my dear," replied her mother, quietly.
"Yes, I did once think so," said Angila, slightly blushing at her own inconsistency. "I don't know why I took the idea in my head—but in fact I talked more to him, and became better acquainted with him last evening than I ever have before. When there is dancing, there is so little time for conversation; and he really talks very well."
"He is engaged to Miss Morton, you say?" continued Mrs. Mervale.
"Well, I don't know," replied Angila, adding, as she remembered the animated looks of admiration he had bestowed upon herself, "I doubt it—that is the report, however."
"Hazlewood's no more engaged to Mary Morton than I am," said young Mervale, carelessly. "Where did you get that idea?"
"Why every body says so, George," said Angila.
"Pshaw! every body's saying so don't make it so."
"But he's very attentive to her," replied Angila.
"Well, and if he is," retorted Mervale, "it does not follow that he must be in love with her. You women do jump to conclusions, and make up matches in such a way," he continued, almost angrily.
"I think she likes him," pursued Angila. "I think she would have him."
"Have him! to be sure she would," replied George, in the same tone; not that he considered the young lady particularly in love with his friend, but as if any girl might be glad to have him—for brothers are very apt to view such cases differently from sisters, who refuse young gentlemen for their friends without mercy.
"But he's ugly, you say," continued Mrs. Mervale, sorrowfully, who, old lady as she was, liked a handsome young man, and always lamented when she found mental gifts unaccompanied by personal charms.
"Yes, he's no beauty, that's certain," said Angila, gayly.
"Has he a good air and figure?" pursued Mrs. Mervale, still hoping so clever a man might be better looking after all.
"Yes, tolerable—middle height—nothing remarkable one way or the other." And then the young lady went off to tell some piece of news, that quite put Mr. Hazlewood out of her mother's head for the present.
When Angila next wrote to Augusta, although she spoke of Mrs. Carpenter's party, a little consciousness prevented her saying much about Robert Hazlewood, and consequently her friend was quite unsuspicious of the large share he had in making the party she described so pleasant.
Hazlewood had really been pleased by Angila. She was pretty—and he found her lively and intelligent. He had always been inclined to admire her, but she had turned from him once or twice in what he had thought a haughty manner, and consequently he had scarcely known her until they met at this little conversazione of Mrs. Carpenter's, where accident placed them near each other. The party was so small that where people happened to find themselves, there they staid—it requiring some courage for a young man to break the charmed ring, and deliberately plant himself before any lady, or attempt to talk to any one except her beside whom fate had placed him.
Now Angila had the corner seat on a sofa near the fire-place, and Hazlewood was standing, leaning against the chimney-piece, so that a nicer, more cosy position for a pleasant talk could hardly be conceived in so small a circle. Miss Morton was on the other side of the fire-place, occupying the corresponding situation to Angila, and Angila could see her peeping forward from time to time to see if Hazlewood still maintained his place. His back was turned toward her, so if she did throw any anxious glances that way, he did not see them.
Angila met him a few evenings after this at the Opera, and found that he was a passionate lover of music. They talked again, and he very well, for he really was a sensible, well-educated young man. Music is a favorite source of inspiration, and Hazlewood was a connoisseur as well as amateur. She found that he seldom missed a night at the Opera, and "she was surprised she had not seen him there before, as she went herself very often."
"He had seen her, however;" and he looked as if it were not easy not to see her when she was there.
She blushed and was pleased, for it evidently was not an unmeaning compliment.
"Mr. Hazlewood's very clever," she said the next day; "and his tastes are so cultivated and refined. He is very different from the usual run of young men." (When a girl begins to think a man different from the "usual run," you may be sure she herself is off the common track.) "There's something very manly in all his sentiments, independent and high-toned. He cannot be engaged to Mary Morton, for I alluded to the report, and he seemed quite amused at the idea. I can see he thinks her very silly, which she is, though pretty—though he was two gentlemanly to say so."
"How, then, did you find out that he thought so," asked George, smiling.
"Oh, from one or two little things. We were speaking of a German poem that I was trying to get the other day, and he said he had it, but had lent it to Miss Morton. 'However,' he added, with a peculiar smile, 'he did not believe she wanted to read it, and at any rate, he would bring it to me as soon as she returned it. He doubted whether she was much of a German reader.' But it was more the smile and the manner in which he said it, than the words, that made me think he had no very high opinion of her literary tastes."
"He may not like her any the less for that," said George, carelessly. "I think your clever literary men rarely do value a woman less for her ignorance."
But there was an expression in Angila's pretty face that seemed to contradict this assertion; for, like most pretty women, the was vainer of her talents than her beauty—and she thought Hazlewood had been quite struck by some of her criticisms the night before.
However this might be, the intimacy seemed to progress at a wonderful rate. He called and brought her books; and they had a world to say every time they met, which, whether by accident or design, was now beginning to be very often.
"You knew old Mr. Hazlewood, mamma, did not you?" said Angila. "And who did you say Mrs. Hazlewood was?" And now she listened very differently from the last time that her mother had launched forth on the topic of old times and friends. Angila was wonderfully interested in all the history of the whole race, for Mrs. Mervale began with the great grandfathers, maternal and paternal; and she kept the thread of the story with surprising distinctness, and made out the family pedigree with amazing correctness.
"Then they are an excellent family, mamma," she said.
"To be sure they are," replied Mrs. Mervale, "one of the oldest and best in the city."
It was wonderful what a quantity of books Angila read just about this time; but Hazlewood was always sending her something, which she seemed to take peculiar pleasure in surprising him by having finished before they met again. And her bright eyes grew brighter, and occasionally, and that not unfrequently, they had an abstracted, dreamy look, as if her thoughts were far away, occupied in very pleasant visions—whether they were now of Ossian-heroes, dark-eyed and dim, we doubt.
She was rather unpleasantly roused to a waking state, however, by a passage in one of Augusta Lenox's last letters, which was,
"What has become of your 'favorite aversion,' Robert Hazlewood? When are he and Mary Morton to be married? I give her joy of him—as you say, how can she?"
Angila colored scarlet with indignation as she read this, almost wondering at first what Augusta meant.
She did not answer the letter; some consciousness, mixed with a good deal of vexation, prevented her.
Hazlewood's attentions to Angila began to be talked of a good deal. Her mother was congratulated, and she was complimented, for every body spoke well of him. "A remarkably clever young man with excellent prospects," the old people said. The young girls talked of him probably pretty much as Angila and Augusta had done—but she did not hear that, and the young men said,
"Hazlewood was a devilish clever fellow, and that Angila Mervale would do very well if she could get him."
That the gentleman was desperately in love there was no doubt; and as for the young lady—that she was flattered and pleased and interested, was hardly less clear. Her bright eyes grew softer and more dreamy every day.
Of what was she dreaming? What could her visions be now? Can she by any possibility make a hero of Robert Hazlewood? Sober common sense would say "No!" but bright-eyed, youthful imagination may boldly answer, "Why not?" Time, however, can only decide that point.
Two more letters came from Augusta Lenox about this time, and remained unanswered. "Wait till I am engaged," Angila had unconsciously said to herself, and then blushed the deepest blush, as she caught the words that had risen to her lips.
She did not wait long, however. Bright, beaming, blushing and tearful, she soon announced the intelligence to her mother, asking her consent, and permission to refer Mr. Hazlewood to her father.
The Mervales were very well pleased with the match, which, in fact, was an excellent one, young Hazlewood being in every respect Angila's superior, except in appearance, where she, as is the woman's right, bore the palm of beauty. Not but that she was quick, intelligent, and well cultivated; but there are more such girls by hundreds in our community, than there are men of talent, reading, industry and worth to merit them; and Angila was amazingly happy to have been one of the fortunate few to whose lot such a man falls.
And now, indeed, she wrote a long, long letter to Augusta—so full of happiness, describing Hazlewood, as she thought, so distinctly, that Augusta must recognize him at once—so she concluded by saying,
"And now I need not name him, as you must know who I mean."
"I must know who she means!" said Augusta, much perplexed. "Why I am sure I cannot imagine who she means! Talented, agreeable, with cultivated tastes! Who can it be? 'Not handsome, but very gentlemanlike-looking.' Well, I have no idea who it is—I certainly cannot know the man. But as we sail next week, I shall be at home in time for the wedding. How odd that I should be really her bridemaid in May after all!"
Miss Lenox arrived about two months after Angila's engagement had been announced, and found her friend brilliant with happiness. After the first exclamations and greetings, Augusta said with impatient curiosity,
"But who is it, Angila—you never told me?"
"But surely you guessed at once," said Angila, incredulously.
"No, indeed," replied her friend, earnestly, "I have not the most distant idea."
"Why, Robert Hazlewood, to be sure!"
"Robert Hazlewood! Oh, Angila! You are jesting," exclaimed her friend, thrown quite off her guard by astonishment.
"Yes, indeed!" replied Angila, with eager delight, attributing Augusta's surprise and incredulous tones to quite another source. "You may well be surprised, Augusta. Is it not strange that such a man—one of his superior talents—should have fallen in love with such a mad-cap as me."
Augusta could hardly believe her ears. But the truth was, that Angila had so long since forgotten her prejudice, founded on nothing, against Hazlewood, that she was not conscious now that she had ever entertained any such feelings. She was not obliged, in common phrase, to "eat her own words," for she quite forgot that she had ever uttered them. And now, with the utmost enthusiasm, she entered into all her plans and prospects—told Augusta, with the greatest interest, as if she thought the theme must be equally delightful to her friend—all her mother's long story about the old Hazlewoods, and what a "charming nice family they were," ("those pattern people that she hated so," as Augusta remembered, but all of which was buried in the happiest oblivion with Angila,) and the dear little house that was being furnished like a bijou next to Mrs. Constant's, (next to Mrs. Constant's!—one of those small houses with low ceilings! Augusta gasped;) and how many servants she was going to keep; and what a nice young girl she had engaged already as waiter.
"You mean, then, to have a woman waiter?" Augusta could not help saying.
"Oh, to be sure!" said Angila. "What should I do with a man in such a pretty little establishment as I mean to have. And then you know we must be economical—Mr. Hazlewood is a young lawyer, and I don't mean to let him slave himself to make the two ends meet. You'll see what a nice economical little housekeeper I'll be."
And, in short, Augusta found that the same bright, warm imagination that had made Angila once dream of Ossian-heroes, now endowed Robert Hazlewood with every charm she wanted, and even threw a romantic glow over a small house, low ceilings, small economies, and all but turned the woman-servant into a man. Cinderella's godmother could hardly have done more. Such is the power of love!
"Well," said Augusta, in talking it all over with her brother, "I cannot comprehend it yet; Angila, who used to be so fastidious, so critical, who expected so much in the man she was to marry!"
"She is not the first young lady who has come down from her pedestal," replied her brother, laughing.
"No, but she has not," returned Augusta, "that's the oddest part of the whole—she has only contrived somehow to raise Hazlewood on a pedestal, too. You'd think they were the only couple in the world going to be married. She's actually in love with him, desperately in love with him; and it was only just before I went to New Orleans that she said—"
"My dear," interrupted her mother, "there's no subject on which women change their minds oftener than on this. Love works wonders—indeed, the only miracles left in the world are of his creation."
"But she used to wonder at Mary Morton's liking him, mamma."
"Ah, my dear," replied her mother, "that was when he was attentive to Mary Morton and not her. It makes a wonderful difference when the thing becomes personal. And if you really love Angila, my dear, you will forget, or at least not repeat, what she said six months before marriage."
A NEW ENGLAND LEGEND
BY CAROLINE F. ORNE.
[The subject of the following ballad may be found in the "Christus Super Aquas" of Mather's Magnalia.]
"God's blessing on the bonny barque!" the gallant seamen cried, As with her snowy sails outspread she cleft the yielding tide— "God's blessing on the bonny barque!" cried the landsmen from the shore, As with a swallow's rapid flight she skimmed the waters o'er. Oh never from the good old Bay, a fairer ship did sail, Or in more trim and brave array did court the favoring gale. Cheerily sung the marinere as he climbed the high, high mast, The mast that was made of the Norway pine, that scorned the mountain-blast. But brave Mark Edward dashed a tear in secret from his eye, As he saw green Trimount dimmer grow against the distant sky, And fast before the gathering breeze his noble vessel fly. Oh, youth will cherish many a hope, and many a fond desire, And nurse in secret in the heart the hidden altar-fire! And though young Mark Edward trode his deck with footstep light and free, Yet a shadow was on his manly brow as his good ship swept the sea; A shadow was on his manly brow as he marked the fading shore, And the faint line of the far green hills where dwelt his loved Lenore. Merrily sailed the bonny barque toward her destined port, And the white waves curled around her prow as if in wanton sport. Merrily sailed the bonny barque till seven days came and past, When her snowy canvas shivered and rent before the northern blast, And out of her course, and away, away, careered she wild and fast. Black lowered the heavens, loud howled the winds, as the gallant barque drove on, "God save her from the stormy seas," prayed the sailors every one, But hither and thither the mad winds bore her, careening wildly on. Oh, a fearful thing is the mighty wind as it raves the land along, And the forests rock beneath the shock of the fierce blasts and the strong, But when the wild and angry waves come rushing on their prey, And to and fro the good ship reels with the wind's savage play, Oh! then it is more fearful far in that frail barque to be, At the mercy of the wind and wave, alone upon the sea. Mark Edward's eye grew stern and calm as day by day went on, And farther from the destined port the gallant barque was borne. From her tall masts the sails were rent, yet fast and far she flew, But whither she drove there knew not one among her gallant crew, Nor the captain, nor the marineres, not one among them knew. Now there had come and past away full many weary days, And each looked in each other's face with sad and blank amaze, For ghastly Famine's bony hand was stretched to clutch his prey, And still the adverse winds blew on as they would blow alway. And dark and fearful whispered words from man to man went past, As of some dread and fatal deed which they must do at last. And night and morn and noon they prayed, oh blessed voice of prayer! That God would bring their trembling souls out of this great despair. And every straining eye was bent out o'er the ocean-wave, But they saw no sail, there came no ship the storm-tost barque to save. The fatal die was cast at length; and tears filled every eye As forth a gentle stripling slept and gave himself to die. They looked upon his pure white brow, and his face so fair to see, And all with one accord cried out, "Oh, God! this must not be!" And brave Mark Edward calmly said, "Let the lot fall on me." "Not so," the generous youth exclaimed, "of little worth am I, But 'twould strike the life from out us all were it thy lot to die." "Let us once more entreat the Lord; he yet our souls may spare," And kneeling down the gray-haired man sent up a fervent prayer. Oh mighty is the voice of prayer! to him that asks is given, And as to Israel of old was manna sent from heaven, So now their prayer was answered, for, leaping from the sea, A mighty fish fell in their midst, where they astonished be. "Now glory to the Father be, and to the Son be praise! Upon the deep He walketh, in the ocean are His ways, 'Tis meet that we should worship Him who doeth right always." And then from all that noble crew a hymn of joy arose— It flowed from grateful hearts as free as running water flows.
Day after day still passed away, gaunt Famine pressed again, Each turned away from each, as if smit with a sudden pain. They feared to meet each other's eyes and read the secret there, And each his pangs in silence strove a little yet to bear. The eye grew dim with looking out upon the weary main, Wave rolling after wave was all that answered back again. But night and morn and noon they prayed—oh blessed voice of prayer! That God would bring their trembling souls out of this great despair. Again the fatal die was cast; a man of powerful frame Slowly and with reluctant step to the dread summons came. Large drops of anguish on his brow—his lips were white with fear— Oh 'tis a dreadful death to die! Is there no succor near? They looked around on every side, but saw no sight of cheer. "It is not for myself I dread," the sailor murmured low, "But for my wife and little babes, oh what a tale of wo!" "It shall not be," Mark Edward cried, "for their dear sakes go free. I have no wife to mourn my fate, let the lot fall on me." "Not so, oh generous and brave!" the sailor grateful said, "The lot is mine, but cheer thou her and them when I am dead." And turning with a calmer front he bade the waiting crew What not themselves but fate compelled, to haste and quickly do. But who shall do the dismal work? The innocent life who take? One after one each shrunk away, but no word any spake. Still hunger pressed them sore, and pangs too dreadful to be borne. "Be merciful, oh Father, hear! To thee again we turn." Then in their agony they strove, and wrestled long in prayer, Till suddenly they heard a sound come from the upper air, A sound of rushing wings, and lo! oh sight of joy! on high A great bird circles round the masts, and ever draws more nigh. In lightning play of hope and fear one breathless moment passed, The next, the bird has lighted down and settled on the mast. And soon within his grasp secure a seaman holds him fast. "Now glory be unto our God—and to His name be praise! Upon the deep he walketh, in the ocean are his ways, From ghastly fear our suppliant souls he royally hath freed, And sent us succor from the air in this our sorest need."
But day by day still passed away, and Famine fiercer pressed, And still the adverse winds blew on and knew no change or rest. Yet strove they in their agony to let no murmuring word Against the good and gracious Lord, from out their lips be heard. But with their wildly gleaming eyes they gazed out o'er the main. Wave rolling after wave was all that answered back again. On the horizon's distant verge not even a speck was seen, But the cresting foam of breaking waves still shimmering between. And fiercer yet, as hour by hour went slowly creeping by, The famine wrung their tortured frames till it were bliss to die. And hopes of further aid grew faint, and it did seem that they Out on the waste of waters wide of Heaven forgotten lay. But night and morn and noon they prayed—oh blessed voice of prayer! That God would save their trembling souls out of this great despair. Again the fatal die was cast, and 'mid a general gloom, Mark Edward calmly forward came to meet the appointed doom. But when they saw his noble port, and his manly bearing brave, Each would have given up his life that bold young heart to save. They would have wept, but their hot eyes refused the grateful tear, Yet with sorrowful and suppliant looks they drew themselves more near. Mark Edward turned aside and spoke in accents calm and low, Unto a man with silver hair, whose look was full of wo, And bade him if the Lord should spare, and they should reach the shore, To bear a message from his lips to his beloved Lenore. "Tell her my thoughts were God's and hers," the brave young spirit cried, "Tell her not how it came to pass, say only that I died." Then with a brief and earnest prayer his soul to God he gave, Beseeching that the sacrifice the lives of all might save. Each looked on each, but not a hand would strike the fatal blow, It was a death pang but to think what hand should lay him low. And sick at heart they turned away their misery to bear, And wrestled once again with God in agony of prayer. As drops of blood wrung from the heart fell each imploring word, Oh, God of Heaven! and can it be such prayer is still unheard? They strained once more each aching orb out o'er the gloomy main, Wave rolling after wave was all that answered back again. They waited yet—they lingered yet—they searched the horizon round, No sight of land, no blessed sail, no living thing was found. They lingered yet—hope faded fast from out the hearts of all. They waited yet—till black Despair sunk o'er them like a pall. They turned to where Mark Edward stood with his unblenching brow, Or he must die their lives to save, or all must perish now. They lingered yet—they waited yet—a sudden shriek rung out— "A sail! A sail! Oh, blessed Lord!" burst forth one joyful shout. New strength those famished men received; fervent their thanks, but brief— They man their boat, they reach the ship, they ask a swift relief. Strange faces meet their view, they hear strange words in tongues unknown, And evil eyes with threatening gaze are sternly looking down. They pause—for a new terror bids their hearts' warm current freeze, For they have met a pirate ship, the scourge of all the seas. But up and out Mark Edward spake, and in the pirates' tongue, And when the pirate captain heard, quick to his side he sprung, And vowed by all the saints of France—the living and the dead— There should not even a hair be harmed upon a single head, For once, when in a dismal strait, Mark Edward gave him aid, And now the debt long treasured up should amply be repaid. He gave them water from his casks, and bread, and all things store, And showed them how to lay their course to reach the destined shore. And the blessing of those famished men went with him evermore.
Again the favoring gale arose, the barque went bounding on, And speedily her destined port was now in safety won. And after, when green Trimount's hills greet their expectant eyes, New thanks to Heaven, new hymns of joy unto the Lord arise. For glory be unto our Lord, and to His name be praise! Upon the deep he walketh, in the ocean are his ways. 'Tis meet that we should worship him who doeth right always.
SONG OF SLEEP.
BY G. G. FOSTER.
Oh the dreamy world of sleep for me, With its visions pure and bright,— Its fairy throngs in revelry, Under the pale moonlight! Sleep, sleep, I wait for thy spell, For my eyes are heavy with watching well For the starry night, and the world of dreams That ever in sleep on my spirit beams.
The day, the day, I cannot 'bide, 'Tis dull and dusty and drear— And, owl-like, away from the sun I hide, That in dreams I may wander freer. Sleep, sleep, come to my eyes— Welcome as blue to the midnight skies— Faithful as dew to drooping flowers— I only live in thy dreamy bowers.
The sun is purpling down the west, Day's death-robes glitter fair, And weary men, agasp for rest, For the solemn night prepare. Sleep, sleep, hasten to me! The shadows lengthen across the lea; The birds are weary, and so am I; Tired world and dying day good-bye!
THE CRUISE OF THE RAKER.
A TALE OF THE WAR OF 1812-15.
BY HENRY A. CLARK.
(Continued from page 74.)
The Chase and the Capture.
On the deck of the pirate craft stood a young man of powerful frame, and singularly savage features, rendered more repulsive by the disposition of the hair which was allowed to grow almost over the entire mouth, and hung from the chin in heavy masses nearly to the waist. With his elbow resting against the fore-mast of the vessel, he was gazing through a spy-glass upon the brig he had been so long pursuing. A burly negro stood at the helm, holding the tiller, and steering the brig with an ease which denoted his vast strength, scarcely moving his body, but meeting the long waves, which washed over the side of the vessel, and rushed in torrents through the hawse-holes, merely by the power of his arm.
"Keep her more in the wind," shouted the commander, with an oath, to the helmsman.
"Ay, ay sir," responded the negro gruffly.
"Don't let me hear a sail flap again or I'll score your back for you, you son of a sea-cook."
With this pleasant admonition the young man resumed his night-glass.
The captain of the pirate brig was an Englishman by birth; his history was little known even to his own crew, but it was remarkable that though always savage and blood-thirsty, he was peculiarly so to his own countrymen, evincing a hatred and malignancy toward every thing connected with his native land, that seemed more than fiendish—never smiling but when his sword was red with the blood of his countrymen, and his foot planted upon her conquered banner. It was evident that some deep wrong had driven him forth to become an outcast and a fiend. A close inspection of his features developed the outlines of a noble countenance yet remaining, though marred and deformed by years of passion and of crime. His crew, which numbered nearly fifty, were gathered from almost every nation of the civilized world, yet were all completely under his command. They were now scattered over the vessel in various lounging attitudes, apparently careless of every thing beyond the ease of the passing moment, leaving the management of the brig to the two or three hands necessary to control the graceful and obedient craft.
For long hours the captain of the pirate brig stood following the motions of the flying merchantman; he thought not of sleep or of refreshment, it was enough for him that he was in pursuit of an English vessel, that his revenge was again to be gratified with English blood.
He was roused by a light touch of the arm—he turned impatiently.
A beautiful girl stood beside him, gazing into his face half with fear and half with love. Her dress was partly that of a girl and partly of a boy; over a pair of white loose sailor's trowsers a short gown was thrown, fastened with a blue zone, and her long hair fell in thick, luxuriant masses from beneath a gracefully shaped little straw hat—altogether she was as lovely in feature and form as Venus herself, with an eye blue as the ocean, and a voice soft and sweet as the southern breeze.
"Dear William, will you not go below and take some rest?"
"I want none, girl; I shall not sleep till every man on yonder vessel has gone to rest in the caves of ocean."
"But you will eat?"
"Pshaw! Florette, leave me; your place is below."
The girl said no more, but slowly glided to the companion-way and disappeared into the little cabin.
The long night at length wore away, and as the clear light of morning shone upon the waters the merchant vessel was no longer visible from the deck of the pirate.
"A thousand devils! has he escaped me. Ho! the one of you with the sharpest eyes up to the mast-head. Stay, I will go myself."
Thus speaking, the captain mounted the main-mast and gazed long and anxiously; he could see nothing of the vessel. He mounted still higher, climbing the slender top-mast till with his hand resting upon the main-truck he once more looked over the horizon. Thus far his gaze had been directed to windward, in the course where the vanished brig had last been seen. At length he turned to leeward, and far in the distant horizon his eagle eye caught faint sight of a sail, like the white and glancing wing of a bird. With wonderful rapidity he slid to the deck, and gave orders to set the brig before the wind. The beautiful little bark fell off gracefully, and in a moment was swiftly retracing the waters it had beaten over during the night.
"The revenge will be no less sweet that it is deferred," exclaimed the pirate captain, as he threw himself upon the companion-way. "Thirty English vessels have I sunk in the deep, and I am not yet satisfied—no, no, curses on her name, curses on her laws, they have driven me forth from a lordly heritage and an ancient name to die an outcast and a pirate."
Pulling his hat over his dark brow, he sat long in deep thought, and not one in all his savage crew but would have preferred to board a vessel of twice their size than to rouse his commander from his thoughtful mood.
Captain Horton for some hours after it had become dark the preceding night, had kept his vessel on the same course, perplexing his mind with some scheme by which he might deceive the pirate. At length he gave orders to lower away the yawl boat, and fit a mast to it, which was speedily done. When all was ready, he hung a lantern to the mast, with a light that would burn but a short time, and then putting out his own ship-light, he fastened the tiller of the yawl and set it adrift, knowing that it would keep its course until some sudden gust of wind should overcome its steerage way. As soon as he had accomplished this, he fell off before the wind, and setting his brig on the opposite tack, as soon as he had got to a good distance from the light of the yawl, took in all sail till not a rag was left standing. He kept his brig in this position until he had the satisfaction of seeing the pirate brig pass to windward in pursuit of his boat, whose light he knew would go out before the pirate could overtake it. When the light of the chase had become faint in the distance, he immediately crowded on all sail, and stood off boldly on his original course.
None of his crew had gone below to turn in, for all were too anxious to sleep, and his passengers still stood beside him upon the quarter-deck; John with a large bundle under his arm, which, in answer to an inquiry from the merchant, he said was merely a change of dress.
"I think we have given them the slip this time, Mr. Williams," said Captain Horton.
"I hope so, captain."
"You can sleep now without danger of being disturbed by unwelcome visiters, Miss Julia."
"Well, captain, I am as glad as my father you have escaped. I wish we had got near enough to see how they looked though."
"We ought rather, my dear girl, to thank God that they came no nearer than they did," said her father half reproachfully.
"True, father, true," and bidding Captain Horton good-night, they retired to the cabin.
"You did fool them nice, didn't you, captin?" said John.
"Yes, John, it was tolerably well done, I think myself," replied the captain, who, like all of mankind, was more or less vain, and prided himself peculiarly upon his skill in his own avocation.
"I shouldn't ha' been much afraid on 'em myself if they had caught us," said John.
"You wouldn't, ah!"
"No! I should ha' hated to see all the crew walk on the plank as they call it, specially Dick Halyard, but I thinks I should ha' come it over 'em myself."
"Well, John, I hope you'll never have such occasion to try your powers of deceit, for I fear you would find yourself wofully mistaken."
"Perhaps not, captin, but I'm confounded sleepy, now we've got away from the bloody pirates, so I'll just lie down here, captin; I haint learned to sleep in a hammock yet. I wish you'd let me have a berth, captin, I hate lying in a circle, it cramps a fellow plaguily."
John talked himself to sleep upon the companion-way, where the good-natured master of the brig allowed him to remain unmolested, and soon after yielding the helm to one of the mates, himself "turned in."
As the morning broke over the sea clear and cloudless, while not a sail was visible in any quarter of the horizon, the revulsion of feeling occasioned by the transition from despair to confidence, and indeed entire assurance of safety, was plainly depicted in the joyous countenances of all on the Betsy Allen. The worthy captain made no endeavor to check the boisterous merriment of his crew, but lighting his pipe, seated himself upon the companion-way, with a complacent smile expanding his sun-browned features, which developed itself into a self-satisfied and happy laugh as Mr. Williams appeared at the cabin-door, leading up his daughter to enjoy the pure morning air, fresh from the clear sky and the bounding waters.
"Ha! ha! Mr. Williams, told you so, not a sail in sight, and a fine breeze."
"Our thanks are due to you, Captain Horton, for the skillful manner in which you eluded the pirate ship."
"Oh! I was as glad to get out of sight of the rascal as you could have been, my dear sir, I assure you; now that we are clear of him, I ain't afraid to tell Miss Julia that if he had overhauled us we should have all gone to Davy Jones' locker, and the Betsy Allen would by this time have been burnt to the water's edge."
"I was not ignorant of the danger at any time, Captain Horton."
"Well, you are a brave girl, and deserve to be a sailor's wife, but I'm married myself."
"That is unfortunate, captain," said Julia, with a merry laugh, so musical in its intonations that the rough sailors who heard its sweet cadence could not resist the contagion, and a bright smile lit up each weather-beaten countenance within the sound of the merry music.
"Well, I think so myself, though I wouldn't like Mrs. Horton to hear me say it, or I should have a rougher breeze to encounter than I ever met round Cape Horn—ha! ha! ha! You must excuse me, Miss Julia, but I feel in fine spirits this morning, not a sail in sight."
"Sail ho!" shouted the look-out from the main cross-trees.
"Can it be that they have got in our wake again. I'll mount to the mast-head and see myself."
Seizing the glass the captain ascended to the cross-trees, where he remained for a long time, watching the distant sail. At length he returned to the deck.
"They've got our bearings again somehow, confound the cunning rascals; and, by the way they are overhauling us, I judge they can beat us as well afore the wind as on a tack."
"Well, Captain Horton, we must be resigned to our fate then. It matters not so much for me, but it is hard, my daughter, that you should be torn from your peaceful home in England to fall a prey to these fiends."
"They are a long way from us yet, father; let us hope something may happen for our relief, and not give up till we are taken."
"That's the right feeling, Miss Julia," said the captain. "I will do all I can to prolong the chase, and we will trust in God for the result."
Every device which skillful seamanship could practice was put in immediate operation to increase the speed of the brig. There was but a solitary hope remaining, that they might fall in with some national vessel able to protect them from the pirate. The sails were frequently wet, the halyards drawn taut, and the captain himself took the helm. When all this was done, each sailor stood gazing upon the pirate as if to calculate the speed of his approach by the lifting of his sails above the water. The greater part of his top-sails were already in sight, and soon the heads of her courses appeared above the wave, seeming to sweep up like the long, white wings of a lazy bird, whose flight clung to the breast of the sea, as if seeking a resting-place.
By the middle of the day the pirate was within three miles of the merchantman, and had already opened upon her with his long gun. Captain Horton pressed onward without noticing the balls, which as yet had not injured hull or sail. But as the chase approached nearer and nearer, the shots began to take effect—a heavy ball made a huge rent in the mizzen-topsail—another dashed in the galley, and a third tore up the companion-way, and still another cut down the fore-topmast, and materially decreased the speed of the vessel.
Noticing this the pirate ceased his fire, and soon drew up within hail of the merchantman.
"Ship ahoy—what ship?"
"The Betsy Allen, London."
"Lay-by till I send a boat aboard."
Captain Horton gave orders to his crew to wait the word of command before they altered the vessel's course, and then seizing the trumpet, hailed the pirate.
"What ship's that?"
"The brig Death—don't you see the flag?"
"I know the character of your ship, doubtless."
"Well, lay-by, or we'll bring you to with a broadside."
Perceiving the inutility of further effort, Captain Horton brought-to, and hauled down his flag.
In a short time the jolly-boat of the pirate was lowered from the stern, and the commander jumped in, followed by a dozen of his crew.
The vigorous arms of the oarsmen soon brought the boat to the merchantman, and the pirate stood upon the deck of the captured vessel.
"Well, sir, you have given us some trouble to overhaul you," said he, in a manner rather gentlemanly than savage.
"We should have been fools if we had not tried our best to escape."
"True, true—will you inform me how you eluded our pursuit last night. I ask merely from motives of curiosity?"
Captain Horton briefly related the deception of the boat.
"Ah! ha! very well done. Here Diego," said he to one of the sailors who had followed him, "go below and bring up the passengers."
The swarthy rascal disappeared with a malignant grin through the cabin-door, and speedily escorted Mr. Williams to the deck, followed by Julia, and, to the surprise of Captain Horton and his crew, another female.
"Now, captain," said the pirate, with a fiendish smile, "I shall proceed to convey your merchandize to my brig, including these two ladies, though, by my faith, we shall have little use for one of them. After which I will leave you in quiet."
"I could expect no better terms," said Captain Horton, resignedly.
"O, you will soon be relieved from my presence."
Julia clung to her father, but was torn from his grasp, and the good old man was pushed back by the laughing fiends, as he attempted to follow her to the boat. The father and daughter parted with a look of strong anguish, relieved in the countenance of Julia by a deep expression of firmness and resolution.
John was also seized by the pirates, but he had overheard the words of their captain that they would soon be left in quiet, and had already commenced throwing off his woman's dress.
"Hillo! is the old girl going to strip? Bear a hand here, Mike," shouted Diego, to one of his comrades, "just make fast those tow-lines, and haul up her rigging."
Mr. Williams, who immediately conceived the possible advantage it might be to Julia to have even so inefficient a protector with her as John, addressed him in a stern tone.
"What, will you desert your mistress?"
John stood in doubt, but he was a kind-hearted fellow, and loved Julia better than he did any thing else in the world except himself; and without further resistance or explanation, allowed himself to be conveyed to the boat, though the big tears rolled down his cheeks, and nothing even then would have prevented his avowing his original sex, but a strong feeling of shame at the thought of leaving Julia.
For hours the pirate's jolly-boat passed backward and forward between the two brigs; the sea had become too rough to allow the vessels to be fastened together without injury to the light frame of the pirate bark; and night had already set in before all the cargo which the pirates desired had been removed from the merchantman; but it was at length accomplished, and once more the pirates stood upon the deck of their own brig.
In a few words their captain explained his plan of destruction to his crew, which was willingly assented to, as it was sufficiently cruel and vindictive. Three loud cheers burst from their lips, startling the crew of the Betsey Allen with its wild cadence, and in another moment the pirate-captain leaped into his boat, and followed by a number of his crew, returned to the merchantman.
Still preserving his suavity of manner, he addressed Captain Horton as he stepped upon the deck, after first ordering the crew to the bows, and drawing up his own men with pointed muskets before the companion-way.
"Captain Horton, as you are, perhaps, aware it is our policy to act upon the old saying that 'dead men tell no tales,' and after consultation among ourselves, we have concluded to set your vessel on fire, and then depart in peace, leaving you to the quiet I promised you."
"Blood-thirsty villain!" shouted the captain of the merchantman, and suddenly drawing a pistol, he discharged it full at the pirate's breast. The latter was badly wounded, but falling back against the main-mast, was able to order his men to pursue their original design before he fell fainting in the arms of one of his men, who immediately conveyed him to the boat.
The savages proceeded then to fire the vessel in several different places, meeting with no resistance from the crew, as a dozen muskets pointed at their heads admonished them that immediate death would be the consequence.
As soon as the subtle element had so far progressed in its work of destruction that the hand of man could not stay it, the pirates jumped into their boat, and with a fiendish yell, pulled off for their own vessel.
For a very short time the crew of the merchantman stood watching the flame and smoke which was fast encircling them, then rousing their native energies, and perceiving the utter impossibility of conquering the fire, they turned their attention to the only resource left—the construction of some sort of a raft that would sustain their united weight.
The progress of the flames, however, was so rapid, that though a score of busy hands were employed with axes and hatchets, the most that could be done was to hurl overboard a few spars and boards, cut away the bowsprit and part of the bulwarks, before the exceeding heat compelled them to leave the brig.
Mr. Williams, who had remained in a state of stupor since the loss of his daughter, was borne to the ship's side, and hurriedly fastened to a spar; and then all the crew boldly sprung into the water, and pushing the fragments of boards and spars from the burning brig, as soon as they attained a safe distance, commenced the construction of their raft in the water. This was an exceedingly difficult undertaking; but they were working with the energies of despair, and board after board was made fast by means of the rope they had thrown over with themselves; and in the light of their burning vessel they managed at length to build a raft sufficiently strong to bear their weight.
Then seating themselves upon it, they almost gave way to despair; they had lost the excitement of occupation, and now, in moody silence, watched the mounting flames. They were without food, and the sea ran high; their condition did, indeed, seem hopeless—and their only refuge, death.
The fire had made swift work during the time the unfortunate crew were occupied in building the raft, and the little brig was now almost enveloped in smoke and flame. A burst of fire from her main hatchway threw a red glare over the turbulent waters, and showed the vessel's masts and rigging brightly displayed against the dark sky above and beyond them. The main-sail by this time caught fire, and was blazing away along the yard fiercely; and the flame soon reached the loftier sails and running rigging; the fire below was raging between decks, and rising in successive bursts of flame from the hatchways. The vessel had been filled with combustible material, and the doomed brig, in a short space of time, was one mass of flame.
To a spectator beholding the sight in safety, it would have been a magnificent spectacle—the grandest, the most terrific, perhaps, it is possible to conceive—a ship on fire at night in the mid-ocean. The hull of the vessel lay flaming like an immense furnace on the surface of the deep; her masts, and the lower and topsail-yards, with fragments of the rigging hanging round them, sparkling, and scattering the fire-flakes, rose high above it, while huge volumes of smoke ever and anon obscured the whole, then borne away by the strong breeze, left the burning brig doubly distinct, placed in strong relief against the dark vault of heaven behind. The lofty spars, as their fastenings were burnt through, fell, one by one, into the hissing water, and at length the tall masts, no longer supported by the rigging, and nearly burnt into below the deck, fell over, one after the other, into the deep.
Suddenly Captain Horton started to his feet,
"It is, it is a sail—look, do you now see it coming up in the light of the brig?"
"It is so, captain," responded his men one after the other.
"Thank God we shall yet be saved! If the pirate had scuttled the ship we should have had no chance; but his cruel course has saved us, for the flame has attracted some vessel to our succor."
"Perhaps the pirate returning," remarked Mr. Williams.
"No, that kept on before the wind, and this is coming up. God grant it be an English vessel, and a swift one, and we may yet save your daughter!"
This remark struck a chord of hope in the heart of Mr. Williams, and roused him to his native manliness.
"But," said he, "our own vessel has drifted far from us, and we shall not be seen by this one."
"I think they will come within hail; they will at least sail round the burning vessel, in the hopes of picking up somebody. Come, my men, let's make some kind of sail of our jackets, a half a mile nearer the ship may save us all our lives."
With a cheer as merry as ever broke from their lips when on board ship, the reanimated sailors went to work, and soon reared a small sail made of their clothing, which caught enough wind to move them slowly onward.
"Steer in the wake of our own vessel, my men, and the strange sail will come right on to us—get between them."
"Ay, ay, sir!"
As the approaching vessel drew nearer, the crew of the Betsy Allen sent up a cheer from their united voices which, to their great joy, was answered from the strange sail.
"Ahoy, where away?"
"Three points on your weather bow—starboard your helm, and you'll be on us."
In a very short time the shipwrecked crew stood on the deck of the privateer Raker, which, attracted by the light of their burning brig, had varied somewhat from its course, to render assistance if any were needed. Captain Greene and his men soon became acquainted with the history of the crew of the lost brig, and every attention was shown to them.
Captain Horton gave them a brief account of the pirate's assault, and the abduction of Julia.
"O Captain Greene, save my child, if possible. She is my only one," exclaimed Mr. Williams.
"Which way did she steer, Captain Horton?"
"She went off right before the wind, sir, and is not three hours ahead of us."
"Mr. Williams I will immediately give chase, and God grant that I may overtake the scoundrels."
"A father's thanks shall be yours, sir."
"Never mind that—you had all better turn in; I will steer the same course with the pirate till morning, sir; and if he is then in sight, I think he is ours—for there are few things afloat that can outsail the Raker."
The crew of the Betsy Allen, whose anxiety and exertions during the last few hours had been excessive, gladly accepted the captain's offer, and were soon snoring in their hammocks. Captain Horton and Mr. Williams remained on the deck of the Raker, the one too anxious for revenge upon the pirate who had destroyed his brig, to sleep, and the other too much afflicted by the loss of his daughter, and the painful thoughts which it engendered, to think of any thing but her speedy recovery.
The long night at length wore away, and with the first beams of the morning sun the mists rolled heavily upward from the ocean. To the great joy of all on board the Raker, the pirate-brig was in sight, though beyond the reach of shot from the privateer.
Although the captain of the Raker had sufficient confidence in the superior speed of his own vessel, yet to avoid the possibility of being deceived, he decided to pretend flight, well assured that the pirate would give chase. He accordingly bore off, as if anxious to avoid speaking him, and displaying every sign of fear, had the satisfaction of perceiving the pirate change his course, and set all sail in pursuit.
In order to test the relative speed of the two vessels he did not at first slacken his own sail, but put his brig to its swiftest pace. He had reason to congratulate himself upon the wisdom of his manoeuvre when he perceived that in spite of every exertion the chase gained upon him, and it was evident that unless he was crippled by a shot, he might yet escape.
As the pirate bore down upon his brig, Captain Greene perceived, by aid of his glass, that the number of the crew on board was considerably superior to his own, even with the addition of the crew of the Betsy Allen. In consideration of this fact, he determined to fight her at a distance with his long gun. This he still kept concealed amidships, under the canvas, desiring to impress fully upon his opponent the idea of his inferiority.
Leaving the vessels thus situated, let us visit the pirate again.
Julia, and John in his disguise, were conveyed to his deck, where they were speedily separated. Julia was conducted below, where, to her surprise and joy, she found a companion of her own sex, in the person of Florette.
The wounded commander of the pirate was also conveyed to his berth, where Florette, with much grief, attended to nurse him. It was in her first passionate burst of sorrow that Julia discovered her love for the pirate, from which circumstance she also derived consolation and relief; and having already, with the natural firmness of her mind, shaken off the deep despondency which had settled upon it when first torn from her father, she began to resolve upon the course of action she would pursue, in every probable event which might befall her.
During the long night the pirate lay groaning and helpless; but such was the strength of his will, and the all absorbing nature of his hatred, that when informed on the succeeding morning that a vessel was in sight, he aroused his physical powers sufficiently to reach the deck, where, seating himself on the companion-way, he watched the strange sail with an interest so intense, that he almost forgot his painful wounds.
He had hardly taken his position before the captain of the Raker uncovered and ran out his long gun, and to the surprise of all on board the pirate, a huge shot, evidently sent from a gun much larger than they had supposed their antagonist to possess, came crashing through their main-sail.
Too late the pirates perceived the error into which they had fallen; and were aware of the immense advantage which the long gun gave their opponent, enabling him, in fact, to maintain his own position beyond the reach of their fire, and at the same time cut every mast and spar on board the pirate-brig to pieces, unless, indeed, the latter might be fortunate enough, by superior sailing, to get beyond the reach of shot without suffering material injury.
Perceiving this to be his only resource, orders were given on board the pirate again to 'bout ship, and instead of pursuing to be themselves in turn fugitives. But they were not destined to escape without injury. Another shot from the Raker bore away their foretop-sail, and sensibly checked their speed. To remedy this misfortune, studding-sails were set below and aloft, and for a long time the chase was continued without the shot from the Raker taking serious effect on the pirate; and, indeed, the latter in a considerable degree increased the distance between the two vessels. But while the captain and crew of the Raker were confident of eventually overtaking their antagonist, the men in the pirate-brig had already become convinced that in such a harassing and one-sided mode of warfare, they stood no chance whatever, and demanded of their captain that he should make the attempt to close with the Raker and board. This he sternly refused, and pointed out to his men the folly of such a course, as upon a nearer approach to the privateer, his rigging and masts must necessarily suffer in such a manner as to place his brig entirely at the command of the Raker. His men admitted the truth of his reasoning, but at the same time evinced so much dissatisfaction at their present vexatious situation, that their captain plainly perceived it was necessary to pursue some course of action to appease their turbulent spirits.
With a clouded brow he returned to his cabin with the assistance of Florette, who had watched with a woman's love to take advantage of every opportunity to aid him.
Reaching the cabin, his eyes fell upon the form of Julia, eagerly bending from the little window as she watched the pursuing brig, fervently praying that its chase might be successful.
As she turned her eyes in-doors at the noise made by the entrance of the pirate, his keen glance noticed the light of hope which shone in her beautiful eyes, which she strove not and cared not to conceal.
"My fair captive," said he, with a sneering smile, "do you see hope of escape in yonder approaching vessel?"
"My hope is in God," was the calm reply of the lovely girl.
"That trust will fail you now, sweet lady."
"I believe it not; when has He deserted those whose trust was in him?"
"So have you been taught, doubtless, so you may yet believe; but you have still to learn that if there is such a being, he meddles not with the common purposes of man. It is his government to punish, not prevent; and man here on earth pursues his own course, be it dark or bright—and God's hand is not interposed to stay the natural and inevitable workings of cause and effect. No, no! here, on this, my own good ship, I rule; and there is no hand, human or divine, that will interpose between my determination and the execution of my purpose."
"Impious man! you may yet learn to fear the power you now despise."
"Ha! ha! ha!—do I look like a man to be frightened by the words of a weak girl, or by the name of a mysterious being, whose agency I have never seen in the workings of earthly affairs."
"I have no mercy to expect from one who has consigned a whole ship's crew, without remorse, to a cruel death."
"Well, were they not Englishmen? I have not for years, lady, spared an Englishman in my deep hatred, or an Englishwoman in my lust!"
"Yet are they not your own countrymen?"
The pirate smiled. "I could relate a history of wrong that would justify me even in your eyes. If I have proved a viper to my native land, it is because her heel has crushed me—but the tale cannot be told now. If yonder vessel overtake us, and escape become impossible, my own hand will apply the match that shall blow up my brig, and all it contains. Before that time you will be a dishonored woman, to whom death were a relief. Nothing but this wound has preserved you thus long. With this assurance I leave you."
The pirate returned to the deck, where, notwithstanding the pain of his injuries, he continued to take command of the brig.
He had hardly vanished from the cabin before Florette stood by the side of Julia.
"Lady," said she, "I overheard your conversation with the captain of this brig, and I pity you most truly."
"Pity will little avail," replied Julia.
"That is true, yet I would aid you if possible."
"And you—do not you, too, desire to escape from this savage?"
"Alas! lady, I have learned to love him."
"I have now been on this brig more than three years. I was taken from a French merchant vessel in which I was proceeding to French Guinea, to live with a relative there, having lost all my immediate kindred in France. While crossing the Bay of Biscay, a heavy storm drove us out to sea, and while endeavoring to return in shore, we fell in with this vessel—all on board were murdered but myself, so I have been told. I was borne to this cabin, which has since been my home. I was treated with much respect by the captain, and being all alone, I don't know why it was, I forgot all his crimes, and at length became his willing mistress. You turn from me in disgust, and in pity—yet so it is. And now, lady, if you are bold enough to risk your life, you may escape."
"I would gladly give my life to save my honor."
Florette gazed with a melancholy smile upon her companion; perhaps thoughts of her own former purity came over her mind.
"It is a bold plan," said she, "but it is on that account that I am more confident of success, as all chance of escape will be deemed hopeless."
"What is your plan?"
"Night is now approaching, and it is probable the pursuing brig will not gain on us before dark. I have noticed that the ship's boat hangs at the stern, only fastened by the painter. If you have courage enough to descend to the boat by the painter, I will cut it, and you will then be directly in the course of the pursuing brig, and will be easily picked up."
"But how can I get to the vessel's deck without being seen?"
"I have thought of that; we will wait till dark, when you shall put on a similar dress with mine, and then you can go to any part of the vessel you choose without being suspected. You must watch your time to steal unobserved behind the man at the helm, and drop yourself into the boat; I will soon after appear on deck, and if you are successful in escaping observation, I shall be able then to cut the painter without difficulty, as the darkness will conceal my movements. Do you understand the plan?"
"And you are not afraid to put it into execution?"
"Oh, no, no! and I thank you for your kind aid."
"I am not wholly disinterested, lady; you are beautiful, and may steal away the captain's heart from me."
"Be ready," continued Florette, "and as soon as possible after it becomes dark we will make the attempt."
It was as Florette had called it, a bold plan, but not impracticable, as any one acquainted with the position of things will at once acknowledge. Only one man would be at the tiller, and he might or might not notice the passing of any other person behind him. This passage once accomplished, it would be an easy undertaking to slide down the strong painter, or rope which made fast the boat to the stern of the brig. It was a plan in which the chances were decidedly in favor of the success of the attempt.
The Raker had for some time ceased firing, and set studding-sails in hopes of gaining on the pirate; but the most the privateer was able to do, was to still preserve the relative positions of the two vessels.
The sun sunk beneath the waters, leaving a cloudless sky shedding such a light from its starry orbs, that if the pirate had hoped to escape under cover of the night, he speedily saw the impossibility of such an attempt eluding the watch from the privateer.
The captain of the pirate still kept his position upon the companion-way, with his head bent upon his breast, either buried in thought, or yielding to the weakness of his physical powers, occasioned by the loss of blood from his wound.
Florette, who was continually passing up and down through the cabin-door, carefully noted the state of things upon the quarter-deck, and perceiving every thing to be as favorable as could be expected, soon had Julia in readiness for her share in the undertaking.
"But first," said she, "let me put out the light in the binnacle."
The girl stood for a moment in deep thought, when her ready wit suggested a way to accomplish this feat, sufficiently simple to avoid suspicion. Seizing the broad palmetto hat of the pirate, and bidding Julia to be in readiness to profit by the moment of darkness which would ensue, she returned to the deck, and approaching the pirate, exclaimed,
"William, I have brought you your hat."
At the moment of presenting it to him, as it passed the binnacle-light, she gave it a swift motion, which at once extinguished the flame.
"Curses on the girl!" muttered the man at the helm.
"O, I was careless, Diego; I will bring the lantern in a moment;" and laying down the hat on the companion-way beside the pirate, who paid no attention to the movements around him, she glided back to the cabin.
"Here, lady," said she, "be quick—hand this lantern to the man at the helm, and then drop silently behind him while he is lighting it. I will immediately follow and take your place beside him. You understand me?"
"Well, as soon as I begin to speak with him, let yourself down into the boat by the painter, which I will soon cut apart, and then you will at least be out of the hands of your enemies."
Julia took the hand of Florette in her own, and warmly thanked her, but the girl impatiently checked her.
"Take this pistol with you also."
"But why?" inquired Julia, with a woman's instinctive dread of such weapons.
"O, I don't mean you should shoot any body, but if the boat drifts a little out of the brig's course, you might not be able to make yourself heard on her deck."
"The night is so still that a pistol-shot would be heard at a good distance."
"O, yes, I see it all now; I was so anxious to escape from this terrible ship that I thought of nothing else; and there is poor John."
"You must not think of him—it will be no worse for him if you go, no better if you remain. Here, take the lantern—say nothing as you hand it to the man at the tiller, but do as I told you."
Pressing the hand of Florette, Julia mounted to the deck with a painfully beating heart, but with a firm step. She handed the lantern to the steersman, who received it surlily, growling some rough oath, half to himself, at her delay, and leaning upon the tiller, proceeded to relight the binnacle-lamp. Julia fell back cautiously, and in another moment the light form of Florette filled her place.
"I was very careless, Diego," said she.
"Yes," replied he, gruffly.
"Well, I will be more careful next time."
Julia, during the short time of this conversation, had disappeared over the stern, and as the vessel was sailing before a steady wind, found little difficulty in sliding down the painter into the yawl. She could hardly suppress an exclamation when a moment afterward she found the ship rapidly gliding away from her, and leaving her alone upon the waters in so frail a support. Her situation was, indeed, one that might well appall any of her sex. To a sailor it would already have been one of entire safety, but to her it seemed as if every succeding wave would sink the little boat as it gracefully rose and fell upon their swell; but seating herself by the tiller, she managed to guide its motions, and with a calm reliance upon that God whose supporting arm she knew to be as much around her, when alone in the wide waste of waters, as when beside her own hearth-stone, in quiet and happy England, she patiently awaited the issue of her bold adventure.
She had but a short time to wait when she perceived the dark outlines of the Raker bearing directly down upon her. As it approached it seemed as if it would run directly over her boat, and excited by the fear of the moment, and the anxiety to be heard, she gave a louder shriek than she supposed herself capable of uttering, and at the same time fired off her pistol.
Both were heard on board the Raker.
"Man overboard!" shouted the look-out.
"Woman overboard, you lubber," said a brother tar; "didn't you hear that screech?"
"Hard a port!"
"Hard a port 'tis."
"Right under the lee bow."
"Well, pitch over a rope whoever it is. What does this mean?" said Lieutenant Morris, as he approached the bows.
"Can't say, sir—some deviltry of the pirates, I reckon, to make us lose way."
"By heavens! it is a woman," cried the lieutenant, "let me throw that rope, we shall be on the boat in a minute. Hard a port!"
The rope, skillfully thrown by the young lieutenant, struck directly at the feet of Julia. With much presence of mind she gave it several turns around one of the oar-locks, and her boat was immediately hauled up to the side of the brig, without compelling the latter to slacken sail.
In another moment she was lifted to the deck of the Raker.
"Julia! thank Heaven!" exclaimed her father.
With a cry of joy she fainted in his arms, and was borne below, where she speedily recovered, and related the manner of her escape from the pirate.
All admired the courage of the attempt, and Lieutenant Morris, as he gazed upon the lovely countenance, which returning sensation was restoring to all its wonted bloom and beauty, one day of intense sorrow having left but slight traces upon it, he felt emotions to which he had hitherto been an entire stranger, and sought the deck with a flushed brow and animated eye, wondering at the vision of beauty which had risen, like Cytherea, from the sea.
[To be continued.
THE PRAYER OF THE DYING GIRL.
BY SAMUEL D. PATTERSON.
Oh! take me back again, mother, to that home I love so well, Whose memory rules my fluttering heart with a mysterious spell: I think of it when lying on my weary couch of pain, And I feel that I am dying, mother—Oh! take me home again!
They tell me that this sunny clime strength to the wasted brings, And the zephyr's balmy breezes come with healing on their wings; But to me the sun's rich glow is naught—the perfumed air is vain— For I know that I am dying—Oh! then, take me home again!
I long to find myself once more beside the little stream That courses through our valley green, of which I often dream: I fancy that a cooling draught from that sweet fount I drain— It stills the fever of my blood—Oh! take me home again!
And then I lie and ponder, as I feel my life decline, On the happy days that there I spent when health and strength were mine; When I climbed the mountain-side, and roved the valley and the plain, And my bosom never knew a pang of sorrow or of pain.
And when the sun was sinking in the far and glowing west, I came and sat me by thy side, or nestled in thy breast, And heard thy gentle words of love, and listened to the strain Of thy sweet favorite evening hymn—Oh! take me home again!
How bright and joyous was my life! Night brought refreshing rest, And morning's dawn awakened naught but rapture in my breast: Now, sad and languid, weak and faint, I seek, but seek in vain, To lay me down in soft repose—Oh! take me home again!