THE KING'S OWN.* Otru naval writers are determined not to be outdone by the Yankee novelist who first launched a-romance on the wide waters. We had no idea There was such a mass of literary talent in the Navy; and when the Naval Officer appeared, Captain MARRYATT'S first work, we remember being not a little surprised at a book of so much vigour of description and power of imagination proceeding from on board a ship. The King's Own, however, far surpasses its predecessor ; and so many clever books have lately come from the pens of seamen, that we must give them credit for far more education and more liberal pursuits than we had been led to ascribe to them.
The King's Own, as a story, is worthless : indeed the author himself seems to despise it in that light—he scarcely condescends to keep up the farce of making his fiction seem probable, and openly laughs at the idea of his reader for one moment lending belief to his tale. He has, it is true, a hero ; and he brings him ashore every now and then, to make love: he tells us the history of his birth, of his adventures, and ultimately of his marriage ; all which is utterly commonplace and insignificant, as is usual in these works. The light in which the King's Own must be viewed, is that of a series of naval scenes and naval anecdotes ' - and in this point of view, it is a work not perhaps to be equalled in the whole round of romance, for the tremendous power of its de- scription, for the awfulness of its subjects, for the brilliancy and variety of the colours with which they are painted. Besides which, we find in Captain MARRYATT a fund of observation on naval character, and a great store of humour ; his dialogues are supported with wit, and his persons are exceedingly well conceived and kept up. We should give the author credit for considerable fertility of invention; he nevertheless complains of being called upon to fill sheets when he has only materials for pages, and he is so far con- firmed by the nature of his book. We could comprise in one volume a series of splendid passages, which would surpass any effort of the imagination which we have lately met with : but three volumes are the bookseller's measure, and the number of the Graces and the Furies must be kept in romances, or the unhappy author can expect no favour with the publishers. Thus, the author writes one volume for the world, and two for the bookseller. Such is the state of literature, and so is the public laid under contribution to maintain it.
We shall contrive to abridge some of the scenes which have so much delighted us, in such a manner as to adapt them to the size of our columns.
It is a pity that one so capable of excelling -in detached pas- sages, should not have given himself the trouble to invent a pro- bable and interesting story. It is in this alone that he falls behind Mr. COOPER; who, though certainly not a model in the composition of his groundwork, always contrives to raise a deep interest in his subject, though he may grievously fail in satis- fying it. What does a sailor know of intrigues in court or city—of the chicaneries of the law—of the temper and dispo- sitions of fashionable coquettes—of the wasteful and riotous living of rakes and gamblers, and all the land rubbish with which the sailor-authors think fit to fill their volumes? They ought never to set foot on land, or, at most, travel out of a port-town : the wide ocean is their own domain. Love, the pivot on which other novels turn, ought to be exchanged for war : instead of mixing up mawkish love stories with the seaman's_ exploits, let them take for a groundwork some expedition, project, or adventure of interest, the success or failure of which should be the point to which the reader should look with anxiety or expectation ; and the incidents which lead to it would afford an ample field for the unfolding of the whole of a sailor's experience. The King's Own commences with some scenes that occurred a short time previous to the mutiny at the Nore. A man called Peters has been ill-treated by the captain of his ship ; and under the influence of indignant feelings, and a sense of unmerited de- gradation, he heads the mutineers, composing the whole crew of the vessel to which he belongs. The mutiny flourishes but for a very brief period, and the time of punishment comes round : Peters is hanged, not before he becomes sensible of the enormity of his crime ; and, in some sort as a compensation for his offence, he devotes his son to the service of his king and country. An old sailor, Adams, hearing the vow, takes the boy, who has been bred on board a ship, and marks him on the shoulder in the indelible tattoo of the sailor, with the broad arrow, the sign and mark of the " King's Own." This boy is the hero of the story ; and under the name first of the King's Own, and afterwards of Seymour, he becomes a fine young officer. But as, in our aristo- cratical country, no one can feel an interest in a hero who is not a gentleman by birth and expectations, and at least entitled to a large estate, it is arranged that Peters should prove the runaway son of Admiral de Courcy, a gentleman of high birth, great wealth, and very bad temper. Of course, this circumstance becomes known in time; and Seymour, the King's Own, is recognized as the rightful heir to the name and riches of De Courcy. In order to depart, however, somewhat from the hacknied happi- ness which generallycloses the thirdvolume of a novel, the authorhas had the barbwous cruelty to poison his hero, and put his heroine to death; for the which atrocious murder, may he be duly anathema-
• By the author of the " Naval Officer." 3 vole. London, 1830.
tized by all the weeping misses who-shall draw white pocket-hand- kerchiefs over his page 1 This catastrophe will doubtless grieve the soft-hearted lovers of romance ; but on us, hardened critics, the only effect it produced closely resembled that of the dying scene in Tom Thumb, where the killed and wounded lie in double rows like cut cauliflowers in a kitchen-garden.
CHASE IN A STORM, AND SHIPWRECK.
After supper the watch was called, and the directions given by the cap- tain to the first-lieutenant were punctually obeyed. The drum then beat to quarters earlier than usual ; the guns were doubly secured ; the dead lights shipped abaft; the number of inches of water in the well made known by the carpenter ; the sobriety of the men ascertained by the offi- cers stationed at their respective guns ; and every thing that was ordered to be executed, or to be held in readiness, in the several departments, re- ported-to the captain.
The gale increased rapidly during the first watch. Large drops of rain mingled with the spray, distant thunder rolled to windward, and occasional gleams of lightning pierced through the intense darkness of the night. The officers and men of the watches below, with sealed eyes and thought- less hearts, were in their hammocks, trusting to those on deck for secu- rity. But the night was terrific, and the captain, first-lieutenant, and master, from the responsibility of their situations, continued on deck, as did many of the officers termed idlers, such as the surgeon and purser, who, although their presence was not required, felt no inclination to sleep.
At day-light, the gale having rather increased than shown any symptoms of abating, the captain was giving directions for the foresail to be taken off, when the seaman who was stationed to look out on the lee-gangway, cried out, " A sail on the lee-beam 1" " She's a large ship, Sir—main and mizen-masts both gone," reported Bully, who had mounted up three or four ratlines of the main rigging. The midshipman brought up the glass ; and the captain, first passing his arm round the fore brace to secure himself from falling to leeward with the lurching of the ship, as soon as he could bring the strange vessel into the field of the glass (no easy task under such circumstances, ex- cept to the practised eye of a sailor), exclaimed, " A line-of-battle ship, by Heavens ! and if I am any judge of a hull, or the paintingof a ship, she is no Englishman." Other glasses were now produced, and the opinion of the captain was corroborated by that of the officers on deck. . " Keep fast the foresail, Mr. Bully. We'll edge down to her. Quarter- master, see the signal-haulyards are all clear." The captain went down to his cabin, while the frigate was kept away as he directed, the master standing at the conn. He soon came up again ; " Hoist No. 3 at the fore, and No. 8 at the main. We'll see if she can an- swer the private signal." It was done, and the frigate rolling heavily in the trough of the sea, and impelled by the furious elements, rapidly closed with the stranger. In less than an hour they were within half a mile of her; but the pri- vate signal remained unanswered. " Now then bring her to the wind, Mr. Pearce," said Captain M—, who had his glass upon the vessel. The frigate was lulled handsomely to the wind, not however without shipping a heavy sea. The gale which, during the time that she was kept away before the wind, had the appearance, which it always has, of hav- ing decreased in force, now that she presented her broadside to it, roared again in all its fury. " Call the gunner—clear away the long gun forward—try with the ram- mer whether the shot has started from the cartridge, and then fire across the bows of that vessel."
The men cast loose the gun, and the gunner taking out the bed and coin, to obtain the greatest elevation to counteract the heel of the frigate, watched the lurch, and pitched the shot close to the forefoot of the disabled vessel, who immediately showed French colours over her weather- quarter. " French colours, Sir 1" cried two or three at a breath.
" Beat to quarters, Mr. Bully," said Captain M--- It was easy to perceive, without the assistance of a glass, that the men on board the French line-of-battle ship were attempting, in no very scien- tific manner, to get a jury-mast up abaft, that by putting after-sail on her they might keep their vessel to the wind. The foresail they dare not take off, as, without any sail to keep her steady, the remaining mast would in all probability have rolled over the side ; but without after-sail, the ship would not keep to the wind, and the consequence was, that she was two points off the wind, forging fast through the water, notwithstanding that the helm was hard a-lee.
The frigate had now closed within three cables' lengths of the line-of- battle ship, and considering the extreme difficulty of hitting any mark under such disadvantages, a well-directed fire was thrown in by her dis- ciplined seamen. The enemy attempted to return the fire from the weather main-deck guns, but it was a service of such difficulty and danger, that he more than once abandoned it. Two or three guns disappearing from the ports, proved that they had either rolled to leeward, or had been precipitated down the hatchways. This was indeed the case, and the French sailors were so much alarmed from the serious disasters that had already ensued, that they either quitted their quarters, or, afraid to stand behind the guns when they were fired, no aim was taken, and the shots were thrown away. Had the two ships been equally manned, the disadvantage, under all the misfortunes of the Frenchman, would have been on the side of the frigate ; but the gale itself was more than sufficient employment for the undisciplined crew of the line-of-battle ship. The fire from the frigate was kept up with vigour, although the vessel lurched so heavily as often to throw the men who were stationefi at the guns into the lee-scuppers, rolling one over the other in the water with which the decks were floated; but this was only a subject of merriment, and they resumed their task with the careless spirit of British seamen. The fire, difficult as it was to take any precise aim, had the effect intended—that of preventing the French vessel from rigging any thing like a jury-mast. Occasionally the line-of-battle ship kept more away, to avoid the grape, by increasing her distance ; but the frigate's course was regulated by that of her opponent, and she continued her galling pursuit.
It was no time for man to war against man. The powers of heaven were loose, and in all their fury. The wind howled, the sea raged, the thunder stunned, and the lightning blinded. The Eternal was present, in all his majesty; yet pigmy mortals were contending. But Captain M-- was unmoved, unawed, unchecked ; and the men, stimulated by his ex- ample, and carelessof every thing, heeded not the warning of the elements. "Sit on your powder-box and keep it dry, you young monkey," said the quarter-master who was captain of the gun, to the lad who had the cartridge ready for reloading it. The fire upon the French vessel was warmly kept up, when the master again came on deck, and stated to the captain, that they could not be more than Tour leagues-from a dead lee- mlsoreowlaieln. by keeping away -after the Freneh vessel,lhey must. be nearing fast.
' ":She-cannot stand this long, Sir. toelc to windward—the gale in- creases—there is a fresh hand at the bellows.' " The wind now redoubled its fury ; and the rain, that took a horizontal, instead of a perpendicular direction, from the force of the wind, fed the gale instead of lulling it. The thunder_ rolled—and the frigate was so .drenched with water, that the guns were primed and reprimed, without the fire communicating to the powder, which in a few seconds was satu- rated with the rain and spray. This was but of little consequence, as the squall and torrents of rain had now hid the enemy from their sight. " Look out for her, my men, as soon as the squall passes over," cried Captain M—.
A flash of lightning, that blinded them for a time, was followed by a peal of thunder, so close, that the timbers of the ship trembled with the vibration of the air. A second hostile meeting of electricity took place, and the fluid darted down the side of the frigate's mainmast, passing through the quarter-deck in the direction of the powder-magazine. Cap- tain M—, the first-lieutenant, master, and fifty or sixty of the men, were struck down by the violence of the shock Many were killed, more wounded, and the rest, blinded and stunned, staggered, and fell to leeward with the lurching of the vessel. Gradually, those who were only stun- ned recovered their legs, and amonest the first was the captain of the frigate. As soon as he could recalphis scattered senses, with his usual presence of mind he desired the " fire.roll " to be beat by the drummer, and sent down to ascertain the extent of the mischief. A strong sulphu- mous smell pervaded the ship, and flew up the hatchways; and such was the confusion, that some minutes elapsed before any report could be made. It appeared, that the electric fluid had passed close to the spirit- room and after-magazine, and escaped through the bottom of the vessel. Before the report had been made, the captain had given directions for taking the wounded down to the surgeon, and the bodies of the dead under the half-deck. The electric matter had divided at the foot of the main- mast, to which it had done no injury—one part, as before mentioned, hav- ing gone below, while the other, striking the iron bolt that connected the lower part of the main-bitts, had thence passed to the two fore-mast guar- ter-deck carronades, firing them both off at the same moment that it killed and wounded the men who were stationed at them. The effects of the lightning were various. The men who were close to the foot of the main- mast, holding on by the ropes belayed to the main-bitts, were burnt to a cinder, and their blackened corpses lay smoking in the remnants of their clothes, emitting an overpowerful ammoniacal stench. Some were only wounded in the arm or leg; but the scathed member was shrivelled up, and they were borne down the hatchway, howling with intolerable pain. The most awful effects were at the guns. The captains of the two car- ronades, and several men that were near them, were dead ; but had not the equipoise of the bodies been lost by the violent motion of the ship, their dreadful fate would not have been immediately perceived. Not an injury appeared— every muscle was fixed to the same position as when the fluid entered—the same expression of countenance, the same energy of character, the eye-like life, as it watched the sight on the gun, the body bent forward, the arm extended, the fingers still holding the lanyard at- tached to the lock. Nothing but palpable evidence could convince one that they were dead.
The boy attending with his powder-box, upon which he had sat by the directions of ti e captain of the gun, was desired by Captain M— to jump up and assist the men in carrying down the wounded. He sat still on his box, supported between the capstan and the stanchions of the com- panion hatchway, his eyes apparently fixed upon the captain, but not moving in obedience to the order, although repeated in an angry tone— He was dead t
During the confusion and panic attending this catastrophe, the guns had been deserted. As soon as the wounded men had been taken below, the captain desired the boatswain to pipe to quarters, for the drummer, when called to beat the " fire-roll," had, with others, been summoned to his last account. The guns were again manned, and the firing recom- menced; but a want of energy, and the melancholy silence which pre- vailed, evidently showed that the men, although they obeyed, did not obey cheerfully.
The first-lieutenant and master were in close consultation to windward. The captain stood at the lee-gangway, occasionally desiring the quarter- master at the conn to alter the course, regulating his own by that of his disabled enemy.
"I'll speak to him, then," exclaimed Pearce, as the conference broke up, and he went over to leeward to the captain.
Captain M—, I have had the honour to serve under your command some time, and I trust you will allow that I have never shown any want of zeal in the discharge of mv duty ?" " No, Mr. Pearce," replied thecaptain, with a grave smile ; " without compliment, you never have." Then, Sir, you will not be affronted at, or ascribe to unworthy mo- tives a remark which I wish to make."
" Most certainly. not ; as I am persuaded that you will never make any observation inconsistent with your duty, or infringing upon the rules of the service."
" Then, Sir, with all due submission to you, I do think, and it is the opinion of the other officers as well, that our present employment, under existing circumstances, is tempting, if not insulting, the Almighty. Look at the sky, look at the raging sea, hear the wind, and call to mind the effects of the lightning not one half-hour since. When the Almighty ap- pears in all his wrath, in all his tremendous majesty, is it a time for us poor mortals to be at strife ? What is our feeble artillery, what is the roar of our cannon, compared to the withering and consuming artillery of Heaven ! Has he not told us so,—and do not the ship's company, by their dispirited conduct since the vessel was struck, acknowledge it ? The officers all feel it, Sir. Is it not presumptuous,—with all due sub- mission, Sir, is it not wicked ? "
" I respect your feelings as a Christian, and as a man," replied Captain M----; but I must differ with you. That the Almighty power appears, I grant ; and I feel, as you do, that God is great, and man weak and im- potent. But that this storm has been raised—that this thunder rolls— that this lightning has blasted us, as a warning, I deny. The causes emanate from the Almighty ; but he leaves the effects to the arrangements of Nature, which is governed by immutable laws. Had there been no ether vessel in sight, this lightning would still have struck us ; and this storm will not cease, even if we were to neglect what I consider a duty .to our country."
The master touched his hat, and made no answer. It was now about one o'clock, and the horizon to leeward, clearing up a little, showed the land upon the lee-beam.
" Land ho I" cried one of the men. st Indeed!" observed the captain to the master—" we are nearer than Yea thought/9 " Something, Sir, perhaps; butreeollect how many hours you have
kept away after this vessel.'
"'Very true," rejoined the captain ; -se and the in-draught into the bar. gain. I am not surprised at it
Shall we haul our wind, Sir ? we are on a dead lee-shore."
" No, Mr. Pearce, not until the fate of that vessel is decided." " Land on the weather-bow I " reported the boatswain from the fore- castle.
`'Indeed !" saidthe captain,—" then the affair will soon be decided." The vessels still continued their course in a slanting direction to- wards the land, pursuer and pursued running on to destruction ; but although various Indirect hints were given by the first-lieutenant and others, Captain M— turned a deaf ear. He surveyed the dangers which presented themselves, and frowned upon them, as if in defiance. A few minutes more had elapsed, when the master again addressed him: "I am afraid, Sir, if we continue to stand on, that we shall lose the frigate," said he, respectfully touching his hat. " Be it so," replied Captain M—; " the enemy will lose a line-of- battle-ship ; our country will be the gainer, when the account is balanced." " I must be permitted to doubt that, Sir ; the value of the enemy's ship is certainly greater ; but there are other considerations." " What are they ?" " The value of the respective officers and ships' companies, which must inevitably share the fate of the two vessels. The captain of that ship is not worth his salt. It would be politic to let him live and continue to command. His ship will always be ours, when we want it ; and in the event of a general action, he would make a gap in the enemy's line, which might prove of the greatest importance. Now, Sir, without draw- ing the parallel any further,—without taking into consideration the value of the respective officers and men,—I must take the liberty of observing, that, on your account alone, England will be no gainer by the loss of both vessels and crews."
" Thank you for the compliment, which, as it is only feather-weight, 1 will allow to be thrown into the scale. But 1 do not agree with you. I consider war but as a game of chess, and will never hesitate to sacrifice a knight for a castle. Provide that castle is lost, Mr. Pearce," continued the captain, pointing to the French vessel, " this little frigate, if necessary, shall be latzght-errant enough to bear her company." " Very good, Sir," replied Pearce, again, touching his hat ; " as master of this ship, I considered it my duty to state my opinion." " You have done your duty, Mr. Pearce, and I thank you for it ; but I have also my duties to perform. One of them (according to my ideas of the service) is, not to allow the lives of one ship's company, however brave and well disciplined (and such I must allow to be the one I have the honour to command), to interfere with the general interests of the country we contend for. When a man enters his Majesty's service, his life is no longer to be considered his own; it belongs to his King and country, and is at their disposal. If we are lost, there will be no great difficulty in collecting another ship's company in old England, as brave and as good as this. Officers as experienced are anxiously waiting for em- ployment; and (notwithstanding your compliment, Mr. Pearce) the Admiralty will have no trouble in selecting and appointing as good, if not a better captain." The contending ships were now about two cables' lengths from each other, with a high rocky coast, lashed with a tremendous surf, aboutthree quarters of a mire to leeward. The promontory extended about two points on the weather-bow of the frigate, and a low sandy tongue of land spread itself far out on her weather-quarter, so that both vessels were completely embayed. The line-of-battle ship again made an attempt to get up some after-sail ; but the well-directed fire of the frigate whenever she rose on the tops of the mountainous waves, which at intervals hid the hulls of both vessels from each other, drove the Frenchmen from their task of safety, and it was now evident that all command of her was lost. She rolled gunnel under, and her remaining mast went by the board. " Nothing can save her now, Sir," replied the master. "No," replied the captain. " We have done our work, and must now try to save ourselves."
Secure the guns—be smart, my lads, you work for your lives. We must put the mainsail on her, Mr. Pearce, and claw off if we can." The master shook his head. "Hands by the clue-garnets and buntlines —man the main-sheet—let-go those leech-lines, youngster—haul aboard." "It's a pity, too, by G—d, ' said the captain, looking over the ham- mock-rails at the French vessel, which was now running before the wind right on to the shore, dragging the wreck of her masts on each side of her —" Eight or nine hundred devils will be called to their last account in the course of a few minutes. I wish we could save them."
" She has struck, Sir, and is over on her broadside," said the quarter- master, who was standingD on the carronade slide. " Mind your conn, Sir; keep your eyes on the weather leech of the sail, and not upon that ship," answered the captain with asperity.
Lithe mean time the mainsail had been set by the first-lieutenant, and the crew, unoccupied, had their eyes directed for a little while upon the French vessel, which lay on her beam-ends, enveloped in spray ; but they also perceived what, during the occupation and anxiety of action, they had not had leisure to attend to, namely, the desperate situation of their own ship. The promontory was now broad on the weather-bow, and a reef of rocks, partly above water, extended from it to leeward of the frigate. Such was the anxiety of the ship's company for their own safety, that the eyes of the men were turned away from the stranded vessel, and fixed upon the rocks; and the dreadful fate of the enemy was quite unheeded, being absorbed in that impending over themselves. The frigate did all that a gallant vessel could do, rising from the trough of the sea, and shaking the water from her, as she was occasionally buried forecastle under, from the great pressure of the sail, cleaving the huge masses of the element with her sharp stem, and trembling fore and aft with the violence of her own exertions. But the mountainous waves took her with irresistible force upon her chesstree, retarding her velocity, and forcing her each moment nearer to the reef.
"Ware ship, Mr. Bully," said the captain, who had not spoken one word since he rebuked the quarter-master—we have but just room."
The master directed the men at the wheel to put helm up, in a firm but subdued tone, for he was at that moment thinking of his wife and chil- dren. The ship had just paid off and gathered fresh way, when she struck upon a sunken rock. A loud and piercing cry from the ship's company, who ran aft, was followed by an enormous sea striking the frigate on the counter, at once heeling her over and forcing her a-head, so that she slipped off from the rock again into deep water.
She's off again, Sir I" said the master.
"It's God's mercy, Mr. Pearce ! Bring her to the wind as soon as you can," replied the captain, with composure. But the carpenter now ran up the hatchway, and, with a pallid face and hurried tone, declared that the ship was Ailing fast, and could not be kept afloat more than a fewminutes.
" Going down!—going down I" was spread with dreadful rapidity throughout the ship, and all discipline and subordination appeared to be at an end.
Some of the men flew to the boats hoisted up on the quarters, and were casting loose the ropes which secured them, with bands that were tremu- lous with anxiety and fear. • " Silence, there, fore and aft !" roared the captain, in the full com- pass of his powerful voice. " Every man to his station. Come out of those boats directly." All obeyed, except one man, who still continued to cast loose the gripes. "Come out, Sir," repeated the captain. " Not I, by G—d!" repeated the sailor, coolly. The boarding-pikes, which had been lashed round the spanker-boom, had been detached, either from the shot of the enemy, or some other means, and were lying on the deck, close to the cabin skylight. The captain seizing one, and poising it brandished over his head, a third time ordered the sailor to leave the boat.
" Every man for himself, and God for us all !" was the cool answer of the refractory seaman.
The pike flew, and entered the man's bowels up to the hilt. The poor wretch staggered, made a snatch at the davit, missed it, and fell back- wards over the gunnel of the boat into the sea.
" My lads," said Captain M—, emphatically addressing the men, who beheld the scene with dismay, " as long as one plank, ay, one toothpick of this vessel swims, I command, and will be obeyed. Quarter-master, put the helm up. I have but few words to say to you, my men. The ves- sel is sinking, and we mustput her on the reef—boats are useless. If she hangs together, do you hang to her as your only chance. And now fare- well, my brave fellows, for we are not likely to meet again. Look out for a soft place for her, Mr. Pearce, if you can."
" I see but one spot where there is the least chance of her being thrown up, Sir., Starboard a little—steady !—so"—were the cool directions of the master, as the ship flew with increased velocity to her doom. The captain stood on the carronade slide, from which he had addressed the men. His mien was firm and erect—not a muscle of his countenance was observed to change or move, as the sailors watched it, as the barometer of their fate. Awed by the dreadful punishment of the mutineer, and restrained by their loiig habits of discipline, they awaited their doom in a state of intense anxiety, but in silence.
All this latter description, however, was but the event of about two minutes—which had barely expired, when the frigate dashed upon the reef
SEA POLITICS, OR HOW TO BAFFLE A TYRANNICAL CAPTAIN.
When Courtenay and his party went on board of the frigate, the first- lieutenant, master, and surgeon, indignant at language which had been used to them by the captain, refused to dine in the cabin, when they were invited by the steward, who reported to Captain Bradshaw that the officers would not accept his invitation. " Won't they, by G—d ! I'll see that. Send my clerk here." The clerk made his appearance, with an abject how. " Mr. Powell, sit down, and write as I dictate," said Captain Bradshaw, who, walking up and down the fore-cabin ; composed a memorandum in which, after a long preamble, the first-lieutenant, master, and surgeon, were directed to dine with him every day, until further orders. Captain Bradshaw having signed it, sent for the first-lieutenant, and delivered it himself into his hands.
" Ferguson !—Bradly !" cried the first-lieutenant, entering the gun- room, with the paper in his hand, " here's something for all three of us, positive order to dine with the skipper every day, until—he gets tired of our company."
" I'll be hanged if I do," replied the surgeon. " I'll put myself in the sick-list."
" And, if I am obliged to go, I'll not touch any thing," rejoined the master. " There's an old proverb, ' you may lead a horse to the pond, but you can't make him drink.'"
" Whatever we do," replied Roberts, the first-lieutenant, " we must act in concert ; but I have been long enough in the service to know that we must obey first, and remonstrate afterwards. That this is an unusual order, I grant, nor do I know by what regulations of the service it can be enforced ; but at the same time I consider that we run a great risk in refusing to obey it. Only observe, in the pre- amble, how artfully he inserts appearance of a conspiracy, tending to bring him into contempt;' and again, for the better discipline of his Ma- jesty's service, which must invariably suffer when there is an appearance of want of cordiality between those to whom the men must look for an example' Upon my soul he's devilish clever. I do believe he'd find out a reason for drawing out all our double teeth, if he was inclined, and prove it was all for the benefit of his Majesty's service. Well now, what's to be done ?"
" Why, what's your opinion, Roberts ?" " Oh, mine is to go ; and if you will act with me, he won't allow us to dine with him a second time."
"Well, then, I agree," replied the surgeon. "And so must I, then, I presume ; but, by heavens, it's downright tyranny and oppression."
` Never mind, listen to me. Let's all go, and all behave as ill as we can—be as unmannerly as bears—abuse every thing—be as familiar as possible, and laugh in his face. He cannot touch us for it, if we do not go too far—and he'll not trouble us to come a second time." Their plans were arranged - and at three o'clock they were ushered into the cabin, with one of the midshipmen of the ship, and Jerry, who, as a stranger, had been honoured with an invitation.
Captain Bradshaw, whose property was equal to his liberality, piqued himself upon keeping a good table ; his cook was an artiste, and his wines were of the very best quality. After all, there was no great hardship in dining with him—but, "upon compunction 1"—No.
The officers bowed. The captain, satisfied with their obedience, in- tended, although he had brought them there by force, to do the honours of his table with the greatest urbanity. " Roberts," said he, "do me the favour to take the foot of the table...—. Doctor, here's a chair for you.—Mr. Bradly, come round on this side. Now, then, steward, off covers, and let us see what you have for us. Why, youngster, does your captain starve you ?"
"No, Sir," replied Jerry, who knew what was going on ; "but he don't give me a dinner every day." " Humph !" muttered the captain, who thought Mr. Jerry very free upon so short an acquaintance. The soup was handed round ; the first spoonful that Roberts took in his mouth, he threw out on the snow-white deck, crying out, as soon as his mouth was empty, " 0 Lord !"
"Why, what's the matter ?" inquired the captain. "So cursed hot, I've burnt my tongue."
" Oh, that's all ! Steward, wipe up that mess," said the captain, who Val rather nice in his eating. "Do you know Jemmy Cavan, Sir, at Barbadoes ?" inquired the doctor.
" No, Sir, I know no Jemmies," replied Captain Bradshaw, surprised at his familiar address.
"He's a devilish good fellow, Sir, I can tell you. When he gets you on shore, he'll make you dine with him every day, whether or not. He'll take no denial."
" Now that's what I call a d—d good fellow: you don't often meet a chap like him," observed the master. Captain Bradshaw felt that he was indirectly called a chap, which did not please him.
" Mr.Bradly, will you take some mutton ? "
" If you please," said the master.
" Roberts, I'll trouble you to carve the saddle of mutton."
The first-lieutenant cut out a slice, and taking it on the fork, looked at it suspiciously, and then held his nose over it.
" Why, what's the matter ? "
" Rather high, Sir, I'm afraid."
" Oh, I smell it here," said Jerry, who entered into the joke.
" Indeed ! Steward, remove that dish ; fortunately it is not all our dinner. What will you take, Mr. Bradly
" Why, really, I seldom touch any thing but the joint. I hate your kickshaws, there's so much pawing about them. I'll wait, if you please; in the mean time, I'll drink a glass of wine with you, Captain Brad- shaw."
" The devil you will," was nearly out of the captain's mouth, at this reversal of the order of things ; but he swallowed it down, and answered, in a surly tone, " With great pleasure, Sir."
" Come, doctor, let you and I hob and nob," said the first-lieutenant. They did so, and clicked their glasses together with such force as to break them both, and spill the wine upon the fine damask table-cloth. Jerry could contain himself no longer, but burst out into a roar of laughter, to the astonishment of Captain Bradshaw, who never had seen a midship- man thus conduct himself at his table before; but Jerry could not restrain his inclination for joining with the party, although he had no excuse for his behaviour.
" Bring some wine-glasses, steward; and you'll excuse me, gentlemen, but I will thank you not to try the strength of them again," said Captain Bradshaw; with a very majestic air. " Now, Mr. Ferguson, I shall be happy to take a glass of wine with you. What will you have? There's Sherry and Moselle."
• " I prefer Champagne, if you please," answered the surgeon, who knew that Captain Bradshaw did not produce it, except when strangers were at the table.
Captain Bradshaw restrained his indignation, and ordered Champagne to be brought. " I'll join you," cried the first-lieutenant, shoving in his glass.
" Come, younker, let you and I have a glass cosey together," said Jerry to the midshipman, who, frightened at what was going on, moved his chair a little farther from Jerry, and then looked first at him and then at the captain.
" Oh, pray take a glass with the young gentleman," said Captain Brad- shaw, with mock politeness.
" Come, steward, none of your half allowance, if you please," continued the impertinent Jerry. "Now, then, my cock, here's towards you, and ' better luck still.' " Captain Bradshaw was astonished. "I say, youngster, did Captain M— ever flog you ? "
" No, Sir," replied Jerry, demurely, perceiving that he had gone too far ; " lie always treats his officers like gentlemen."
" Then, I presume, Sir, when they are on board of his ship, that they conduct themselves as gentlemen."
This hint made Jerry dumb for some time ; the officers, however, con- tinued as before. The surgeon dropped his plate, full of damascene tart, on the deck. The first-lieutenant spilt his snuff on the table-cloth, and laid his snuff-box on the table, which he knew to be the captain's aver- sion ; and the master requested a glass of grog, as the rotgut French wines had given him a pain in the bowels. Captain Bradshaw could hardly retain his seat upon the chair, upon which he fidgetted right and left. He perceived that his officers were behaving in a very unusual manner, and that it was with a view to his annoyance : yet it was im- possible for him to take notice of breaking glasses, and finding fault with the cookery, which they took care to do, sending their plates away before they had eaten a mouthful, with apparent disgust ; neither could he de mand a court-martial for awkwardness or want of good manners at his own table. He began to think that he had better have left out the "every day until further- orders," in the memorandum as rescinding it imme- diately would have been an acknowledgment of their having gained the victory ; and as to their going on in this way, to put up with it was impossible.
The dinner was over, and the dessert placed on the table. Captain Bradshaw passed the bottles round, helping himself to rnadeira. Roberts took claret, and as soon as lie had tasted it, " I beg your pardon, Captain Bradshaw," said he, " but this wine is corked."
" Indeed !—take it away, steward, and bring another bottle." Another was put on the table. " I hope you'll find that better, Mr. Roberts," said the Captain, who really thought that what he stated had been the case. "Yes," replied the first-lieutenant; " for the description of wine, it's well enough." " What do you mean, Sir ? Why, it's Chateau Margot, of the first growth." " Excuse me, Sir," replied the officer, with an incredulous smile ; "they must have imposed upon you." Captain Bradshaw, who was an excellent judge of wine, called for a glass, and, pouring out the claret, tasted it. " I must differ from yuu, Sir; and moreover, I have no better." " Then I'll trouble you to pass the port, doctor, for I really cannot drink that stuff." " Do you drink port, Mr. Bradly ?" said the captain with a countenance as black as a thundercloud. " No, not to-day; I'm not well in my inside but I'll punish the port to -morrow."
" So will I," said the surgeon.
" And as I am not among the privileged," added Jerry, who had already forgotten the hint, "I'll take my whack to-day."
" Perhaps you may," observed the captain, drily. The officers now began to be very noisy ; arguing among themselves upon points of service, and taking no notice whatever of the captain. The master, in explanation, drew a chart, with wine, upon the polished table, while the first-lieutenant defended his opinion with pieces of biscuit, laid at differentpositions—during which two more glasses were demolished.
The captain rang, and ordered coffee in an angry tone. When the officers had taken it, he bowed stilly, and wished them good evening.
There was one dish which was an object of abhorrence to Captain Bradshaw. The first lieutenant, aware of it, as they rose to depart, said, ' " Captain Bradshaw, if it's not too great a liberty, we should like to have some tripe to-morrow. We are all three very partial to it."
• " So am I," rejoined Jerry.
Captain Bradshaw could hold out no longer. " Leave the cabin imme- diately, gentlemen. By Iltavens, you shall never put your.legs undet table again." " Ate we not to dine here to-morrow, Sir ?" replied the first-lieu- tenant, with affected•surp;ise ; " the order says, every day"' " 'Fill further orders," roared the ea- ; " and now you for I'll be d----d if ever you dine with me again." The officers took their departure, restraining their mirth until they gained the gun-room ; and Jerry was about to follow, when Captain Brad- thaw caught him by the arm. " Stop, my young gentleman, you've not had your whack' yet." " I've had quite sufficient, Sir, I thank you," replied Jerry ; an excel- lent dinner—many thanks to your hospitality." " Yes, but I must now give-you your dessert." " I have had my dessert and coffee, too, .Sir," said Jerry, trying to escape.
" But you have not had your ekcis.i'c cafe, and I cannot permit you to leave the cabin without it. Steward, desire a boatswain's mate; brit g his cat, and a quarter-master to come hire with seizings."
Jerry was now in a stew—the inflexible countenance of Captain Brad- shaw showed that he was in earnest. However, he held his tongue until the operators appeared, hoping that the captain would think better of it.
" Seize this young gentleman up to the breech of the gun, quarter- master !"
" Will you oblige me, Sir, by letting me know my offence ?" " No, Sir."
" I do not belong to your ship," continued Jerry. " If I have done wrong, Captain M— is well known to be a strict officer, and will pay every attention to your complaint."
" I will save him the trouble, Sir."
Jerry was now seized up, and every arrangement made preparatory to punishment. " Well, Sir," resumed Jerry, " it most be as you please; but I know what Captain M— will say."
"What, Sir?" "That you were angry with your officers, whom you could not punish, and revenged yourself upon a poor boy." " Would he ?—Boatswain's mate, where's your cat ?"
" Here, Sir ;—how many tails am I to use ?"
"Oh, give him the whole nine."
" Why, your honour," replied the man, in a compassionate tone, tInr..'s hardly room for them there."
Jerry, who, when his indignation was roused, cared little what he said, and defied consequences, now addressed the captain.
" Captain Bradshaw, before you commence, will you allow me to tell you what I will call you after the first lash ?"
" What, Sir ?"
" What !" cried Jerry, with scorn—" why, if you cut me to pieces, and turn.me out of the service afterwards, I will call you a paltry coward ; and your own conscience, when you are able to reflect, will tell you the same."
Captain Bradshaw started back with astonishment at such unheard-of language from a midshipman ; but he was pleased with the undaunted spirit of the boy—perhaps he felt the truth of the observation. At all events it saved Jerry. After a short pause, the captain said-
" Cast him loose ; but observe, Sir, never let me see your face again while you are in the ship I " " No, nor any other part of me, if I can help it," replied Jerry, button- ing up his clothes, and making a precipitate escape by the cabin-door.