« السابقةمتابعة »
ning at the rate of twelve knots an were hardly accomplished, when the hour.
wind shifted, and took us a-back with As I expected, Captain Mahone such violence as nearly to capsize the proved to be, in point of acquirements, vessel. The ship was put round as pot at all above the common run of soon as possible, and brought-to till shipmasters. He was haughty and the gale should fall : while all hands overbearing, and domineered over the remained on deck in case of any emercrew with a high hand; in return for gency. About ten, in the interval of a which, he was evidently feared and squall, we heard a gun fired as a signal detested by them all. He had been of distress. The night was as black as many years in the West Indies ; part pitch; but the Aash showed us that the of which he had ranged as commander stranger was not far to leeward; so, of a privateer, and had, between the to avoid drifting on the wreck during fervid suns of such high latitudes and the darkness, the main-top-sail was the copious use of grog, become of a braced round, and filled, and the ship rich mahogany colour, or something hauled to windward. In this manner between vermillion and the tint of a we kept alternately beating or heavingsheet of new copper.
He was a mid- to as the gale rose or fell till the morndle-sized man; square built, with a po- ing broke, when, through the haze, we werful and muscular frame. His aspect, perceived a small vessel with her masts naturally harsh and forbidding, was carried away. As the wind had taken rendered more so by the sinister expres- off, the captain had gone to bed; so it sion of his left eye, which had been was the mate's watch on deck. The nearly forced out by some accident, steersman, an old grey-headed seaman, and the lineaments of his countenance named James Gemmel, proposed to bear expressed plainly that he was passionate down and save the people, saying he
and furious in the extreme. In conse- had been twice wrecked himself, and y quence of this, I kept rather distant and knew what it was to be in such a situa
aloof; and, except at meals, we seldom tion. As the captain was below, the exchanged more than ordinary civilities. mate was irresolute what to do; being
By our reckoning, our ship had now aware that the success of the specula got into the latitude of the Bermudas, tion depended on their getting to Suriwhen one evening, at sunset, the wind, nam before it was given up: however, which had hitherto been favourable, he was at length persuaded--the helm fell at once into a dead calm. The day was put up, and the ship bore away. had been clear and bright; but now, As we neared the wreck, and were huge masses of dark and conical-shaped standing by the mizen shrouds with our clouds began to tower over each other glasses, the captain came up from the in the western horizon, which, being cabin. He looked up with astonishtinged with the rays of the sun, dis- ment to the sails, and the direction of played that lurid and deep brassy tint the vessel's head, and, in a voice of supso well known to mariners as the token pressed passion, said, as he turned to of an approaching storm. All the sai- the matē, “What is the meaning of lors were of opinion, that we should this, Mr. Wyllie? Who has dared to have a coarse night; and every precau- alter the ship's course without my leave tion that good seamanship could suggest –when you knew very well that we was taken to make the vessel snug be- shall hardly be in time for the market, fore the gale came on. The oldest boys use what expedition we may?” The were sent up to hand and send down young man was confused by this unex. the royal and top-gallant sails, and strike pected challenge, and stammered out the masts, while the top-sails and stays something about Gemmel having perwere close-reefed. These preparations suaded him. “ It was me, Sir!" res
pectfully interfered the old sailor, wish- who dare open his mouth to me in this ing to avert the storm froin the mate; ship.” “I promise you,” returned I, I thought you wouldn't have the heart " that though you rule and tyrannise to leave the wreck and these people to here at present, your power shall have perish, without lending a hand to save a termination, and you shall be called them! We should be neither Chris- to account for your conduct in this day's tians nor true seamen to desert her, and work—rest assured that this blood shall
“ Damn you and the wreck, you be required at your hands, though you old canting rascal! do you pretend to have hitherto escaped punishment for stand there and preach to me?" thun- what has stained them already." This dered the captain, his fury breaking allusion to the murder of "little Bill out, I'll teach you to disobey my or= | Burnet seemed to stagger him considerders !—I'll give you something to think ably-he stopped short before me, and, of !” and seizing a capstan-bar which while his face grew black with suppresslay near him, he hurled it at the steers, ed wrath and fury, whispered, " l warn man with all his might. The blow was you again, young man ! to busy youreffectual-one end of it struck him self with your own matters-meddle across the head with such force as to not with what does not concern you; sweep him in an instant from his station and belay your slack jaw, or, by-! at the wheel, and to dash him with vio- Rink Mahone will find a way to make lence against the lee-bulwarks, where it fast for you !" He then turned round, he lay bleeding and motionless." Take and walked forward to the forecastle.
“ that, and be damned !" exclaimed the During this affray no attention had wretch, as he took the helm, and sang been paid to the wreck, though the out to the men,—“ Stand by sheets, and crew had set up a yell of despair on braces-hard a-lee-let go !” In seeing us leave them. Signals and twinkling the yards were braced round, shouts were still repeated, and a voice, and the Dart, laid within six points of louder in agony than the rest, implored the wind, was dying through the water, our help for the love of the blessed Vir
Meanwhile Gemmel was lying with gin; and offered riches and absolution out any one daring to assist him ; for to the whole ship's company if they the crew were so confounded that they would but come back. The captain seemed quite undetermined how to act. was pacing fore and aft without appearI stepped to him, therefore, and the ing to mind them, when, as if struck with mate following my example, we lifted some sudden thought, he lifted his glass him up. As there was no appearance to his eye-seemed to hesitate-walked of respiration, I placed my hand to his on-and then, all at once changing his heart-but pulsation had entirely ceased mind, he ordered the vessel again before --the old man was dead. The bar had the wind. struck him directly on thetemporal bone, On speaking the wreck, she proved and had completely fractured that part to be a Spanish felucca from the island of his scull.
of Cuba, bound for Curaçoa, on the « He is a murdered man, Captain coast of the Curaccas. As they had Mahone !" said I, laying down the body, lost their boats in the storm, and could “ murdered without cause or provoca- not leave their vessel, our captain lowertion."-“ None of your remarks, Sir!" ed and manned our jolly-boat, and went he retorted; “ what the devil have you 1
off to them. to do with it? Do you mean to stir up After an absence of some hours he my men to mutiny? Or do
consistobeying my orders no provocationing of an elderly person in the garb of I'll answer it to those who have a right a catholic priest, a sick gentleman, a to ask; but till then, let me see the man young lady, apparently daughter of the
latter, and a female black slave, . With frequently joined, and urged him to the utmost difficulty, and writhing un- confess. To this advice he remained der some excruciating pain, the invalid silent for awhile ; but at length he adwas got on board, and carried down to dressed the lady:
" The Padre says the cabin, where he was laid on a bed true, Isabella! Time wears apace, and on the floor. To the tender of my I feel that I shall soon be beyond its professional services the invalid return- limits, and above its concerns ! But ed his thanks, and would have declined ere I go, I would say
that which it would them, expressing his conviction of being impart peace to my mind to disclose past human aid, but the young lady, I would seek to leave you at least one eagerly catching at even a remote hope human being to befriend and protect of success, implored him with tears to you in your utter helplessness. Alas! accept my offer. On examination I that Diego di Montaldo's daughtershould found his fears were but too well ground- ever be thus destitute! Go, my love! ed. - In his endeavours to assist the I would be alone a little while with the crew during the gale he had been stand- father.” An agony of tears and sobs ing near the mast, part of which, or the was the only return made by the poor rigging, having fallen on him, had dis- girl, while the priest with gentle violocated several of his ribs, and injured lence led her into the state-room. his spine beyond remedy. All that “ Now,” continued the dying man, could now be done was to afford a little “ listen to me while I have strength. temporary relief from pain, which I You have only known me as a merchant did; and, leaving him to the care of in Cuba; but such I have not always the young lady and the priest, I left been. Mine is an ancient and noble the cabin.
family in Catalonia; though I unhapOn deck I found all bustle and con- pily disgraced it, and have been estranfusion. The ship was still lying-to, ged from it long. I had the misfortune and the boats employed in bringing the
to have weak and indulgent parents, goods out of the felucca, both of which who idolized me as the heir of their were the property of the wounded gen- house, and did not possess resolution tleman.
The body of the old man, enough to thwart me in any of my Gemmel, had been removed somewhere wishes or desires, however unreasonaout of sight ; no trace of blood was visi- ble. My boyhood being thus spoiled, ble, and Captain Mahone seemed desi- it is no matter of wonder that my youth rous to banish all recollections both of should have proved wild and dissolute, our quarrel and its origin.
My companions were as dissolute as As the invalid was lying in the cabin, myself, and much of my time was spent and my state-room occupied by the lady in gambling and other extravagances, and her female attendant, I got a tem- One evening at play I quarrelled with porary birth in the steerage made up a young nobleman of high rank and for myself for the night, I had not long influence; we were both of us hot and thrown myself down on the cot, which passionate, so we drew on the spot and was only divided from the main-cabin fought, and I had the misfortune to run by a bulk-head, when I was awakened him through the heart, and leave him by the deep groans of the Spaniard. dead. Not daring to remain longer at The violence of his pain had again re- home, I fled in disguise to Barcelona, turned, and between the spasms I heard where I procured a passage in a vessel weeping and gentle voice of the for the Spanish Main,
On our voyage lady soothing his agony, and trying to we were taken by buccaneers; and the mpart hopes prospects to him, which roying and adventurous mode of life of her own hysterical sobs told plainly she these bold and daring men suiting both did not herself feel. The priest also my inclinations and finances, I agreed
to make one of their number. For On an errand of mercy came I to this many months we were successful in our land; and if the heathen receive it, enterprises : we ranged the whole of how much more a daughter of our most these seas, and made a number of prizes, holy church? I, therefore, in beball some of which were rich ships of our of our community, accept of your offer, own colonies. In course of time we and swear on this blessed emblem to amassed such a quantity of specie as to fulfil all your wishes to the best of my. make us unwilling to venture it in one bottom; so we agreed to hide it ashore, “ Enough, enough !" said Montaldo, and divide it on our return from our “ I am satisfied! Among that archipenext expedition. But our good fortune | lago of desert islands, known by the forsook us this time. During a calm name of the Roccas, situated on the the boats of the Guarda-costa came on coast of the province of Venezuela, in us, overpowered the ship, and made all New Grenada, there is one called the the crew, except myself and two others, Wolf-rock: it is the longest and most prisoners. We escaped with our boat, northern of the group, and lies the most and succeeded in gaining the island of to seaward. At the eastern point, which Cuba, where both of my comrades died runs a little way into the sea, there of their wounds. Subsequent events stands an old vanilla, blasted and wiinduced me to settle at St. Juan de Bue- | thered, and retaining but a single solinavista, where I married, and as a mer- tary branch. On the eve of the festival chant prospered and became a rich man. of St. Jago the moon will be at her full ! But my happiness lasted not! My wife in the west. At twenty minutes past caught the yellow fever and died, leaving midnight she will attain to her highest mae only this one child. I now loathed altitude in the heavens, and then the the scene of my departed happiness, shadow of the tree will be thrown due and felt all the longings of an exile to east. Watch till the branch and sten revisit
my native country. For this of the tree unite and form only one line purpose I converted all my effects into of shademark its extremity_forthere, money; and am thus far on my way to ten feet below the surface, the cask conthe hidden treasure with which I intend- taining the gold is buried. The gold, ed to return to Spain. But the green father, was sinfully got; but fasts and hills of Catalonia will never more glad penances have been done, masses withden mine eyes! My hopes and wishes out number have been said, and I trust were only for my poor girl. Holy fa- that the blessed Virgin has interceded ther! you know not a parent's feelings for the forgiveness of that great wicked-its anxietyand its fears! The thoughts ness! I have now confessed all, and of leaving my child to the mercy of confide in your promise ; and as you strangers; or, it may be, to their bar- perform your oath, so will the blessing barities, in this lawless country, is far or curse of a dying man abide with you. more dreadful than the anguish of my 1 feel faint, dying-Oh! let me clasp personal sufferings. With you rests my child once more to my heart bemy only hope.- Promise me your pro- fore I tection towards her, and the half of all Here the rest of the sentence became my wealth is yours.”
indistinct from the death-rattle in his “ Earthly treasures," replied the throat. I leaped off my cot, and sprang priest, “avail not with one whose de- up the hatchway, and had my foot on sires are fixed beyond the little handful the top of the companion-ladder, wher of dust which perisheth-my life is de- a piercing shriek from below making voted to the service of iny Creator, and me quicken my steps, I missed my hold, the conversion of ignorant men-men and fell on some person stationed on wbo have never heard of his salvation. I the outside of the cabin door. The per
son, without uttering a single word, rose with a couple of eight-pound shots, and and ascended thc steps ; but as he a bag of ballast at the feet to sink iteinerged into the faint light which still the hammock was then carefully and lingered in the horizon, I fancied that closely sewed up, and the whole operI could distinguish him to be the Cap- ation finished by leaving the sail-needle tain. On my entering, I found the thrust transversely through the nose. Spaniard dead, and his daughter lying At midnight the vessel was hove-to, and in a state of insensibility by his side; all the ship's company assembled at the while the female slave was howling and lee-gangway. The Spaniards and ne tearing her hair like one in a phrenzy. groes bore each a burning torch in his The priest was entirely absorbed in his hand; the blaze of which, as they held devotions; so, without disturbing him, them elevated above their heads, cast a I lifted the lady and bore her into the strange and fearful light through the state-room. The greater part of the deep darkness, and illumined the ocean night was passed in trying to restore far and wide with a supernatural effulher to sensation. Fit after fit followed gence. When all was ready, the priest; each other in such quick succession accompanied by Isabella, came up from that I began to apprehend the result: the cabin, and the Spaniards lifting up but at length the hysterical paroxism the body, carried it forward to the waist, subsided, and tears coming to her re- where one of the ship's gratings had lief, she became somewhat composed, been put projecting over the side, and when I left her in charge of her attend- on this the corpse was laid, with its feet ant,
to the water. Around this the torchThe next day was spent in taking out bearers formed a circle, and the priest, the remainder of the felucca's cargo. standing at the head, began the funeral There seemed now no anxiety on the service for the dead at sea. The wind Captain's part to proceed on his voy- had now subsided into a gentle breeze; age-he appeared to have forgot the ne- and nothing disturbed the profound sicessity, expressed on a former occasion, lence of the crew during mass, save the of being in port within a limited time. slight splashing of the waves against the He was often in a state of inebriety; for windward side of the ship, and the deepthe wine and spirits of the Spaniards drawn, convulsive sobs of the young lady were lavishly served out to the whole as she stood, enveloped in her mantillo, ship's company, with whom he also in the obscurity of the main rigging. mixed more ; and banished that haugh- Mass being concluded, the priest sotiness of bearing which had marked his lemnly chaunted the funeral anthem : conduct hitherto.
“ May the angels conduct thee into Pac In the evening the body of Don Die- radise; may the martyrs receive thee at Ego was brought upon deck, where his thy coming; and may st thou have eter
crew, under the superintendence of the nal rest with Lazarus, who was formerly
The corpse was, as is with holy water, and continued : “AS usual in such cases, wrapped up in the it hath pleased God to take the soul of blankets and sheets in which it had lain, our dear brother here departed unto and a white napkin was tied over the himself, we, therefore, commit his body face and head. In its right hand, which to the deep, in the sure and certain hope was crossed over the breast, was placed of a joyful resurrection on that day a gold doubloon. Its left held a small when the sea shall give up its dead. bag containing a book, a hammer, ad Let him rest in peace!" "The Spania candle, while on the bosom was laid ards responded " Amen!” and the the little crucifix worn by the deceased. priest repeating, “ May his soul, and It was next enveloped in a hammock, the soul of all the faithful departed,
to the deep: