Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

LETTER FROM BILL TRUCK, INCLOSING THE MAN-OF-WAR'S-MAN."

DEAR MR CHRISTOPHEB, Ever since my return to my native city, I have found nothing half so relishing, nothing that smacks so well with my taste, as a lounge over your inimitable Monthly, at my evening's allowance. With a jolly long pipe, and a cann of stuff before me, and old Buchanan planted in my dexter, I am as merry an old fellow as ever the devil shook a cudgel over.

In fact, so many happy evenings have you made me spend, with still renewed and unabating delight, that I have not only formed the highest opinion of yourself, but have determined, out of sheer gratitude, to sniggle for your future acquaintance, by cheerfully volunteering to your service a few scraps of a work of my own, which, when finished, I intend to dedicate to your excellent correspondent E., of whose clear and pithy reasoning, I think it will furnish no contemptible an illustration.

Without any farther whiffling about the matter then, as I love to do a thing smartly, I herewith inclose as large a portion as I think you'll have room for; and if my terra et mare phraseology is not too rude for the finer and more delicate ears of your many thousand readers, of which I hope you'll inform me, you shall again hear from me long before my second appearance is wanted. On the other hand, if you like me not, you may either transmit me to Constable, or the Lion's Head, or dedicate me to any other pleasurable or necessary purpose you think proper, for I am in such good humour with Mr C. N., that which ever way he opines, he can never offenu

His devoted

BILL TRUCK. I still love to be aloft-therefore Fron. my attic, Canongate, Edin. 1st Sept. 1821.

1.}

THE MAN-OF-WAR'S-MAN.

CHAPTER I.

66 whe

May Britain's glory rest with you !

Our sails are full-sweet girls, adieu ! In the month of July, 1811, at an tempted to venture out with you myearlier hour than that appropriated by self, for one very short cruise. the Leith burghers to their morning Captain Farrell eyed the fair speakwalk on the pier, the sound of a gun er with a good-humoured smile; and and display of a foretop-sail, not only taking her by the hand, replied, that announced that a vessel of war was nothing would give him greater pleagetting under weigh, but hurried a sure than the company of such a fair party of ladies and gentlemen from lady. “ Though I am very doubtful, the Britannia Inn to the landing place. my dear Matilda," added he,

“What a delightful morning you ther that delicate form of yours would have got, Farrell !” said one of the la- be able to endure the cold rude winds, dies to a gentleman in full naval uni- that blow from the rocky wilds of Norform _“I declare I almost envy you. way and Shetland ?” The sea is so smooth and gentle, and « Norway and Shetland, Captain!" the sun sparkles so beauteously a cried the young lady, disengaging herthwart that fine bay there, that could I self from him with an arch smile only persuade myself of a continuance “Nay, then, my gallant sir, I've done of such charming weather and smooth with you completely.—Ugh!” added water, I dare say,—I don't know, she, shuddering, “I positively

declare, though”-continued she, smiling and the very mention of such frightful blushing—" but I might almost be places makes me ready to faint.

“I thought as much, my good girl. ing idle and unnoticed, instantly hurriBut come, you will surely give me your ed them to work. This very inattention hand at parting ?"

on his part, however, proved the very ‘0, certainly, Captain,” said the means of bringing them all the sooner lady, “and wish you fine weather, under his notice ; for having at last and a successful cruize into the bar- got the Whippersnapper something to gain.”

his mind, he was hurrying aft to inThe Captain thanked her and bow. dulge himself with a stern-forward ed; and having taken leave and made view of her, when, in passing a solid his obeisance to the rest of the party, mass of fellows, who were tugging he stepped into his gig, which imme- away at a weather-brace, the whole diately shoved off, and darted from suddenly lost footing by a yaw of the the harbour with all that celerity, for vessel, and tripping up his heels, rollwhich these boats are so famed. ed him before them into the lea scup

The commander of his Majesty's pers. From this awkward and ignoble sloop of war Whippersnapper, was situation he was speedily released by speedily on board, and the vessel was the exertions of a young man, who, already under way, when the Admiral with great alacrity, flew to his assisttelegraphed him to lay to, and send a ance, and succeeded in dragging him midshipman on board the guardship, from the embraces, and from under an order which was instantly obeyed, some hundreds weight of sturdy tere while the Captain impatiently exclaim- restrial matter, ere his astonished subed to his First Lieutenant, “What the alterns could come to his relief; then, deuce does the old fellow want now, assisting him to his feet, and inodestToddrell, think you?"

ly expressing his hope that he had sus“ Heaven knows, sir! for he's tained no injury, he rapidly mixed troublesome enough at times. How- among the crew. Captain Farrell ever, I can soon tell you,” replied the looked after the stranger in silence, Lieutenant, snatching a telescope from surveyed his crest-fallen and uprising the capstan:

“ Oho! the old boy is levellers with an angry eye, and having going to send us his last quarter's ga- bestowed upon them a few passionate therings, for a passage to Yarmouth, I. epithets, which we shall not stop to resuppose."

peat, retired to his cabin to adjust his “ Confound him and his rubbish," soiled clothes. said Captain Farrell, peevishly. “Why By G-d, my lads,” cried an old the devil don't he kept a tender for his seaman, addressing these unfortunate own use, like any other guardo, and aggressors on dignity, “ you had betpot be continually disgracing his Ma- ter keep a good look out in future. jesty's officers and vessels with the The skipper, I can tell you, is not transportation of all the felons and the lad that will allow himself to be jail-sweepings of Scotland. Are there foundered about in that there sort of many of them?"

manner even by us, who are sea-goers, No, not above a dozen, I think,” far less by the like of you mere landa replied the Lieutenant; “yet the cut- lubbers, who are good for nothing but ter is completely crowded; but that emptying a bread bag. I would theremay be owing to the luggage, you fore have you stand clear the next know.—You'll see them all directly.” time, otherwise you'll catch it.”.

The cutter was soon along side, dis “ Catch what?” asked one of the recharged of her cargo, and hoisted on cruits, with great simplicity. board; whilst the Whippersnapper, ta “ A broom-stick, you scoundrel !" king a sweeping stretch round the islet replied old Bluff, walking away and of Inch Keith, stood down the Forth eyeing his querist with infinite conunder all the sail she could carry. tempt.

From his antipathy to what he phra But Captain Farrell had been bred sed rubbish and jail-sweepings, Cap- in too hardy a school to allow his good tain Farrell was too much engrossed in humour to be invaded by trifles, and crowding every inch of canvass upon his no sooner had consigned his clothes vessel his ingenuity could suggest, in into the hands of his servant, than he order to give her a more imposing ap- was again upon deck, with no other pearance from the shore, to pay the remembrance of his fall than a cersmallest attention to his new comers; tain degree of curiosity to see and and the petty officers seeing them stand- know something of his passengers, as

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

he termed them-a desire, which was procuring patches, directly up fist, and no doubt a little heightened by the levelled old Silver Whistle with the modest gallantry and genteel address of deck. The battle thus commenced, the young stranger by whom he had raged so violently, that first the garribeen so opportunely aided. Seating son and then the gun room were up in himself, therefore, on the tafferail, he arms; and when at last he was secured was proceeding to examine the hither- and brought before me, he laid down to neglected list of the guardship, the law and defended himself in such when he discovered it enclosed a note, a spirited gentlemanly manner, that, addressed to himself, which he imme- .d -n me, Frank, if I did'nt applaud diately opened and read as follows: the fellow, while I was obliged to colle

demn him. Since that time, by way " H. M. S. Adamant, of some small compensation, I have

Leilh Roads. employed him constantly in the clerk's " Dear FARRELL,

office, where I have always found him "Along with a few law customers, quite at home, and can warmly recomhospital impressed, and other as-usual mend him to you, if you are in want; articles, which it is my orders to trans- and I part with him now at his own mit you for a passage to Yarinouth, I request, somewhat reluctantly, for no send

you a single volunteer, who is other reason than that he and Brady certainly the most complete and clever seem to be irreconcileable. unaccountable I have ever met with * By the way of finish for this time, since we entered on the guardo service, my lad, should you go into Bressay, and who, by my honour, has constante as you likely will, I will thank you to ly foiled me in every attempt I have tell my old friend Kate of Lerwick, hitherto made to discover who or what that I'll not expect her here this sumthe devil he is. Pray God he may’nt mer, though the good old girl may

turn out to be a king's-yarn of the old send me as many stockings and geese ndo fellow himself after all!

as she pleases, you know. If you want Now, my dear Frank, as I confess a reason for this sudden shift of wind, my curiosity is not trifling to know I will honestly tell you, that the blesswho or what he is, and as I know you ed effects of my last cruise on shore of old to be a cool, studious, boring has so completely drained me with my sort of a fellow, I have pointed him agents, as will fairly compel me to thus out to you as a famous subject on hoist the yellow flag till a future quarwhich to try your fist; and shall cheer- ter day. Then, my boy, the word fully hold myself your debtor for any shall be Bout ship! for none shall be thing under a gallon of Rhenish, if merrier than your friend and messyou can give me a rational account of mate, him when you return. Certain I am

RALPH HIGHGATE, he is far above the common grade; “ Lieut. and Commanding Officer,” for not only has he got all the language and polite manners of an admiral about No sooner had Captain Farrell read him, but positively puts me down in this elegant production, which, whatthe

way of talking with as much ease ever may be thought of it, had cost as I could tip me a glass of grog. In Lieutenant Highgate no small degree my own eye, I have thought him many of trouble, than seeing some of his own things; but not to my own satisfaction officers busied in trimming some of by half;—for I think him by far too the foremast sails, he himself called to modest for a player, and a devilish the boatswain's mate to send the peosight too free of his fists for one of ple from the guard-ship aft to musyour psalm-singing lubbers.

ter-an order which was promptly “ He first came under my notice obeyed by an ear-stunning blast of the e from a complaint made against him by whistle, the huge fellow growling out our first boatswain's mate. It would as he went forward, ye

hear appear that our young volunteer had there, Adamants :-Go aft there on

not been long on board before old the quarter-deck, man and mother's B Brady, who you know for a scoundrel son of ye, to muster !"-which was no me of the first water, had thought proper sooner over than the Captain, walking p! to cut away the skirts of his coat; along their front, amused himself with

which was no sooner done than he, far inquiring into the nature of the vaporn from relishing so simple a mode of rious offences which had consigned Vol. X.

X

[ocr errors]

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

56 Do

[graphic]

6 Were you

6

most of the strangers over to a man of The young stranger, who had al war, and laughed very heartily at the this while stood uncovered at a humbungling attempts some of them made ble distance, was now ordered to adto palliate their crimes.

vance by Captain Farrell.—“Come He next made some slight inquiries nearer, my lad,” said he, leaning his into the respective abilities of the other back to the capstan; “I find by this seamen, and concluded this ceremonial list, that you call yourself Edward by consigning them all into the hands Davies ?” The stranger bowed in siof the purser's steward, in order to be lent assent. “And pray, Mr Davies, dressed, retaining only the young vo- d'ye belong to this place ?"_“Yes, lunteer, to whom he signified his in- sir," was the answer. tention of having something to say. ever at sea before, my lad ?”

He was now joined by his Lieute “No, sir.” nant, who, after perusing the aforesaid “O well, then, you were probably epistle, burst out into a most immode- brought up from childhood in its rate fit of laughter, at what he called neighbourhood, and have been accusthe absurdity of Highgate's opinion. tomed all your life to the noise and

By the Lord Harry, he gets worse bustle of shipping?" and worse: that Guardo will not leave “ No, sir. one drop of seaman's blood in him. Here the impatient Lieutenant broke But why should I be surprised at any in,—“Or perhaps you've had some of Ralph's freaks or whimsies—it was near relations in the service who were ever thus with him; he was ever full accustomed to spin their yarns ?of romance and poetry, madrigals, Pshaw! I mean, to tell you marvellous players, and skip-jacks." I remember long stories about it when you were a as well as 'twere yesterday, when I boy?” was Mid. with him in the Temeraire,

« No, sir," was still the response. he was known to all the fleet by the " What !” exclaimed the Lieutename of Sentimental Jacky: and it's nant indignantly, “were you neither not the first dozen of times I've seen brought up in the neighbourhood of him grace the cross-trees or topgallant- the sea, nor had some kinsman or other yard for coquetting on paper with to tell you lies and blarney about it? some fanciful Daphne or other, when –Pray what the devil then made you he ought to have been thumbing his think of it? Was it because the shore Hamilton Moore. He is a brave fel- would support you no longer ? or was low, however, and a good seaman; it" and his only fault, if it be one, is, that “Truce, Toddrell,” said Captain he is inclined to look on passing mat- Farrell, smiling and interrupting him, ters with eyes that would do more “ give the lad fair play at least. I honour to a parson than to a naval asked you, my lad, a plain question, officer. As to his notions regarding and you have hitherto returned me this lad, I'm convinced they'll be quite an evasive answer. I must, and will 'of a piece with many others that I've have a distinct one.-Tell me, and tell seen him forin. However, let us over me at once, were you ever at sea behaul the fellow-this highflying in- fore?” cognito—'twill be but unkenneling a “ No, sir," replied the young man, fox, and will afford some excellent with looks of distress. sport.”

Ha, ha, ha, ho-a!" burst out the Captain Farrell smiled at the mis- Lieutenant, and stamped his foot for chief he saw hatching in Toddrell's joy. “ Come, come, Mister Davies," brain ; but protested against all seve- said the Captain somewhat sternly, rity, as the young man, besides having “ this will never do. I must have rendered him very essential service more from you than no, sir, when I that day, was a volunteer, and did not condescend to ask you questions." belong to the ship.

“ I have answered you both, gen“ Phoo!” cried the Lieutenant, “a tlemen, with the most scrupulous revolunteer ! that's all in my eye and gard to truth,” replied Edward, moas for not belonging to the vessel, destly, but firmly. “I never lived what matters it ?-isn't he in the ser- nearer the sea than Edinburgh where vice? However, take your own way I was born, or the banks of Esk, where of it; for I am devilishly mistaken I believe I spent the happiest years of indeed if you shan't find me right.” my life. As to my reason for beco

ming a volunteer, I did it, I can as- Farrell, with a mixture of anger and sure this gentleman, from no unwora contempt, “ from what I had myself thier motive than choice ; for as to the seen and learnt of you from this paper, flattery and falsehood I might unhap: I was fool enough to feel friendly inpily imbibe of a sea-faring life, it could clined towards you—but that is now only reach me through the volumes I over. 'Tis true, we are entire strangers have, seemingly

too often, spent an to one another, and yet I cannot help idle hour with. That I was complete thanking God that you don't belong ly a novice in the whole matter, how, where I command—for I hate a susever," added he, sighing, and survey- picious character, to say no worse of

ing his clothes, “ needs no other con- you, as I hate the devil. Before you +1

firmation than my present appearance go, however, take a friend's advice for e before you."

once, and bethink yourself better be“ True, true, my lad,” replied the fore you venture again to answer such Captain, softened, and hastily inter- questions on a quarter-deck, otherwise rupting him, “ your clothes are bat- you will stand a fair chance of paying

tered and cut-up enough, to be sure- the gangway a visit.-Remember this, el but that's nothing, for the wind will and so farewell---you are at liberty to

soon come round again in that quarter, depart.”

if you behave well—at least, I should Edward, whose face had been an a hope so.- Are your parents living, alternate deep-flushing red and an El Davies ?”

ashy paleness, while the Captain was “ So far as my knowledge extends, speaking, still stood, however, appa1! I believe they are, sir.”

rently absorbed in the most painful You believe they are, sir?" echo- feelings. Twice he essayed to speak, ed the Captain, with surprise ; while but his tongue denied its office; and bis Lieutenant, with the affected calm- it was only by a desperate effort, on a ness of a victorious soothsayer, looked second order to depart, that he was still harder in the abashed youth's able to utter, in a tremulous voice, "I

face, exclaimed, “D-n me, that beats obey you, sir, and I do so with deep the cock-fighting!"

regret ;-for I leave you under im“Pshaw !said the Captain to him- pressions, which, I would fain flatter to self, leaving the capstan, and pacing myself, are as disagreeable to you as the quarter-deck with hurried steps. they are infamous to me. Believe me

Highgate's completely at fault, as — believe me they have notthe smallToddrell said. The fellow's a regular est foundation in truth.” drilled darby-ringer after all ! and “ Then, why not be as honest as yet," continued he, carefully survey. you talk of," said the Captain, more ing Edward, “who would have thought coolly, « and answer me a common it?” Then stepping up in front of the question in a common way, without astonished Davies, he said, with consi- resorting to that paltry, shuffling, quibderable severity, “ Did you not tell bling manner, to which I cannot help me just now, fellow, that you were thinking, you've had too much occaborn in Edinburgh

sion to resort to lately? If I certainly did, sir," answered my lad, such a stale trick will serve Edward, calmly, “ but I never said in the least to conceal you, you are that my parents resided there."

mightily mistaken ;-for, were such a Well, well, be it so," cried Cap- thing at all worth my trouble, I could tain Farrell, coolly, but somewhat sar- tell you in a moment what you are. his castically; "and, pray, where are you There are thousands of such fellows

now pleased to say they reside ? for, as you in the service already—for whom remember, you believe they are still I would not give one straw in compaalive."

rison of the bold and fearless scounThe young man looked embarrass- drel, who honestly hoists his flag and ed, blushed deeply, and, though the lets every body know that he is one.' question was eagerly repeated by Lieu I must confess, sir,” replied the tenant Toddreli, continued silent. youth, with great humility, " consi

What, does it clinch at last, my dering my present appearance, and the lad ?” cried the Lieutenant; “ D-n associates amongst whom you found me, but I thought as much,”-and me, that your suspicions are perfectly commenced a walk in his turn. reasonable, though, as applying to me,

“ Hark'ee, fellow," said Captain I solemnly assure you, they are per

[ocr errors]

24

you think,

ball

« AnteriorContinuar »