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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 2 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v2].
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But no—he surely is not dreaming.
Another minute makes it clear,
A scream, a rush, a burning tear,
From Inez' cheek, dispel the fear
That bliss like his is only seeming.
Washington Alston.

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A moment of appalled surprise succeeded the instant
when Harry and Rose first ascertained the real character
of the vessel that had entered the haven of the Dry Tortugas.
Then the first turned toward Jack Tier, and sternly
demanded an explanation of his apparent faithlessness.

“Rascal,” he cried, “has this treachery been intended?
Did you not see the brig and know her?”

“Hush, Harry—dear Harry,” exclaimed Rose, entreatingly.
“My life for it, Jack has not been faithless.”

“Why, then, has he not let us know that the brig was
coming? For more than an hour has he been aloft, on
the look-out, and here are we taken quite by surprise.
Rely on it, Rose, he has seen the approach of the brig, and
might have sooner put us on our guard.”

“Ay, ay, lay it on, maty,” said Jack, coolly, neither
angry nor mortified, so far as appearances went, at these
expressions of dissatisfaction; “my back is used to it. If
I did n't know what it is to get hard raps on the knuckles,
I should be but a young steward. But, as for this business,
a little reflection will tell you I am not to blame.”

“Give us your own explanations, for without them I
shall trust you no longer.”

“Well, sir, what good would it have done, had I told
you the brig was standing for this place? There she came
down, like a race-horse, and escape for you was impossible.
As the wind is now blowin', the Molly would go two feet
to the boat's one, and a chase would have been madness.”

“I do n't know that, sirrah” answered the mate.“ The

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boat might have got into the smaller passages of the reef,
where the brig could not enter, or she might have dodged
about among these islets, until it was night, and then escaped
in the darkness.”

“I thought of all that, Mr. Mulford, but it came too late.
When I first went aloft, I came out on the north-west side
of the lantern, and took my seat, to look out for the sloop-of-war,
as you bade me, sir. Well, there I was sweepin'
the horizon with the glass for the better part of an hour,
sometimes fancyin' I saw her, and then givin' it up; for to
this moment I am not sartain there is n't a sail off here to
the westward, turning up toward the light on a bowline;
but if there be, she's too far off to know anything partic'lar
about her. Well, sir, there I sat, looking for the
Poughkeepsie, for the better part of an hour, when I
thought I would go round on t' other side of the lantern
and take a look to windward. My heart was in my mouth,
I can tell you, Miss Rose, when I saw the brig; and I felt
both glad and sorry. Glad on my own account, and sorry
on your'n. There she was, however, and no help for it,
within two miles of this very spot, and coming down as if
she despised touching the water at all. Now, what could
I do? There was n't time, Mr. Mulford, to get the boat
out, and the mast stepped, afore we should have been within
reach of canister, and Stephen Spike would not have
spared that, in order to get you again within his power.”

“Depend on it, Harry, this is all true,” said Rose, earnestly.
“I know Jack well, and can answer for his fidelity.
He wishes to, and if he can he will return to the brig,
whither he thinks his duty calls him, but he will never
willingly betray us—least of all, me. Do I speak as I ought,

“Gospel truth, Miss Rose, and Mr. Mulford will get
over this squall, as soon as he comes to think of matters as
he ought. There 's my hand, maty, to show I bear no

“I take it, Jack, for I must believe you honest, after all
you have done for us. Excuse my warmth, which, if a little
unreasonable, was somewhat natural under the circumstances.
I suppose our case is now hopeless, and that we
shall all be soon on board the brig again; for Spike will

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hardly think of abandoning me again on an island provisioned
and fitted as is this!”

“It's not so sartain, sir, that you fall into his hands at
all,” put in Jack. “The men of the brig will never come
here of their own accord, depend on that, for sailors don't
like graves. Spike has come in here a'ter the schooner's
chain, that he dropped into the water when he made sail
from the sloop-of-war, at the time he was here afore, and
is not expectin' to find us here. No—no—he thinks we
are beatin' up toward Key West this very minute, if, indeed,
he has missed us at all. 'T is possible he believes
the boat has got adrift by accident, and has no thought of
our bein' out of the brig.”

“That is impossible, Jack. Do you suppose he is ignorant
that Rose is missing?”

“Sartain of it, maty, if Mrs. Budd has read the letter
well that Miss Rose left for her, and Biddy has obeyed orders.
If they've followed instructions, Miss Rose is
thought to be in her state-room, mournin' for a young man
who was abandoned on a naked rock, and Jack Tier, havin'
eat somethin' that has disagreed with him, is in his berth.
Recollect, Spike will not be apt to look into Miss Rose's
state-room or my berth, to see if all this is true. The
cook and Josh are both in my secret, and know I mean to
come back, and when the fit is over I have only to return
to duty, like any other hand. It is my calculation that
Spike believes both Miss Rose and myself on board the
Molly at this very moment.”

“And the boat—what can he suppose has become of the

“Sartainly, the boat makes the only chance ag'in us.
But the boat was ridin' by its painter astarn, and accidents
sometimes happen to such craft. Then we two are the
wery last he will suspect of havin' made off in the boat by
ourselves. There'll be Mrs. Budd and Biddy as a sort of
pledge that Miss Rose is aboard, and as for Jack Tier, he
is too insignificant to occupy the captain's thoughts just
now. He will probably muster the people for'ard, when
he finds the boat is gone, but I do not think he'll trouble
the cabins or state-rooms.”

Mulford admitted that this was possible, though it

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scarcely seemed probable to him. There was no help,
however, for the actual state of things, and they all now
turned their attention to the brig, and to the movements
of those on board her. Jack Tier had swung-to the outer-door
of the house, as soon as the Swash came in view
through it, and fortunately none of the windows on that
side of the building had been opened at all. The air entered
to windward, which was on the rear of the dwelling,
so that it was possible to be comfortable and yet leave the
front, in view from the vessel, with its deserted air. As
for the brig, she had already anchored and got both her
boats into the water. The yawl was hauled alongside, in
readiness for any service that might be required of it, while
the launch had been manned at once, and was already
weighing the anchor, and securing the chain to which Tier
had alluded. All this served very much to lessen the uneasiness
of Mulford and Rose, as it went far to prove that
Spike had not come to the Dry Tortugas in quest of them,
as, at first, both had very naturally supposed. It might,
indeed, turn out that his sole object was to obtain this anchor
and chain, with a view to use them in raising the ill-fated
vessel that had now twice gone to the bottom.

“I wish an explanation with you, Jack, on one other
point,” said the mate, after all three had been for sometime
observing the movements on board and around the Swash.
“Do you actually intend to get on board the brig?”

“If it's to be done, maty. My v'y'ge is up with you
and Miss Rose. I may be said to have shipped for Key
West and a market, and the market's found at this port.”

“You will hardly leave us yet, Jack,” said Rose, with a
manner and emphasis that did not fail to strike her betrothed
lover, though he could in no way account for either.
That Rose should not wish to be left alone with him in
that solitary place was natural enough; or, might rather
be referred to education and the peculiar notions of her
sex; but he could not understand why so much importance
should be attached to the presence of a being of Jack Tier's
mould and character. It was true, that there was little
choice, under present circumstances, but it occurred to
Mulford that Rose had manifested the same strange predilection
when there might have been something nearer to a

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selection. The moment, however, was not one for much
reflection on the subject.

“You will hardly leave us yet, Jack?” said Rose, in
the manner related.

“it's now or never, Miss Rose. If the brig once gets
away from this anchorage without me, I may never lay eyes
on her ag'in. Her time is nearly up, for wood and iron
wont hold together always, any more than flesh and blood.
Consider how many years I've been busy in huntin' her
up, and how hard 't will be to lose that which has given
me so many weary days and sleepless nights to find.”

Rose said no more. If not convinced, she was evidently
silenced, while Harry was left to wonder and surmise, as
best he might. Both quitted the subject, to watch the
people of the brig. By this time the anchor had been lifted,
and the chain was heaving in on board the vessel, by
means of a line that had been got around its bight. The
work went on rapidly, and Mulford observed to Rose that
he did not think it was the intention of Spike to remain
long at the Tortugas, inasmuch as his brig was riding by
a very short range of cable. This opinion was confirmed,
half an hour later, when it was seen that the launch was
hooked on and hoisted in again, as soon as the chain and
anchor of the schooner were secured.

Jack Tier watched every movement with palpable uneasiness.
His apprehensions that Spike would obtain all he
wanted, and be off before he could rejoin him, increased
at each instant, and he did not scruple to announce an intention
to take the boat and go alongside of the Swash at
every hazard, rather than be left.

“You do not reflect on what you say, Jack,” answered
Harry; “unless, indeed, it be your intention to betray us.
How could you appear in the boat, at this place, without
letting it be known that we must be hard by?”

“That don't follow at all, maty,” answered Jack.
“Suppose I go alongside the brig and own to the captain
that I took the boat last night, with the hope of findin' you,
and that failin' to succeed, I bore up for this port, to look
for provisions and water. Miss Rose he thinks on board
at this moment, and in my judgment he would take me at
my word, give me a good cursing, and think no more about

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“It would never do, Jack,” interposed Rose, instantly.
“It would cause the destruction of Harry, as Spike would
not believe you had not found him, without an examination
of this house.”

“What are they about with the yawl, Mr. Mulford?”
asked Jack, whose eye was never off the vessel for a single
moment. “It's gettin' to be so dark that one can hardly
see the boat, but it seems as if they're about to man the

“They are, and there goes a lantern into it. And that
is Spike himself coming down the brig's side this instant.”

“They can only bring a lantern to search this house,”
exclaimed Rose. “Oh! Harry, you are lost!”

“I rather think the lantern is for the light-house,” answered
Mulford, whose coolness, at what was certainly a
most trying moment, did not desert him. “Spike may
wish to keep the light burning, for once before, you will
remember, he had it kindled after the keeper was removed.
As for his sailing, he would not be apt to sail until the
moon rises; and in beating back to the wreck the light
may serve to let him know the bearings and position of the

“There they come,” whispered Rose, half breathless
with alarm. “The boat has left the brig, and is coming
directly hither!”

All this was true enough. The yawl had shoved off,
and with two men to row it, was pulling for the wharf in
front of the house, and among the timbers of which lay the
boat, pretty well concealed beneath a sort of bridge. Mulford
would not retreat, though he looked to the fastenings
of the door as a means of increasing his chances of defence.
In the stern-sheets of the boat sat two men, though it was
not easy to ascertain who they were by the fading light.
One was known to be Spike, however, and the other, it
was conjectured, must be Don Juan Montefalderon, from the
circumstance of his being in the place of honour. Three
minutes solved this question, the boat reaching the wharf
by that time. It was instantly secured, and all four of the
men left it. Spike was now plainly to be discerned by
means of the lantern which he carried in his own hands,
He gave some orders, in his customary authoritative way,

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and in a high key, after which he led the way from the
wharf, walking side by side with the Señor Montefalderon.
These two last came up within a yard of the door of the
house, where they paused, enabling those within not only
to see their persons and the working of their countenances,
but to hear all that was said; this last the more especially,
since Spike never thought it necessary to keep his powerful
voice within moderate limits.

“It's hardly worth while, Don Wan, for you to go into
the light-house,” said Spike. “'T is but a greasy, dirty
place at the best, and one's clothes are never the better for
dealin' with ile. Here, Bill, take the lantern, and get a
filled can, that we may go up and trim and fill the lamp,
and make a blaze. Bear a hand, lads, and I'll be a'ter
ye afore you reach the lantern. Be careful with the flame
about the ile, for seamen ought never to wish to see a light-house

“What do you expect to gain by lighting the lamps
above, Don Esteban?” demanded the Mexican, when the
sailors had disappeared in the light-house, taking their own
lantern with them.

“It's wisest to keep things reg'lar about this spot, Don
Wan, which will prevent unnecessary suspicions. But, as
the brig stretches in toward the reef to-night, on our way
back, the light will be a great assistance. I am short of
officers, you know, and want all the help of this sort I can

“To be sincere with you, Don Esteban, I greatly regret
you are so short of officers, and do not yet despair of inducing
you to go and take off the mate, whom I hear you
have left on a barren rock. He was a fine young fellow,
Señor Spike, and the deed was not one that you will wish
to remember a few years hence.”

“The fellow run, and I took him at his word, Don Wan.
I'm not obliged to receive back a deserter unless it suits

“We are all obliged to see we do not cause a fellow
creature the loss of life. This will prove the death of the
charming young woman who is so much attached to him,
unless you relent and are merciful!”

“Women have tender looks but tough hearts,” answered

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Spike, carelessly, though Mulford felt certain, by the tone
of his voice, that great bitterness of feeling lay smothered
beneath the affected indifference of his manner; “few die
of love.”

“The young lady has not been on deck all day; and the
Irish woman tells me that she does nothing but drink water—
the certain proof of a high fever.”

“Ay, ay, she keeps her room if you will, Don Wan, but
she is not about to make a dupe of me by any such tricks.
I must go and look to the lamps, however, and you will
find the graves you seek in the rear of this house, about
thirty yards behind it, you'll remember. That's a very
pretty cross you've made, señor, and the skipper of the
schooner's soul will be all the better for settin' it up at the
head of his grave.”

“It will serve to let those who come after us know that
a Christian sleeps beneath the sand, Don Esteban,” answered
the Mexican, mildly. “I have no other expectation
from this sacred symbol.”

The two now separated, Spike going into the light-house,
little in a hurry, while Don Juan Montefalderon walked
round the building to its rear in quest of the grave. Mulford
waited a moment for Spike to get a short distance up
the stairs of the high tower he had to ascend, when placing
the arm of Rose within his own, he opened the door in
the rear of the house, and walked boldly toward the Mexican.
Don Juan was actually forcing the pointed end of
his little cross into the sand, at the head of his countryman's
grave, when Mulford and his trembling companion
reached the spot. Although night had shut in, it was not
so dark that persons could not be recognised at small distances.
The Señor Montefalderon was startled at an apparition
so sudden and unexpected, when Mulford saluted
him by name; but recognising first the voice of Harry,
and then the persons of himself and his companion, surprise,
rather than alarm, became the emotion that was uppermost.
Notwithstanding the strength of the first of these
feelings, he instantly saluted the young couple with the
polished ease that marked his manner, which had much of
the courtesy of a Castilian in it, tempered a little, perhaps,
by the greater flexibility of a Southern American.

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“I see you,” exclaimed Don Juan, “and must believe
my eyes. Without their evidence, however, I could scarce
believe it can be you two, one of whom I thought on board
the brig, and the other suffering a most miserable death on
a naked rock.”

“I am aware of your kind feelings in our behalf, Don
Juan,” said Mulford, “and it is the reason I now confide
in you. I was taken off that rock by means of the boat,
which you doubtless have missed; and this is the gentle
being who has been the means of saving my life. To her
and Jack Tier, who is yonder, under the shadows of the
house, I owe my not being the victim of Spike's cruelty.”

“I now comprehend the whole matter, Don Henriquez.
Jack Tier has managed the boat for the señorita; and
those whom we were told were too ill to be seen on deck,
have been really out of the brig!”

“Such are the facts, señor, and from you there is no
wish to conceal them. We are then to understand that
the absence of Rose and Jack from the brig is not known
to Spike.”

“I believe not, señor. He has alluded to both, once or
twice to-day, as being ill below; but would you not do
well to retire within the shade of the dwelling, lest a glance
from the lantern might let those in it know that I am not

“There is little danger, Don Juan, as they who stand
near a light cannot well see those who are in the darkness.
Beside, they are high in the air, while we are on the
ground, which will greatly add to the obscurity down here.
We can retire, nevertheless, as I have a few questions to
ask, which may as well be put in perfect security, as put
where there is any risk.”

The three now drew near the house, Rose actually stepping
within its door, though Harry remained on its exterior,
in order to watch the proceedings of those in the
light-house. Here the Señor Montefalderon entered into
a more detailed explanation of what had occurred on board
the brig, since the appearance of day, that very morning.
According to his account of the matter, Spike had immediately
called upon the people to explain the loss of the
boat. Tier was not interrogated on this occasion, it being

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understood he had gone below and turned in, after having
the look-out for fully half the night. As no one could, or
would, give an account of the manner in which the boat
was missing, Josh was ordered to go below and question
Jack on the subject. Whether it was from consciousness
of his connection with the escape of Jack, and apprehensions
of the consequences, or from innate good-nature, and
a desire to befriend the lovers, this black now admitted
that Jack confessed to him that the boat had got away from
him while endeavouring to shift the turns of its painter from
a cleet where they ought not to be, to their proper place.
This occurred early in Jack's watch, according to Josh's
story, and had not been reported, as the boat did not properly
belong to the brig, and was an incumbrance rather
than an advantage. The mate admired the negro's cunning,
as Don Juan related this part of his story, which put
him in a situation to throw all the blame on Jack's mendacity
in the event of a discovery, while it had the effect to
allow the fugitives more time for their escape. The result
was, that Spike bestowed a few hearty curses, as usual, on
the clumsiness of Jack Tier, and seemed to forget all about
the matter. It is probable he connected Jack's abstaining
from showing himself on deck, and his alleged indisposition,
with his supposed delinquency in this matter of the
boat. From that moment the captain appeared to give
himself no further concern on the subject, the boat having
been, in truth, an incumbrance rather than a benefit, as

“As for Rose, her keeping her room, under the circumstances,
was so very natural, that the Señor Montefalderon
had been completely deceived, as, from his tranquillity on
this point, there was no question was the case with Spike
also. Biddy appeared on deck, though the widow did not,
and the Irish woman shook her head anxiously when questioned
about her young mistress, giving the spectators reason
to suppose that the latter was in a very bad way.

As respects the brig and her movements, Spike had got
under way as soon as there was light enough to find his
course, and had run through the passage. It is probable
that the boat was seen; for something that was taken for
a small sail had just been made out for a single instant, and

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then became lost again. This little sail was made, if made
at all, in the direction of the Dry Tortugas, but so completely
was all suspicion at rest in the minds of those on
the quarter-deck of the Swash, that neither Spike nor the
Mexican had the least idea what it was. When the circumstance
was reported to the former, he answered that it
was probably some small wrecker, of which many were
hovering about the reef, and added, laughingly, though in
a way to prove how little he thought seriously on the subject
at all, “who knows but the light-house boat has fallen
into their hands, and that they've made sail on her; if
they have, my word for it, that she goes, hull, spars, rigging,
canvas, and cargo, all in a lump, for salvage.”

As the brig came out of the passage, in broad day, the
heads of the schooner's masts were seen, as a matter of
course. This induced Spike to heave-to, lower a boat, and
to go in person to examine the condition of the wreck.
It will be seen that Jack's presence could now be all the better
dispensed with. The examination, with the soundings,
and other calculations connected with raising the vessel,
occupied hours. When they were completed, Spike returned
on board, run up his boat, and squared away for the
Dry Tortugas. Señor Montefalderon confirmed the justice
of Jack Tier's surmises, as to the object of this unexpected
visit. The brig had come solely for the chain and anchor
mentioned, and having secured them, it was Spike's
intention to get under way and beat up to the wreck again
as soon as the moon rose. As for the sloop-of-war, he believed
she had given him up; for by this time she must
know that she had no chance with the brig, so long as the
latter kept near the reef, and that she ran the constant
hazard of shipwreck, while playing so near the dangers

Before the Señor Montefalderon exhausted all he had to
communicate, he was interrupted by Jack Tier with a singular
proposition. Jack's great desire was to get on board
the Swash; and he now begged the Mexican to let Mulford
take the yawl and scull him off to the brig, and return to
the islet before Spike and his companions should descend
from the lantern of the light-house. The little fellow insisted
there was sufficient time for such a purpose, as the

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three in the lantern had not yet succeeded in filling the
lamps with the oil necessary to their burning for a night—
a duty that usually occupied the regular keeper for an hour.
Five or six minutes would suffice for him; and if he were
seen going up the brig's side, it would be easy for him to
maintain that he had come ashore in the boat. No one
took such precise note of what was going on; as to be able
to contradict him; and as to Spike and the men with him,
they would probably never hear anything about it.

Don Juan Montefalderon was struck with the boldness
of Jack Tier's plan, but refused his assent to it. He deemed
it too hazardous, but substituted a project of his own.
The moon would not rise until near eleven, and it wanted
several hours before the time of sailing. When they returned
to the brig, he would procure his cloak, and scull
himself ashore, being perfectly used to managing a boat in
this way, under the pretence of wishing to pass an hour
longer near the grave of his countryman. At the expiration
of that hour he would take Jack off, concealed beneath
his cloak—an exploit of no great difficulty in the darkness,
especially as no one would be on deck but a hand or two
keeping the anchor-watch. With this arrangement, therefore,
Jack Tier was obliged to be content.

Some fifteen or twenty minutes more passed; during
which the Mexican again alluded to his country, and his
regrets at her deplorable situation. The battles of the 8th
and 9th of May; two combats that ought to, and which will
reflect high honour on the little army that won them, as
well as on that hardly worked, and in some respects hardly
used, service to which they belong, had been just fought.
Don Juan mentioned these events without reserve; and frankly
admitted that success had fallen to the portion of much the
weaker party. He ascribed the victory to the great superiority
of the American officers of inferior rank; it being
well known that in the service of the “Republic of the
North,” as he termed America, men who had been regularly
educated at the military academy, and who had reached
the period of middle life, were serving in the stations
of captains, and sometimes in that of lieutenants; men who,
in many cases, were fitted to command regiments and brigades,
having been kept in these lower stations by the

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tardiness with which promotion comes in an army like that
of this country.

Don Juan Montefalderon was not sufficiently conversant
with the subject, perhaps, else he might have added, that
when occasions do offer to bestow on these gentlemen the
preferment they have so hardly and patiently earned, they
are too often neglected, in order to extend the circle of
vulgar political patronage. He did not know that when a
new regiment of dragoons was raised, one permanent in
its character, and intended to be identified with the army
in all future time, that, instead of giving its commissions
to those who had fairly earned them by long privations and
faithful service, they were given, with one or two exceptions,
to strangers.

No government trifles more with its army and navy than
our own. So niggardly are the master-spirits at Washington
of the honours justly earned by military men, that we
have fleets still commanded by captains, and armies by officers
whose regular duty it would be to command brigades.
The world is edified with the sight of forces sufficient, in
numbers, and every other military requisite, to make one
of Napoleon's corps de armée, led by one whose commission
would place him properly at the head of a brigade, and
nobly led, too. Here, when so favourable an occasion offers
to add a regiment or two to the old permanent line of
the army, and thus infuse new life into its hope deferred,
the opportunity is overlooked, and the rank and file are to
be obtained by cramming, instead of by a generous regard
to the interests of the gallant gentlemen who have done so
much for the honour of the American name, and, unhappily,
so little for themselves. The extra-patriots of the
nation, and they form a legion large enough to trample the
“Halls of the Montezumas” under their feet, tell us that
the reward of those other patriots beneath the shadows of
the Sierra Madre, is to be in the love and approbation of
their fellow citizens, at the very moment when they are
giving the palpable proof of the value of this esteem, and
of the inconstancy of popular applause, by pointing their
fingers, on account of an inadvertent expression in a letter,
at the gallant soldier who taught, in our own times, the
troops of this country to stand up to the best appointed

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regiments of England, and to carry off victory from the pride
of Europe, in fair field-fights. Alas! alas! it is true of
nations as well as of men, in their simplest and earliest
forms of association, that there are “secrets in all families;”
and it will no more do to dwell on our own, than it would
edify us to expose those of poor Mexico.

The discourse between the Señor Montefalderon and
Mulford was interesting, as it ever has been when the former
spoke of his unfortunate country. On the subject of
the battles of May he was candid, and admitted his deep
mortification and regrets. He had expected more from the
force collected on the Rio Grande, though, understanding
the northern character better than most of his countrymen,
he had not been as much taken by surprise as the great
bulk of his own nation.

“Nevertheless, Don Henrique,” he concluded, for the
voice of Spike was just then heard as he was descending
the stairs of the light-house, “nevertheless, Don Henrique,
there is one thing that your people, brave, energetic, and
powerful as I acknowledge them to be, would do well to
remember, and it is this—no nation of the numbers of ours
can be, or ever was conquered, unless by the force of political
combinations. In a certain state of society a government
may be overturned, or a capital taken, and carry a
whole country along with it, but our condition is one not
likely to bring about such a result. We are of a race different
from the Anglo-Saxon, and it will not be easy either
to assimilate us to your own, or wholly to subdue us. In
those parts of the country, where the population is small,
in time, no doubt, the Spanish race might be absorbed,
and your sway established; but ages of war would be necessary
entirely to obliterate our usages, our language, and
our religion from the peopled portions of Mexico.”

It might be well for some among us to reflect on these
matters. The opinions of Don Juan, in our judgment,
being entitled to the consideration of all prudent and considerate

As Spike descended to the door of the light-house, Harry,
Rose, and Jack Tier retired within that of the dwelling.
Presently the voice of the captain was heard hailing the
Mexican, and together they walked to the wharf, the

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former boasting to the latter of his success in making a
brilliant light. Brilliant it was, indeed; so brilliant as to
give Mulford many misgivings on the subject of the boat.
The light from the lantern fell upon the wharf, and he
could see the boat from the window where he stood, with
Spike standing nearly over it, waiting for the men to get
his own yawl ready. It is true, the captain's back was
toward the dangerous object, and the planks of the bridge
were partly between him and it; but there was a serious
danger that was solely averted by the circumstance that
Spike was so earnestly dilating on some subject to Don
Juan, as to look only at that gentleman's face. A minute
later they were all in the yawl, which pulled rapidly toward
the brig.

Don Juan Montefalderon was not long absent. Ten
minutes sufficed for the boat to reach the Swash, for him
to obtain his cloak, and to return to the islet alone, no one
in the vessel feeling a desire to interfere with his imaginary
prayers. As for the people, it was not probable that one
in the brig could have been induced to accompany him to
the graves at that hour; though everybody but Josh had
turned-in, as he informed Mulford, to catch short naps previously
to the hour of getting the brig under way. As for
the steward, he had been placed on the look-out as the
greatest idler on board. All this was exceedingly favourable
to Jack Tier's project, since Josh was already in the
secret of his absence, and would not be likely to betray his
return. After a brief consultation, it was agreed to wait
half an hour or an hour, in order to let the sleepers lose all
consciousness, when Don Juan proposed returning to the
vessel with his new companion.

The thirty or forty minutes that succeeded were passed
in general conversation. On this occasion the Señor Montefalderon
spoke more freely than he had yet done of recent
events. He let it be plainly seen how much he despised
Spike, and how irksome to him was the intercourse he was
obliged to maintain, and to which he only submitted
through a sense of duty. The money known to be in the
schooner, was of a larger amount than had been supposed;
and every dollar was so important to Mexico, at that moment,
that he did not like to abandon it, else, did he

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declare, that he would quit the brig at once, and share in the
fortunes of Harry and Rose. He courteously expressed
his best wishes for the happiness of the young couple, and
delicately intimated that, under the circumstances, he supposed
that they would be united as soon as they could
reach a place where the marriage rite could be celebrated.
This was said in the most judicious way possible; so delicately
as not to wound any one's feelings, and in a way to
cause it to resemble the announcement of an expectation,
rather than the piece of paternal advice for which it was
really intended. Harry was delighted with this suggestion
of his Mexican friend—the most loyal American may still
have a sincere friend of Mexican birth and Mexican feelings,
too—since it favoured not only his secret wishes, but
his secret expectations also.

At the appointed moment, Don Juan Montefalderon and
Jack Tier took their leave of the two they left behind them.
Rose manifested what to Harry seemed a strange reluctance
to part with the little steward; but Tier was bent on
profiting by this excellent opportunity to get back to the
brig. They went, accordingly, and the anxious listeners,
who watched the slightest movement of the yawl, from the
shore, had reason to believe that Jack was smuggled in
without detection. They heard the familiar sound of the
oar falling in the boat, and Mulford said that Josh's voice
might be distinguished, answering to a call from Don Juan.
No noise or clamour was heard, such as Spike would certainly
have made, had he detected the deception that had
been practised on himself.

Harry and Rose were now alone. The former suggested
that the latter should take possession of one of the little
bed-rooms that are usually to be found in American dwellings
of the dimensions and humble character of the lighthouse
abode, while he kept watch until the brig should sail.
Until Spike was fairly off, he would not trust himself to
sleep; but there was no sufficient reason why Rose should
not endeavour to repair the evil of a broken night's rest,
like that which had been passed in the boat. With this
understanding, then, our heroine took possession of her
little apartment, where she threw herself on the bed in her

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clothes, while Mulford walked out into the air, as the most
effective means of helping to keep his eyes open.

It was now some time past ten, and before eleven the
moon would rise. The mate consequently knew that his
watch could not be long before Spike would quit the neighbourhood—
a circumstance pregnant with immense relief
to him, at least. So long as that unscrupulous, and now
nearly desperate, man remained anywhere near Rose, he
felt that she could not be safe; and as he paced the sands,
on the off, or outer side of the islet, in order to be beyond
the influence of the light in the lantern, his eye was scarcely
a moment taken away from the Swash, so impatiently
and anxiously did he wait for the signs of some movement
on board her.

The moon rose, and Mulford heard the well-known raps
on the booby-hatch, which precedes the call of “all hands,”
on board a merchant-man. “All hands up anchor, ahoy!”
succeeded, and in less than five minutes the bustle on
board the brig announced the fact, that her people were
“getting the anchor.” By this time it had got to be so
light that the mate deemed it prudent to return to the
house, in order that he might conceal his person within its
shadows. Awake Rose he would not, though he knew she
would witness the departure of the Swash with a satisfaction
little short of his own. He thought he would wait,
that when he did speak to her at all, it might be to announce
their entire safety. As regarded the aunt, Rose
was much relieved on her account, by the knowledge that
Jack Tier would not fail to let Mrs. Budd know everything
connected with her own situation and prospects. The desertion
of Jack, after coming so far with her, had pained
our heroine in a way we cannot at present explain; but go
he would, probably feeling assured there was no longer any
necessity for his continuance with the lovers, in order to
prevail on Rose to escape from Spike.

The Swash was not long in getting her ground-tackle,
and the brig was soon seen with her topsail aback, waiting
to cat the anchor. This done, the yards swung round, and
the topsail filled. It was blowing just a good breeze for
such a craft to carry whole sail on a bow-line with, and
away the light and active craft started, like the racer that

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is galloping for daily exercise. Of course there were several
passages by which a vessel might quit the group of islets,
some being larger, and some smaller, but all having
sufficient water for a brigantine of the Molly's draught.
Determined not to lose an inch of distance unnecessarily,
Spike luffed close up to the wind, making an effort to pass
out to windward of the light. In order to do this, however,
it became necessary for him to make two short tacks
within the haven, which brought him far enough to the
southward and eastward to effect his purpose. While this
was doing, the mate, who perfectly understood the object
of the manœuvres, passed to the side of the light-house that
was opposite to that on which the dwelling was placed,
with a view to get a better sight of the vessel as she stood
out to sea. In order to do this, however, it was necessary
for the young man to pass through a broad bit of moonlight
but he trusted for his not being seen, to the active manner
in which all hands were employed on board the vessel. It
would seem that, in this respect, Mulford trusted without
his host, for as the vessel drew near, he perceived that six
or eight figures were on the guns of the Swash, or in her
rigging, gesticulating eagerly, and seemingly pointing to
the very spot where he stood. When the brig got fairly
abeam of the light, she would not be a hundred yards distant
from it, and fearful to complete the exposure of his
person, which he had so inadvertently and unexpectedly
commenced, our mate drew up close to the wall of the
light-house, against which he sustained himself in a position
as immovable as possible. This movement had been
seen by a single seaman on board the Swash, and the man
happened to be one of those who had landed with Spike
only two hours before. His name was Barlow.

“Captain Spike, sir,” called out Barlow, who was coiling
up rigging on the forecastle, and was consequently
obliged to call out so loud as to be heard by all on board,
“yonder is a man at the foot of the light-house.”

By this time, the moon coming out bright through an
opening in the clouds, Mulford had become conscious of
the risk he ran, and was drawn up, as immovable as the
pile itself, against the stones of the light-house. Such an
announcement brought everybody to leeward, and every

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head over the bulwarks. Spike himself sprang into the lee
main-chains, where his view was unobstructed, and where
Mulford saw and recognised him, even better than he was
seen and recognised in his own person. All this time the
brig was moving ahead.

“A man, Barlow!” exclaimed Spike, in the way one a
little bewildered by an announcement expresses his surprise.
“A man! that can never be. There is no one at
the light-house, you know.”

“There he stands, sir, with his back to the tower, and
his face this way. His dark figure against the whitewashed
stones is plain enough to be seen. Living, or dead,
sir, that is the mate!”

Living it cannot be,” answered Spike, though he
gulped at the words the next moment.

A general exclamation now showed that everybody recognised
the mate, whose figure, stature, dress, and even
features, were by this time all tolerably distinct. The
fixed attitude, however, the immovable statue-like rigidity
of the form, and all the other known circumstances of
Harry's case, united to produce a common and simultaneous
impression among the superstitious mariners, that
what they saw was but the ghostly shadow of one lately departed
to the world of spirits. Even Spike was not free
from this illusion, and his knees shook beneath him, there
where he stood, in the channels of a vessel that he had
handled like a top in so many gales and tempests. With
him, however, the illusion was neither absolute nor lasting.
A second thought told him it could scarcely be so, and
then he found his voice. By this time the brig was nearly
abreast of where Harry stood.

“You Josh!” called out Spike, in a voice of thunder,
loud enough to startle even Mrs. Budd and Biddy in their

“Lor' help us all!” answered the negro, “what will
come next t'ing aboard dis wessel! Here I be, sir.”

“Pass the fowling-piece out of my state-room. Both
barrels are loaded with ball; I'll try him, though the bullets
are only lead.”

A common exclamation of dissatisfaction escaped the
men, while Josh was obeying the order. “It's no use.”

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“You never can hurt one of them things,” “Something will
befall the brig on account of this,” and “It's the mate's
sperit, and sperits can't be harmed by lead or iron,” were
the sort of remarks made by the seamen, during the short
interval between the issuing the order for the fowling-piece
and its execution.

“There 't is, Cap'in Spike,” said Josh, passing the piece
up through the rigging, “but 't will no more shoot that
thing, than one of our carronades would blow up Gibraltar.”

By this time Spike was very determined, his lips being
compressed and his teeth set, as he took the gun and
cocked it. Then he hailed. As all that passed occurred,
as it might be, at once, the brig even at that moment was
little more than abreast of the immovable mate, and about
eighty yards from him.

“Light-house, there!” cried Spike—“Living or dead,
answer or I fire.”

No answer came, and no motion appeared in the dark
figure that was now very plainly visible, under a bright
moon, drawn in high relief against the glittering white of
the tower. Spike dropped the muzzle to its aim, and fired.

So intense was the attention of all in the Swash, that a
wink of Harry's could almost have been seen, had he betrayed
even that slight sign of human infirmity at the flash
and the report. The ball was flattened against a stone of
the building, within a foot of the mate's body; but he did
not stir. All depended now on his perfect immovability,
as he well knew; and he so far commanded himself, as to
remain rigid as if of stone himself.

“There! one can see how it is—no life in that being,”
said one. “I know'd how it would end,” added another.
“Nothing but silver, and that cast on purpose, will ever
lay it,” continued a third. But Spike disregarded all.
This time he was resolved that his aim should be better,
and he was inveterately deliberate in getting it. Just as he
pulled the trigger, however, Don Juan Montefalderon
touched his elbow, the piece was fired, and there stood the
immovable figure as before, fixed against the tower. Spike
was turning angrily to chide his Mexican friend for deranging
his aim, when the report of an answering musket came
back like an echo. Every eye was turned toward the

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figure, but it moved not. Then the humming sound of an
advancing ball was heard, and a bullet passed, whistling
hoarsely, through the rigging, and fell some distance to
windward. Every head disappeared below the bulwarks.
Even Spike was so far astonished as to spring in upon deck,
and, for a single instant, not a man was to be seen above
the monkey-rail of the brig. Then Spike recovered himself
and jumped upon a gun. His first look was toward
the light-house, now on the vessel's lee-quarter; but the
spot where had so lately been seen the form of Mulford,
showed nothing but the glittering brightness of the whitewashed

The reader will not be surprised to learn that all these
events produced a strange and deep impression on board
the Molly Swash. The few who might have thrown a little
light on the matter were discreetly silent, while all that
portion of the crew which was in the dark, firmly believed
that the spirit of the murdered mate was visiting them, in
order to avenge the wrongs inflicted on it in the flesh.
The superstition of sailors is as deep as it is general. All
those of the Molly, too, were salts of the old school, seadogs
of a past generation, properly speaking, and mariners
who had got their notions in the early part of the century,
when the spirit of progress was less active than it is at

Spike himself might have had other misgivings, and believed
that he had seen the living form of his intended victim,
but for the extraordinary and ghost-like echo of his
last discharge. There was nothing visible, or intelligible,
from which that fire could have come, and he was perfectly
bewildered by the whole occurrence. An intention to
round-to, as soon as through the passage, down boat and
land, which had been promptly conceived when he found
that his first aim had failed, was as suddenly abandoned,
and he gave the command to board fore-tack;” immediately
after, his call was to “pack on the brig,” and not without
a little tremour in his voice, as soon as he perceived
that the figure had vanished. The crew was not slow to
obey these orders, and in ten minutes, the Swash was a
mile from the light, standing to the northward and eastward,
under a press of canvas, and with a freshening breeze.

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To return to the islets. Harry, from the first, had seen
that everything depended on his remaining motionless. As
the people of the brig were partly in shadow, he could not,
and did not, fully understand how completely he was himself
exposed, in consequence of the brightness of all around
him, and he had at first hoped to be mistaken for some accidental
resemblance to a man. His nerves were well
tried by the use of the fowling-piece, but they proved equal
to the necessities of the occasion. But, when an answering
report came from the rear, or from the opposite side of
the islet, he darted round the tower, as much taken by surprise,
and overcome by wonder, as any one else who heard
it. It was this rapid movement which caused his flight to
be unnoticed, all the men of the brig dodging below their
own bulwarks at that precise instant.

As the light-house was now between the mate and the
brig, he had no longer any motive for trying to conceal
himself. His first thought was of Rose, and, strange as it
may seem, for some little time he fancied that she had
found a musket in the dwelling, and discharged it, in order
to aid his escape. The events had passed so swiftly, that
there was no time for the cool consideration of anything,
and it is not surprising that some extravagances mingled
with the first surmises of all these.

On reaching the door of the house, therefore, Harry was
by no means surprised at seeing Rose standing in it, gazing
at the swiftly receding brigantine. He even looked for the
musket, expecting to see it lying at her feet, or leaning
against the wall of the building. Rose, however, was entirely
unarmed, and as dependent on him for support, as
when he had parted from her, an hour or two before.

“Where did you find that musket, Rose, and what have
you done with it?” inquired Harry, as soon as he had
looked in every place he thought likely to hold such an

“Musket, Harry! I have had no musket, though the
report of fire-arms, near by, awoke me from a sweet sleep.”

“Is this possible! I had imprudently trusted myself on
the other side of the light-house, while the moon was behind
clouds, and when they broke suddenly away, its light
betrayed me to those on board the brig. Spike fired at me

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twice, without injuring me; when, to my astonishment, an
answering report was heard from the islet. What is more,
the piece was charged with a ball-cartridge, for I heard the
whistling of the bullet as it passed on its way to the brig.”

“And you supposed I had fired that musket?”

“Whom else could I suppose had done it? You are
not a very likely person to do such a thing, I will own, my
love; but there are none but us two here.”

“It must be Jack Tier,” exclaimed Rose suddenly.

“That is impossible, since he has left us.”

“One never knows. Jack understood how anxious I
was to retain him with us, and he is so capricious and full
of schemes, that he may have contrived to get out of the
brig, as artfully as he got on board her.”

“If Jack Tier be actually on this islet, I shall set him
down as little else than a conjuror.”

“Hist!” interrupted Rose, “what noise is that in the
direction of the wharf? It sounds like an oar falling in a

Mulford heard that well-known sound, as well as his
companion, and, followed by Rose, he passed swiftly
through the house, coming out at the front, next the wharf.
The moon was still shining bright, and the mystery of the
echoing report, and answering shot, was immediately explained.
A large boat, one that pulled ten oars, at least,
was just coming up to the end of the wharf, and the manner
in which its oars were unshipped and tossed, announced
to the mate that the crew were man-of-war's men. He
walked hastily forward to meet them.

Three officers first left the boat together. The gold
bands of their caps showed that they belonged to the quarter-deck,
a fact that the light of the moon made apparent
at once, though it was not strong enough to render features
distinct. As Mulford continued to advance, however, the
three officers saluted him.

“I see you have got the light under way once more,”
observed the leader of the party. “Last night it was as
dark as Erebus in your lantern.”

“The light-house keeper and his assistant have both
been drowned,” answered Mulford. “The lamps have

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been lit to-night by the people of the brig which has just
gone out.”

“Pray, sir, what brig may that be?”

“The Molly Swash, of New York; a craft that I lately
belonged to myself, but which I have left on account of her
evil doings.”

“The Molly Swash, Stephen Spike master and owner,
bound to Key West and a market, with a cargo of eight
hundred barrels of flour, and that of a quality so lively and
pungent that it explodes like gunpowder! I beg your pardon,
Mr. Mate, for not recognising you sooner. Have you
forgotten the Poughkeepsie, Captain Mull, and her farreaching

“I ought to ask your pardon, Mr. Wallace, for not recognising
you sooner, too. But one does not distinguish
well by moonlight. I am delighted to see you, sir, and
now hope that, with my assistance, a stop can be put to
the career of the brig.”

“What, Mr. Mate, do you turn against your craft?”
said Wallace, under the impulsive feeling which induces
all loyal men to have a distaste for treachery of every sort,
“the seaman should love the very planks of his vessel.”

“I fully understand you, Mr. Wallace, and will own
that, for a long time, I was tied to rascality by the opinions
to which you allude. But, when you come to hear my explanation,
I do not fear your judgment in the least.”

Mulford now led the way into the house, whither Rose
had already retreated, and where she had lighted candles,
and made other womanly arrangements for receiving her
guests. At Harry's suggestion, some of the soup was
placed over coals, to warm up for the party, and our heroine
made her preparations to comfort them also with a cup
of tea. While she was thus employed, Mulford gave the
whole history of his connection with the brig, his indisposition
to quit the latter, the full exposure of Spike's treason,
his own desertion, if desertion it could be called, the loss
of the schooner, and his abandonment on the rock, and the
manner in which he had been finally relieved. It was
scarcely possible to relate all these matters, and altogether
avoid allusions to the schemes of Spike in connection with
Rose, and the relation in which our young man himself

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stood toward her. Although Mulford touched on these
points with great delicacy, it was as a seaman talking to
seamen, and he could not entirely throw aside the frankness
of the profession. Ashore, men live in the privacy of
their own domestic circles, and their secrets, and secret
thoughts, are “family secrets,” of which it has passed into
a proverb to say, that there are always some, even in the
best of these communities. On shipboard, or in the camp,
it is very different. The close contact in which men are
brought with each other, the necessity that exists for opening
the heart and expanding the charities, gets in time to
influence the whole character, and a certain degree of
frankness and simplicity, takes the place of the reserve and
acting that might have been quickened in the same individual,
under a different system of schooling. But Mulford
was frank by nature, as well as by his sea-education, and
his companions on this occasion were pretty well possessed
of all his wishes and plans, in reference to Rose, even to
his hope of falling in with the chaplain of the Poughkeepsie,
by the time his story was all told. The fact that Rose
was occupied in another room, most of the time, had made
these explanations all the easier, and spared her many a
blush. As for the man-of-war's men, they listened to the
tale, with manly interest and a generous sympathy.

“I am glad to hear your explanation, Mr. Mate,” said
Wallace, cordially, as soon as Harry had done, “and
there's my hand, in proof that I approve of your course. I
own to a radical dislike of a turncoat, or a traitor to his
craft, Brother Hollins”—looking at the elder of his two
companions, one of whom was the midshipman who had
originally accompanied him on board the Swash—“and am
glad to find that our friend Mulford here is neither. A
true-hearted sailor can be excused for deserting even his
own ship, under such circumstances.”

“I am glad to hear even this little concession from you,
Wallace,” answered Hollins, good-naturedly, and speaking
with a mild expression of benevolence, on a very calm and
thoughtful countenance. “Your mess is as heteredox as
any I ever sailed with, on the subject of our duties, in this

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“I hold it to be a sailor's duty to stick by his ship, reverend
and dear sir.”

This mode of address, which was used by the “ship's
gentleman” in the cant of the ward-room, as a pleasantry of
an old shipmate, for the two had long sailed together in
other vessels, at once announced to Harry that he saw the
very chaplain for whose presence he had been so anxiously
wishing. The “reverend and dear sir” smiled at the sally
of his friend, a sort of thing to which he was very well accustomed,
but he answered with a gravity and point that,
it is to be presumed, he thought befitting his holy office.

It may be well to remark here, that the Rev. Mr. Hollins
was not one of the “lunch'd chaplains,” that used to do
discredit to the navy of this country, or a layman dubbed
with such a title, and rated that he might get the pay and
become a boon companion of the captain, at the table and
in his frolics ashore. Those days are gone by, and ministers
of the gospel are now really employed to care for the
souls of the poor sailors, who so long have been treated by
others, and have treated themselves, indeed, as if they were
beings without souls, altogether. In these particulars, the
world has certainly advanced, though the wise and the
good, in looking around them, may feel more cause for astonishment
in contemplating what it once was, than to rejoice
in what it actually is. But intellect has certainly
improved in the aggregate, if not in its especial dispensations,
and men will not now submit to abuses that, within
the recollections of a generation, they even cherished. In
reference to the more intellectual appointments of a ship
of war, the commander excepted, for we contend he who
directs all, ought to possess the most capacity, but, in reference
to what are ordinarily believed to be the more intellectual
appointments of a vessel of war, the surgeon and
the chaplain, we well recollect opinions that were expressed
to us, many years since, by two officers of the highest rank
known to the service. “When I first entered the navy,”
said one of these old Benbows, “if I had occasion for the
amputation of a leg, and the question lay between the carpenter
and the doctor, d—e, but I would have tried the
carpenter first, for I felt pretty certain he would have been
the most likely to get through with the job.” “In old

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times,” said the other, “when a chaplain joined a ship, the
question immediately arose, whether the mess were to convert
the chaplain, or the chaplain, the mess; and the mess
generally got the best of it.” There was very little exaggeration
in either of these opinions. But, happily, all this
is changed vastly for the better, and a navy-surgeon is necessarily
a man of education and experience; in very many
instances, men of high talents are to be found among them;
while chaplains can do something better than play at backgammon,
eat terrapins, when in what may be called terrapin-ports,
and drink brandy and water, or pure Bob Smith.1

“It is a great mistake, Wallace, to fancy that the highest
duty a man owes, is either to his ship or to his country,”
observed the Rey. Mr. Hollins, quietly. “The highest
duty of each and all of us, is to God; and whatever conflicts
with that duty, must be avoided as a transgression of
his laws, and consequently as sin.”

“You surprise me, reverend and dear sir! I do not remember
ever to have heard you broach such opinions before,
which might be interpreted to mean that a fellow
might be disloyal to his flag.”

“Because the opinion might be liable to misinterpretation.
Still, I do not go as far as many of my friends on
this subject. If Decatur ever really said, `Our country,
right or wrong,' he said what might be just enough, and
creditable enough, in certain cases, and taken with the fair
limitations that he probably intended should accompany
the sentiment; but, if he meant it as an absolute and controlling
principle, it was not possible to be more in error.
In this last sense, such a rule of conduct might, and in old
times often would, have justified idolatry; nay, it is a species
of idolatry in itself, since it is putting country before
God. Sailors may not always be able to make the just distinctions
in these cases, but the quarter-deck should be so,
irreverend and dear sir.”

Wallace laughed, and then he turned the discourse to
the subject more properly before them.

“I understand you to say, Mr. Mulford,” he remarked,

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“that, in your opinion, the Swash has gone to try to raise
the unfortunate Mexican schooner, a second time, from the
depths of the ocean?”

“From the rock on which she lies. Under the circumstances,
I hardly think he would have come hither for the
chain and cable, unless with some such object. We know,
moreover, thut such was his intention when we left the

“And you can take us to the very spot where that wreck

“Without any difficulty. Her masts are partly out of
water, and we hung on to them, in our boat, no later than
last night, or this morning rather.”

“So far, well. Your conduct in all this affair will be
duly appreciated, and Captain Mull will not fail to represent
it in a right point of view to the government.”

“Where is the ship, sir? I looked for her most anxiously,
without success, last evening; nor had Jack Tier, the
little fellow I have named to you, any better luck; though
I sent him aloft, as high as the lantern in the light-house,
for that purpose.”

“The ship is off here to the northward and westward,
some six leagues or so. At sunset she may have been a
little further. We have supposed that the Swash would be
coming back hither, and had laid a trap for her, which
came very near taking her alive.”

“What is the trap you mean, sir—though taking Stephen
Spike alive, is sooner said than done.”

“Our plan has been to catch him with our boats. With
the greater draft of water of the Poughkeepsie, and the
heels of your brig, sir, a regular chase about these reefs, as
we knew from experience, would be almost hopeless. It
was, therefore, necessary to use head-work, and some man-of-war
traverses, in order to lay hold of him. Yesterday
afternoon we hoisted out three cutters, manned them, and
made sail in them all, under our luggs, working up against
the trades. Each boat took its own course, one going off,
the west end of the reef, one going more to the eastward,
while I came this way, to look in at the Dry Tortugas.
Spike will be lucky if he do not fall in with our third cutter,
which is under the fourth lieutenant, should he stand

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on far on the same tack as that on which he left this place.
Let him try his fortune, however. As for our boat, as soon
as I saw the lamps burning in the lantern, I made the best
of my way hither, and got sight of the brig, just as she
loosened her sails. Then I took in my own luggs, and
came on with the oars. Had we continued under our canvas,
with this breeze, I almost think we might have overhauled
the rascal.”

“It would have been impossible, sir. The moment he
got a sight of your sails, he would have been off in a contrary
direction, and that brig really seems to fly, whenever
there is a pressing occasion for her to move. You did the
wisest thing you could have done, and barely missed him,
as it was. He has not seen you at all, as it is, and will be
all the less on his guard, against the next visit from the

“Not seen me! Why, sir, the fellow fired at us twice
with a musket; why he did not use a carronade, is more
than I can tell.”

“Excuse me, Mr. Wallace; those two shots were intended
for me, though I now fully comprehend why you
answered them.”

“Answered them! yes, indeed; who would not answer
such a salute, and gun for gun, if he had a chance. I certainly
thought he was firing at us, and having a musket
between my legs, I let fly in return, and even the chaplain
here will allow that was returning `good for evil.' But
explain your meaning.”

Mulford now went into the details of the incidents connected
with his coming into the moon-light, at the foot of
the light-house. That he was not mistaken as to the party
for whom the shots were intended, was plain enough to him,
from the words that passed aloud among the people of the
Swash, as well as from the circumstance that both balls
struck the stones of the tower quite near him. This statement
explained everything to Wallace, who now fully comprehended
the cause and motive of each incident.

It was now near eleven, and Rose had prepared the table
for supper. The gentlemen of the Poughkeepsie manifested
great interest in the movements of the Hebe-like little
attendant who was caring for their wants. When the cloth

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was to be laid, the midshipman offered his assistance, but
his superior directed him to send a hand or two up from
the wharf, where the crew of the cutter were lounging or
sleeping after their cruise. These men had been thought
of, too; and a vessel filled with smoking soup was taken to
them, by one of their own number.

The supper was as cheerful as it was excellent. The
dry humour of Wallace, the mild intelligence of the chaplain,
the good sense of Harry, and the spirited information
of Rose, contributed, each in its particular way, to make
the meal memorable in more senses than one. The laugh
came easily at that table, and it was twelve o'clock, before
the party thought of breaking up.

The dispositions for the night were soon made. Rose
returned to her little room, where she could now sleep in
comfort, and without apprehension. The gentlemen made
the disposition of their persons, that circumstances allowed;
each finding something on which to repose, that was
preferable to a plank. As for the men, they were accustomed
to hard fare, and enjoyed their present good-luck, to
the top of their bent. It was quite late, before they had
done “spinning their yarns,” and “cracking their jokes,”
around the pot of turtle-soup, and the can of grog that
succeeded it. By half-past twelve, however, everybody
was asleep.

Mulford was the first person afoot the following morning.
He left the house just as the sun rose, and perceiving that
the “coast was clear” of sharks, he threw off his light attire,
and plunged into the sea. Refreshed with this indulgence,
he was returning toward the building, when he met
the chaplain coming in quest of him. This gentleman, a
man of real piety, and of great discretion, had been singularly
struck, on the preceding night, with the narrative of
our young mate; and he had not failed to note the allusions,
slight as they were, and delicately put as they had
been, to himself. He saw, at once, the propriety of marrying
a couple so situated, and now sought Harry, with a
view to bring about so desirable an event, by intimating his
entire willingness to officiate. It is scarcely necessary to
say that very few words were wanting, to persuade the
young man to fall into his views; and as to Rose, he had

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handed her a short note on the same subject, which he was
of opinion, would be likely to bring her to the same way
of thinking.

An hour later, all the officers, Harry and Rose, were assembled
in what might be termed the light-house parlour.
The Rev. Mr. Hollins had neither band, gown, nor surplice;
but he had what was far better, feeling and piety.
Without a prayer-book he never moved; and he read the
marriage ceremony with a solemnity that was communicated
to all present. The ring was that which had been
used at the marriage of Rose's parents, and which she wore
habitually, though not on the left hand. In a word, Harry
and Rose were as firmly and legally united, on that solitary
and almost unknown islet, as could have been the case,
had they stood up before the altar of mother Trinity itself,
with a bishop to officiate, and a legion of attendants. After
the compliments which succeeded the ceremony, the whole
party sat down to breakfast.

If the supper had been agreeable, the morning meal was
not less so. Rose was timid and blushing, as became a
bride, though she could not but feel how much more respectable
her position became under the protection of Harry
as his wife, than it had been while she was only his betrothed.
The most delicate deportment, on the part of her
companions, soon relieved her embarrassment however, and
the breakfast passed off without cause for an unhappy moment.

“The ship's standing in toward the light, sir,” reported
the cockswain of the cutter, as the party was still lingering
around the table, as if unwilling to bring so pleasant a meal
to a close. “Since the mist has broke away, we see her,
sir, even to her ports and dead-eyes.”

“In that case, Sam, she can't be very far off,” answered
Wallace. “Ay, there goes a gun from her, at this moment,
as much as to say, `what has become of all of my
boats?' Run down and let off a musket; perhaps she will
make out to hear that, as we must be rather to windward,
if anything.”

The signal was given and understood. A quarter of an
hour later, the Poughkeepsie began to shorten sail. Then
Wallace stationed himself in the cutter, in the centre of

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one of the passages, signalling the ship to come on. Ten
minutes later still, the noble craft came into the haven,
passing the still burning light, with her topsails just lifting,
and making a graceful sweep under very reduced sail, she
came to the wind, very near the spot where the Swash had
lain only ten hours before, and dropped an anchor.

eaf079v2.11. In the palmy days of the service, when Robert Smith was so
long Secretary of the Navy, the ship's whisky went by this familiar
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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 2 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v2].
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