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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 1 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v1].
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He sleeps; but dreams of massy gold,
And heaps of pearl. He stretch'd his hands—
He hears a voice—“Ill man withhold!”
A pale one near him stands.

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It was near night-fall when the Swash anchored among
the low and small islets mentioned. Rose had been on
deck, as the vessel approached this singular and solitary
haven, watching the movements of those on board, as well
as the appearance of objects on the land, with the interest
her situation would be-likely to awaken. She saw the light
and manageable craft glide through the narrow and crooked
passages that led into the port, the process of anchoring,
and the scene of tranquil solitude that succeeded; each following
the other as by a law of nature. The light-house
next attracted her attention, and, as soon as the sun disappeared,
her eyes were fastened on the lantern, in expectation
of beholding the watchful and warning fires gleaming
there, to give the mariner notice of the position of the dangers
that surrounded the place. Minute went by after
minute, however, and the customary illumination seemed to
be forgotten.

“Why is not this light shining?” Rose asked of Mulford,
as the young man came near her, after having discharged
his duty in helping to moor the vessel, and in clearing the
decks. “All the light-houses we have passed, and they
have been fifty, have shown bright lights at this hour, but

“I cannot explain it; nor have I the smallest notion
where we are. I have been aloft, and there was nothing
in sight but this cluster of low islets, far or near. I did
fancy, for a moment, I saw a speck like a distant sail, off
here, to the northward and eastward, but I rather think it
was a gull, or some other sea-bird glancing upward on the
wing. I mentioned it to the captain when I came down,

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and he appeared to believe it a mistake. I have watched
that light-house closely, too, ever since we came in, and I
have not seen the smallest sign of life about it. It is altogether
an extraordinary place!”

“One suited to acts of villany, I fear, Harry!”

“Of that we shall be better judges to-morrow. You, at
least, have one vigilant friend, who will die sooner than
harm shall come to you. I believe Spike to be thoroughly
unprincipled; still he knows he can go so far and no further,
and has a wholesome dread of the law. But the circumstance
that there should be such a port as this, with a
regular light-house, and no person near the last, is so much
out of the common way, that I do not know what to make
of it.”

“Perhaps the light-house keeper is afraid to show himself,
in the presence of the Swash?”

“That can hardly be, for vessels must often enter the
port, if port it can be called. But Spike is as much concerned
at the circumstance that the lamps are not lighted,
as any of us can be. Look, he is about to visit the building
in the boat, accompanied by two of his oldest sea-dogs.”

“Why might we not raise the anchor, and sail out of this
place, leaving Spike ashore?” suggested Rose, with more
decision and spirit than discretion.

“For the simple reason that the act would be piracy,
even if I could get the rest of the people to obey my orders,
as certainly I could not. No, Rose: you, and your aunt,
and Biddy, however, might land at these buildings, and
refuse to return, Spike having no authority over his passengers.”

“Still he would have the power to make us come back to
his brig. Look, he has left the vessel's side, and is going
directly toward the light-house.”

Mulford made no immediate answer, but remained at
Rose's side, watching the movements of the captain. The
last pulled directly to the islet with the buildings, a distance
of only a few hundred feet, the light-house being constructed
on a rocky island that was nearly in the centre of the cluster,
most probably to protect it from the ravages of the
waves. The fact, however, proved, as Mulford did not fail
to suggest to his companion, that the beacon had been

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erected less to guide vessels into the haven, than to warn
mariners at a distance, of the position of the whole group.

In less than five minutes after he had landed, Spike himself
was seen in the lantern, in the act of lighting its lamps.
In a very short time the place was in a brilliant blaze,
reflectors and all the other parts of the machinery of the
place performing their duties as regularly as if tended by
the usual keeper. Soon after Spike returned on board, and
the anchor-watch was set. Then everybody sought the
rest that it was customary to take at that hour.

Mulford was on deck with the appearance of the sun;
but he found that Spike had preceded him, had gone ashore
again, had extinguished the lamps, and was coming alongside
of the brig on his return. A minute later the captain
came over the side.

“You were right about your sail, last night, a'ter all,
Mr. Mulford,” said Spike, on coming aft. “There she is,
sure enough; and we shall have her alongside to strike
cargo out and in, by the time the people have got their

As Spike pointed toward the light-house while speaking,
the mate changed his position a little, and saw that a
schooner was coming down toward the islets before the
wind. Mulford now began to understand the motives of the
captain's proceedings, though a good deal yet remained
veiled in mystery. He could not tell where the brig was,
nor did he know precisely why so many expedients were
adopted to conceal the transfer of a cargo as simple as that
of flour. But he who was in the secret left but little time
for reflection; for swallowing a hasty breakfast on deck,
he issued orders enough to his mate to give him quite as
much duty as he could perform, when he again entered the
yawl, and pulled toward the stranger.

Rose soon appeared on deck, and she naturally began to
question Harry concerning their position and prospects.
He was confessing his ignorance, as well as lamenting it,
when his companion's sweet face suddenly flushed. She
advanced a step eagerly toward the open window of Spike's
state-room, then compressed her full, rich under-lip with the
ivory of her upper teeth, and stood a single instant, a beautiful
statue of irresolution instigated by spirit. The last

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quality prevailed; and Mulford was really startled when he
saw Rose advance quite to the window, thrust in an arm,
and turn toward him with his own sextant in her hand.
During the course of the passage out, the young man had
taught Rose to assist him in observing the longitude; and
she was now ready to repeat the practice. Not a moment
was lost in executing her intention. Sights were had, and
the instrument was returned to its place without attracting
the attention of the men, who were all busy in getting up
purchases, and in making the other necessary dispositions
for discharging the flour. The observations answered the
purpose, though somewhat imperfectly made. Mulford had
a tolerable notion of their latitude, having kept the brig's
run in his head since quitting Yutacan; and he now found
that their longitude was about 83 ° west from Greenwich.
After ascertaining this fact, a glance at the open chart,
which lay on Spike's desk, satisfied him that the vessel was
anchored within the group of the Dry Tortugas, or at the
western termination of the well-known, formidable, and extensive
Florida Reef. He had never been in that part of the
world before, but had heard enough in sea-gossip, and had
read enough in books, to be at once apprised of the true
character of their situation. The islets were American;
the light-house was American; and the haven in which the
Swash lay was the very spot in the contemplation of government
for an outer man-of-war harbour, where fleets might
rendezvous in the future wars of that portion of the world.
He now saw plainly enough the signs of the existence of a
vast reef, a short distance to the southward of the vessel,
that formed a species of sea-wall, or mole, to protect the
port against the waves of the gulf in that direction. This
reef he knew to be miles in width.

There was little time for speculation, Spike soon bringing
the strange schooner directly alongside of the brig. The
two vessels immediately became a scene of activity, one
discharging, and the other receiving the flour as fast as it
could be struck out of the hold of the Swash and lowered
upon the deck of the schooner. Mulford, however, had
practised a little artifice, as the stranger entered the haven,
which drew down upon him an anathema or two from
Spike, as soon as they were alone. The mate had set the

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brig's ensign, and this compelled the stranger to be markedly
rude, or to answer the compliment. Accordingly he
had shown the ancient flag of Spain. For thus extorting
a national symbol from the schooner, the mate was sharply
rebuked at a suitable moment, though nothing could have
been more forbearing than the deportment of his commander
when they first met.

When Spike returned to his own vessel, he was accompanied
by a dark-looking, well-dressed, and decidedly gentleman-like
personage, whom he addressed indifferently, in
his very imperfect Spanish, as Don Wan, (Don Juan, or
John,) or Señor Montefalderon. By the latter appellation
he even saw fit to introduce the very respectable-looking
stranger to his mate. This stranger spoke English well,
though with an accent.

“Don Wan has taken all the flour, Mr. Mulford, and
intends shoving it over into Cuba, without troubling the
custom-house, I believe; but that is not a matter to give us
any concern, you know.”

The wink, and the knowing look by which this speech
was accompanied, seemed particularly disagreeable to Don
Juan, who now paid his compliments to Rose, with no little
surprise betrayed in his countenance, but with the ease and
reserve of a gentleman. Mulford thought it strange that a
smuggler of flour should be so polished a personage, though
his duty did not admit of his bestowing much attention on
the little trifling of the interview that succeeded.

For about an hour the work went steadily and rapidly
on. During that time Mulford was several times on board
the schooner, as, indeed, was Josh, Jack Tier, and others
belonging to the Swash. The Spanish vessel was Baltimore,
or clipper built, with a trunk-cabin, and had every
appearance of sailing fast. Mulford was struck with her
model, and, while on board of her, he passed both forward
and aft to examine it. This was so natural in a seaman,
that Spike, while he noted the proceeding, took it in good
part. He even called out to his mate, from his own quarter-deck,
to admire this or that point in the schooner's construction.
As is customary with the vessels of southern
nations, this stranger was full of men, but they continued at
their work, some half dozen of brawny negroes among

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them, shouting their songs as they swayed at the falls, no
one appearing to manifest jealousy or concern. At length
Tier came near the mate, and said,

“Uncle Sam will not be pleased when he hears the reason
that the keeper is not in his light-house.”

“And what is that reason, Jack? If you know it, tell it to

“Go aft and look down the companion-way, maty, and
see it for yourself.”

Mulford did go aft, and he made an occasion to look down
into the schooner's cabin, where he caught a glimpse of the
persons of a man and a boy, whom he at once supposed had
been taken from the light-house. This one fact of itself
doubled his distrust of the character of Spike's proceedings.
There was no sufficient apparent reason why a mere smuggler
should care about the presence of an individual more or
less in a foreign port. Everything that had occurred, looked
like pre-concert between the brig and the schooner; and the
mate was just beginning to entertain the strongest distrust
that their vessel was holding treasonable communication
with the enemy, when an accident removed all doubt on the
subject, from his own mind at least. Spike had, once or
twice, given his opinion that the weather was treacherous,
and urged the people of both crafts to extraordinary exertions,
in order that the vessels might get clear of each other as
soon as possible. This appeal had set various expedients in
motion to second the more regular work of the purchases.
Among other things, planks had been laid from one vessel
to the other, and barrels were rolled along them with very
little attention to the speed or the direction. Several had
fallen on the schooner's deck with rude shocks, but no damage
was done, until one, of which the hoops had not been
properly secured, met with a fall, and burst nearly at Mulford's
feet. It was at the precise moment when the mate
was returning, from taking his glance into the cabin, toward
the side of the Swash. A white cloud arose, and half a
dozen of the schooner's people sprang for buckets, kids, or
dishes, in order to secure enough of the contents of the broken
barrel to furnish them with a meal. At first nothing
was visible but the white cloud that succeeded the fall, and
the scrambling sailors in its midst. No sooner, however, had

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the air got to be a little clear, than Mulford saw an object lying
in centre of the wreck, that he at once recognised for a keg of
the gunpowder! The captain of the schooner seized this keg,
gave a knowing look at Mulford, and disappeared in the hold
of his own vessel, carrying with him, what was out of all
question, a most material part of the true cargo of the Swash.

At the moment when the flour-barrel burst, Spike was below,
in close conference with his Spanish, or Mexican guest;
and the wreck being so soon cleared away, it is probable
that he never heard of the accident. As for the two crews,
they laughed a little among themselves at the revelation
which had been made, as well as at the manner; but to old
sea-dogs like them, it was a matter of very little moment,
whether the cargo was, in reality, flour or gunpowder. In a
few minutes the affair seemed to be forgotten. In the course of
another hour the Swash was light, having nothing in her but
some pig-lead, which she used for ballast, while the schooner
was loaded to her hatches, and full. Spike now sent a boat,
with orders to drop a kedge about a hundred yards from the
place where his own brig lay. The schooner warped up to
this kedge, and dropped an anchor of her own, leaving a very
short range of cable out, it being a flat calm. Ordinarily,
the trades prevail at the Dry Tortugas, and all along the
Florida Reef. Sometimes, indeed, this breeze sweeps across
the whole width of the Gulf of Mexico, blowing home, as it
is called—reaching even to the coast of Texas. It is subject,
however, to occasional interruptions everywhere, varying
many points in its direction, and occasionally ceasing entirely.
The latter was the condition of the weather about
noon on this day, or when the schooner hauled off from the
brig, and was secured at her own anchor.

“Mr. Mulford,” said Spike, “I do not like the state of the
atmosphere. D'ye see that fiery streak along the western
horizon—well, sir, as the sun gets nearer to that streak,
there'll be trouble, or I'm no judge of weather.”

“You surely do not imagine, Captain Spike, that the sun
will be any nearer to that fiery streak, as you call it, when
he is about to set, than he is at this moment?” answered the
mate, smiling.

“I'm sure of one thing, young man, and that is, that old
heads are better than young ones. What a man has once

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seen, he may expect to see again, if the same leading signs
offer. Man the boat, sir, and carry out the kedge, which is
still in it, and lay it off here, about three p'ints on our larboard

Mulford had a profound respect for Spike's seamanship,
whatever he might think of his principles. The order was
consequently obeyed. The mate was then directed to send
down various articles out of the top, and to get the top-gallant
and royal yards on deck. Spike carried his precautions
so far, as to have the mainsail lowered, it ordinarily brailing
at that season of the year, with a standing gaff. With
this disposition completed, the captain seemed more at his
ease, and went below to join Señor Montefalderon in a siesta.
The Mexican, for such, in truth, was the national character
of the owner of the schooner, had preceded him in this indulgence;
and most of the people of the brig having laid themselves
down to sleep under the heat of the hour, Mulford
soon enjoyed another favourable opportunity for a private
conference with Rose.

“Harry,” commenced the latter, as soon as they were
alone; “I have much to tell you. While you have been
absent I have overheard a conversation between this Spanish
gentleman and Spike, that shows the last is in treaty
with the other for the sale of the brig. Spike extolled his
vessel to the skies, while Don Wan, as he calls him, complains
that the brig is old, and cannot last long; to which
Spike answered `to be sure she is old, Señor Montefalderon,
but she will last as long as your war, and under a bold captain
might be made to return her cost a hundred fold!'
What war can he mean, and to what does such a discourse

“The war alludes to the war now existing between America
and Mexico, and the money to be made is to be plundered
at sea, from our own merchant-vessels. If Don Juan
Montefalderon is really in treaty for the purchase of the brig,
it is to convert her into a Mexican cruiser, either public or

“But this would be treason on the part of Spike!”

“Not more so than supplying the enemy with gunpowder,
as he has just been doing. I have ascertained the reason
he was so unwilling to be overhauled by the revenue

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steamer, as well as the reason why the revenue steamer
wished so earnestly to overhaul us. Each barrel of flour
contains another of gunpowder, and that has been sold to
this Señor Montefalderon, who is doubtless an officer of the
Mexican government, and no smuggler.”

“He has been at New York, this very summer, I know,”
continued Rose, “for he spoke of his visit, and made such
other remarks, as leaves no doubt that Spike expected to
find him here, on this very day of the month. He also paid
Spike a large sum of money in doubloons, and took back
the bag to his schooner, when he had done so, after showing
the captain enough was left to pay for the brig could
they only agree on the terms of their bargain.”

“Ay, ay; it is all plain enough now, Spike has determined
on a desperate push for fortune, and foreseeing it
might not soon be in his power to return to New York in
safety, he has included his designs on you and your fortune,
in the plot.”

“My fortune! the trifle I possess can scarcely be called
a fortune, Harry!”

“It would be a fortune to Spike, Rose; and I shall be
honest enough to own it would be a fortune to me. I say
this frankly, for I do believe you think too well of me to
suppose that I seek you for any other reason than the ardent
love I bear your person and character; but a fact is
not to be denied because it may lead certain persons to distrust
our motives. Spike is poor, like myself; and the brig
is not only getting to be very old, but she has been losing
money for the last twelve months.”

Mulford and Rose now conversed long and confidentially,
on their situation and prospects. The mate neither magnified
nor concealed the dangers of both; but freely pointed
out the risk to himself, in being on board a vessel that was
aiding and comforting the enemy. It was determined between
there that both would quit the brig the moment an
opportunity offered; and the mate even went so far as to
propose an attempt to escape in one of the boats, although
he might incur the hazards of a double accusation, those of
mutiny and larceny, for making the experiment. Unfortunately,
neither Rose, nor her aunt, nor Biddy, nor Jack
Tier had seen the barrel of powder, and neither could testify

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as to the true character of Spike's connection with the
schooner. It was manifestly necessary, therefore, independently
of the risks that might be run by “bearding the lion
in his den,” to proceed with great intelligence and caution.

This dialogue between Harry and Rose, occurred just
after the turn in the day, and lasted fully an hour. Each
had been too much interested to observe the heavens, but,
as they were on the point of separating, Rose pointed out to
her companion the unusual and most menacing aspect of
the sky in the western horizon. It appeared as if a fiery
heat was glowing there, behind a curtain of black vapour;
and what rendered it more remarkable, was the circumstance
that an extraordinary degree of placidity prevailed in all
other parts of the heavens. Mulford scarce knew what to
make of it; his experience not going so far as to enable him
to explain the novel and alarming appearance. He stepped
on a gun, and gazed around him for a moment. There lay
the schooner, without a being visible on board of her, and
there stood the light-house, gloomy in its desertion and solitude.
The birds alone seemed to be alive and conscious of
what was approaching. They were all on the wing, wheeling
wildly in the air, and screaming discordantly, as belonged
to their habits. The young man leaped off the gun,
gave a loud call to Spike, at the companion-way, and sprang
forward to call all hands.

One minute only was lost, when every seaman on board
the Swash, from the captain to Jack Tier, was on deck.
Mulford met Spike at the cabin door, and pointed toward the
fiery column, that was booming down upon the anchorage,
with a velocity and direction that would now admit of no
misinterpretation. For one instant that sturdy old seaman
stood aghast; gazing at the enemy as one conscious of his
impotency might have been supposed to quail before an assault
that he foresaw must prove irresistible. Then his
native spirit, and most of all the effects of training, began
to show themselves in him, and he became at once, not only
the man again, but the resolute, practised, and ready commander.

“Come aft to the spring, men—” he shouted—“clap on
the spring, Mr. Mulford, and bring the brig head to wind.”

This order was obeyed as seamen best obey, in cases of

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sudden and extreme emergency; or with intelligence, aptitude
and power. The brig had swung nearly round, in the
desired direction, when the tornado struck her. It will be
difficult, we do not know but it is impossible, to give a clear and
accurate account of what followed. As most of our readers
have doubtless felt how great is the power of the wind, whiffling
and pressing different ways, in sudden and passing
gusts, they have only to imagine this power increased many,
many fold, and the baffling currents made furious, as it
might be, by meeting with resistance, to form some notion
of the appalling strength and frightful inconstancy with
which it blew for about a minute.

Notwithstanding the circumstance of Spike's precaution
had greatly lessened the danger, every man on the deck of
the Swash believed the brig was gone when the gust struck
her. Over she went, in fact, until the water came pouring
in above her half-ports, like so many little cascades, and
spouting up through her scupper-holes, resembling the blowing
of young whales. It was the whiffling energy of the
tornado that alone saved her. As if disappointed in not
destroying its intended victim at one swoop, the tornado “let
up” in its pressure, like a dexterous wrestler, making a fresh
and desperate effort to overturn the vessel, by a slight variation
in its course. That change saved the Swash. She
righted, and even rolled in the other direction, or what might
be called to windward, with her decks full of water. For a
minute longer these baffling, changing gusts continued, each
causing the brig to bow like a reed to their power, one lifting
as another pressed her down, and then the weight, or
the more dangerous part of the tornado was passed, though
it continued to blow heavily, always in whiffling blasts,
several minutes longer.

During the weight of the gust, no one had leisure, or indeed
inclination to look to aught beyond its effect on the brig.
Had one been otherwise disposed, the attempt would have
been useless, for the wind had filled the air with spray, and
near the islets even with sand. The lurid but fiery tinge,
too, interposed a veil that no human eye could penetrate.
As the tornado passed onward, however, and the winds
lulled, the air again became clear, and in five minutes after
the moment when the Swash lay nearly on her side, with

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her lower yard-arm actually within a few feet of the water,
all was still and placid around her, as one is accustomed to
see the ocean in a calm, of a summer's afternoon. Then it
was that those who had been in such extreme jeopardy
could breathe freely and look about them. On board the
Swash all was well—not a rope-yarn had parted, or an eyebolt
drawn. The timely precautions of Spike had saved
his brig, and great was his joy thereat.

In the midst of the infernal din of the tornado, screams
had ascended from the cabin, and the instant he could quit
the deck with propriety, Mulford sprang below, in order to
ascertain their cause. He apprehended that some of the
females had been driven to leeward when the brig went
over, and that part of the luggage or furniture had fallen
on them. In the main cabin, the mate found Señor Montefalderon
just quitting his berth, composed, gentleman-like,
and collected. Josh was braced in a corner nearly grey
with fear, while Jack Tier still lay on the cabin floor, at the
last point to which he had rolled. One word sufficed to let
Don Juan know that the gust had passed, and the brig was
safe, when Mulford tapped at the deor of the inner cabin.
Rose appeared, pale, but calm and unhurt.

“Is any one injured?” asked the young man, his mind
relieved at once, as soon as he saw that she who most occupied
his thoughts was safe; “we heard screams from this

“My aunt and Biddy have been frightened,” answered
Rose, “but neither has been hurt. Oh, Harry, what terrible
thing has happened to us? I heard the roaring of—”

“ 'T was a tornado,” interrupted Mulford eagerly, “but
't is over. 'T was one of those sudden and tremendous gusts
that sometimes occur within the tropics, in which the danger
is usually in the first shock. If no one is injured in this
cabin, no one is injured at all.”

“Oh, Mr. Mulford—dear Mr. Mulford!” exclaimed the
relict, from the corner into which she had been followed
and jammed by Biddy, “Oh, Mr. Mulford, are we foundered
or not?”

“Heaven be praised, not, my dear ma'am, though we
came nearer to it than I ever was before.”

“Are we cap-asided?”

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“Nor that, Mrs. Budd; the brig is as upright as a church.”

“Upright!” repeated Biddy, in her customary accent,—
“is it as a church? Sure, then, Mr. Mate, 't is a Presbyterian
church that you mane, and that is always totterin'.”

“Catholic, or Dutch—no church in York is more completely
up and down than the brig at this moment.”

“Get off of me—get off of me, Biddy, and let me rise,”
said the widow, with dignity. “The danger is over I see,
and, as we return our thanks for it, we have the consolation
of knowing that we have done our duty. It is incumbent
on all, at such moments, to be at their posts, and to set
examples of decision and prudence.”

As Mulford saw all was well in the cabin, he hastened on
deck, followed by Señor Montefalderon. Just as they
emerged from the companion-way, Spike was hailing the

“Forecastle, there,” he cried, standing on the trunk himself
as he did so, and moving from side to side, as if to catch
a glimpse of some object ahead.

“Sir,” came back from an old salt, who was coiling up
rigging in that seat of seamanship.

“Where-away is the schooner? She ought to be dead
ahead of us, as we tend now—but blast me if I can see as
much as her mast-heads.”

At this suggestion, a dozen men sprang upon guns or
other objects, to look for the vessel in question. The old
salt forward, however, had much the best chance, for he
stepped on the heel of the bowsprit, and walked as far out
as the knight-heads, to command the whole view ahead of
the brig. There he stood half a minute, looking first on
one side of the head-gear, then the other, when he gave his
trousers a hitch, put a fresh quid in his mouth, and called
out in a voice almost as hoarse as the tempest, that had just
gone by,

“The schooner has gone down at her anchor, sir.
There's her buoy watching still, as if nothing had happened;
but as for the craft itself, there's not so much as a bloody
yard-arm, or mast-head of her to be seen!”

This news produced a sensation in the brig at once, as
may be supposed. Even Señor Montefalderon, a quiet,
gentleman-like person, altogether superior in deportment to

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the bustle and fuss that usually marks the manners of persons
in trade, was disturbed; for to him the blow was heavy
indeed. Whether he were acting for himself, or was an
agent of the Mexican government, the loss was much the

“Tom is right enough,” put in Spike, rather coolly for
the circumstances—“that there schooner of yourn has foundered,
Don Wan, as any one can see. She must have capsized
and filled, for I obsarved they had left the hatches off,
meaning, no doubt, to make an end of the storage as soon
as they had done sleeping.”

“And what has become of all her men, Don Esteban?”
for so the Mexican politely called his companion. “Have
all my poor countrymen perished in this disaster?”

“I fear they have, Don Wan; for I see no head, as of
any one swimming. The vessel lay so near that island
next to it, that a poor swimmer would have no difficulty in
reaching the place; but there is no living thing to be seen.
But man the boat, men; we will go to the spot, Señor, and
examine for ourselves.”

There were two boats in the water, and along-side of the
brig. One was the Swash's yawl, a small but convenient
craft, while the other was much larger, fitted with a sail,
and had all the appearance of having been built to withstand
breezes and seas. Mulford felt perfectly satisfied, the moment
he saw this boat, which had come into the haven in
tow of the schooner, that it had been originally in the service
of the light-house keeper. As there was a very general
desire among those on the quarter-deck to go to the assistance
of the schooner, Spike ordered both boats manned,
jumping into the yawl himself, accompanied by Don Juan
Montefalderon, and telling Mulford to follow with the larger
craft, bringing with him as many of the females as might
choose to accompany him. As Mrs. Budd thought it incumbent
on her to be active in such a scene, all did go,
including Biddy, though with great reluctance on the part
of Rose.

With the buoy for a guide, Spike had no difficulty in
finding the spot where the schooner lay. She had scarcely
shifted her berth in the least, there having been no time for
her even to swing to the gust, but she had probably

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capsized at the first blast, filled, and gone down instantly.
The water was nearly as clear as the calm, mild atmosphere
of the tropics; and it was almost as easy to discern the
vessel, and all her hamper, as if she lay on a beach. She
had sunk as she filled, or on her side, and still continued in
that position. As the water was little more than three
fathoms deep, the upper side was submerged but a few
inches, and her yard-arms would have been out of the
water, but for the circumstance that the yards had canted
under the pressure.

At first, no sign was seen of any of those who had been
on board this ill-fated schooner when she went down. It
was known that twenty-one souls were in her, including the
man and the boy who had belonged to the light-house. As
the boat moved slowly over this sad ruin, however, a horrible
and startling spectacle came in view. Two bodies were
seen, within a few feet of the surface of the water, one
grasped in the arms of the other, in the gripe of despair.
The man held in the grasp, was kept beneath the water
solely by the death-lock of his companion, who was himself
held where he floated, by the circumstance that one of his
feet was entangled in a rope. The struggle could not have
been long over, for the two bodies were slowly settling
toward the bottom when first seen. It is probable that both
these men had more than once risen to the surface in their
dreadful struggle. Spike seized a boat-hook, and made an
effort to catch the clothes of the nearest body, but ineffectually,
both sinking to the sands beneath, lifeless, and without
motion. There being no sharks in sight, Mulford volunteered
to dive and fasten a line to one of these unfortunate
men, whom Don Juan declared at once was the schooner's
captain. Some little time was lost in procuring a lead-line
from the brig, when the lead was dropped alongside of the
drowned. Provided with another piece of the same sort of
line, which had a small running bowline around that which
was fastened to the lead, the mate made his plunge, and
went down with great vigour of arm. It required resolution
and steadiness to descend so far into salt water; but Harry
succeeded, and rose with the bodies, which came up with
the slightest impulse. All were immediately got into the

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boat, and away the latter went toward the light-house, which
was nearer and more easy of access than the brig.

It is probable that one of these unfortunate men might
have been revived under judicious treatment; but he was
not fated to receive it. Spike, who knew nothing of such
matters, undertook to direct everything, and, instead of
having recourse to warmth and gentle treatment, he ordered
the bodies to be rolled on a cask, suspended them by the
heels, and resorted to a sort of practice that might have destroyed
well men, instead of resuscitating those in whom
the vital spark was dormant, if not actually extinct.

Two hours later, Rose, seated in her own cabin, unavoidably
overheard the following dialogue, which passed in
English, a language that Señor Montefalderon spoke perfectly
well, as has been said.

“Well, Señor,” said Spike, “I hope this little accident
will not prevent our final trade. You will want the brig
now, to take the schooner's place.”

“And how am I to pay you for the brig, Señor Spike,
even if I buy her?”

“I'll ventur' to guess there is plenty of money in Mexico.
Though they do say the government is so backward
about paying, I have always found you punctual, and am
not afraid to put faith in you ag'in.”

“But I have no longer any money to pay you half in
hand, as I did for the powder, when last in New York.”

“The bag was pretty well lined with doubloons when I
saw it last, Señor.”

“And do you know where that bag is; and where there
is another that holds the same sum?”

Spike started, and he mused in silence some little time,
ere he again spoke.

“I had forgotten,” he at length answered. “The gold
must have all gone down in the schooner, along with the

“And the poor men!”

“Why, as for the men, Señor, more may be had for the
asking; but powder and doubloons will be hard to find,
when most wanted. Then the men were poor men, accordin'
to my idees of what an able seaman should be, or they

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never would have let their schooner turn turtle with them
as she did.”

“We will talk of the money, Don Esteban, if you please,”
said the Mexican, with reserve.

“With all my heart, Don Wan—nothing is more agreeable
to me than money. How many of them doubloons
shall fall to my share, if I raise the schooner and put you
in possession of your craft again?”

“Can that be done, Señor?” demanded Don Juan earnestly.

“A seaman can do almost anything, in that way, Don
Wan, if you will give him time and means. For one-half
the doubloons I can find in the wrack, the job shall be

“You can have them,” answered Don Juan, quietly, a
good deal surprised that Spike should deem it necessary to
offer him any part of the sum he might find. “As for the
powder, I suppose that is lost to my country.”

“Not at all, Don Wan. The flour is well packed around
it, and I don't expect it would take any harm in a month.
I shall not only turn over the flour to you, just as if nothing
had happened, but I shall put four first-rate hands aboard
your schooner, who will take her into port for you, with a
good deal more sartainty than forty of the men you had.
My mate is a prime navigator.”

This concluded the bargain, every word of which was
heard by Rose, and every word of which she did not fail to
communicate to Mulford, the moment there was an opportunity.
The young man heard it with great interest, telling
Rose that he should do all he could to assist in raising the
schooner, in the hope that something might turn up to enable
him to escape in her, taking off Rose and her aunt. As
for his carrying her into a Mexican port, let them trust him
for that! Agreeably to the arrangement, orders were given
that afternoon to commence the necessary preparations for
the work, and considerable progress was made in them by
the time the Swash's people were ordered to knock off work
for the night.

After the sun had set, the reaction in the currents again
commenced, and it blew for a few hours heavily, during the
night. Toward morning, however, it moderated, and when

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the sun re-appeared it scarcely ever diffused its rays over a
more peaceful or quiet day. Spike caused all hands to be
called, and immediately set about the important business he
had before him.

In order that the vessel might be as free as possible,
Jack Tier was directed to skull the females ashore, in the
brig's yawl; Señor Montefalderon, a man of polished manners,
as we maintain is very apt to be the case with Mexican
gentlemen, whatever may be the opinion of this good
republic on the subject just at this moment, asked permission
to be of the party. Mulford found an opportunity to
beg Rose, if they landed at the light, to reconnoitre the
place well, with a view to ascertain what facilities it could
afford in an attempt to escape. They did land at the light,
and glad enough were Mrs. Budd, Rose and Biddy to place
their feet on terrá firmâ after so long a confinement to the
narrow limits of a vessel.

“Well,” said Jack Tier, as they walked up to the spot
where the buildings stood, “this is a rum place for a light'us,
Miss Rose, and I don't wonder the keeper and his messmates
has cleared out.”

“I am very sorry to say,” observed Señor Montefalderon,
whose countenance expressed the concern he really felt,
“that the keeper and his only companion, a boy, were on
board the schooner, and have perished in her, in common
with so many of my poor countrymen. There are the
graves of two whom we buried here last evening, after vain
efforts to restore them to life!”

“What a dreadful catastrophe it has been, Señor,” said
Rose, whose sweet countenance eloquently expressed the
horror and regret she so naturally felt—“Twenty fellow-beings
hurried into eternity without even an instant for

“You feel for them, Señorita—it is natural you should,
and it is natural that I, their countryman and leader, should
feel for them, also. I do not know what God has in reserve
for my unfortunate country! We may have cruel and unscrupulous
men among us, Señorita, but we have thousands
who are just, and brave, and honourable.”

“So Mr. Mulford tells me, Señor; and he has been much
in your ports, on the west coast.”

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“I like that young man, and wonder not a little at his
and your situation in this brig—” rejoined the Mexican,
dropping his voice so as not to be heard by their companions,
as they walked a little ahead of Mrs. Budd and Biddy.
“The Señor Spike is scarcely worthy to be his commander
or your guardian.”

“Yet you find him worthy of your intercourse and trust,
Don Juan?”

The Mexican shrugged his shoulders, and smiled equivocally;
still, in a melancholy manner. It would seem he
did not deem it wise to push this branch of the subject further,
since he turned to another.

“I like the Señor Mulford,” he resumed, “for his general
deportment and principles, so far as I can judge of him
on so short an acquaintance.”

“Excuse me, Señor,” interrupted Rose, hurriedly—“but
you never saw him until you met him here.”

“Never—I understand you, Señorita, and can do full
justice to the young man's character. I am willing to think
he did not know the errand of his vessel, or I should not
have seen him now. But what I most like him for, is this:
Last night, during the gale, he and I walked the deck together,
for an hour. We talked of Mexico, and of this war,
so unfortunate for my country already, and which may become
still more so, when he uttered this noble sentiment—
`My country is more powerful than yours, Señor Montefalderon,
' he said, `and in this it has been more favoured by
God. You have suffered from ambitious rulers, and from
military rule, while we have been advancing under the arts
of peace, favoured by a most beneficent Providence. As
for this war, I know but little about it, though I dare say
the Mexican government may have been wrong in some
things that it might have controlled and some that it might
not—but let right be where it will, I am sorry to see a
nation that has taken so firm a stand in favour of popular
government, pressed upon so hard by another that is supposed
to be the great support of such principles. America
and Mexico are neighbours, and ought to be friends; and
while I do not, cannot blame my own country for pursuing
the war with vigour, nothing would please me more than to
hear peace proclaimed.' ”

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“That is just like Harry Mulford,” said Rose, thoughtfully,
as soon as her companion ceased to speak. “I do
wish, Señor, that there could be no use for this powder, that
is now buried in the sea.”

Don Juan Montefalderon smiled, and seemed a little surprised
that the fair young thing at his side should have
known of the treacherous contents of the flour-barrels. No
doubt he found it inexplicable, that persons like Rose and
Mulford should, seemingly, be united with one like Spike;
but he was too well bred, and, indeed, too effectually mystified,
to push the subject further than might be discreet.

By this time they were near the entrance of the light-house,
into which the whole party entered, in a sort of mute
awe at its silence and solitude. At Señor Montefalderon's
invitation, they ascended to the lantern, whence they could
command a wide and fair view of the surrounding waters.
The reef was much more apparent from that elevation than
from below; and Rose could see that numbers of its rocks
were bare, while on other parts of it there was the appearance
of many feet of water. Rose gazed at it with longing
eyes, for, from a few remarks that had fallen from Mulford,
she suspected he had hopes of escaping among its channels
and coral.

As they descended and walked through the buildings,
Rose also took good heed of the supplies the place afforded.
There were flour, and beef, and pork, and many other of the
common articles of food, as well as water in a cistern, that
caught it as it flowed from the roof of the dwelling. Water
was also to be found in casks—nothing like a spring or a
well existing among those islets. All these things Rose
noted, putting them aside in her memory for ready reference

In the mean time the mariners were not idle. Spike
moved his brig, and moored her, head and stern, alongside
of the wreck, before the people got their breakfasts. As
soon as that meal was ended, both captain and mate set
about their duty in earnest. Mulford carried out an anchor
on the off-side of the Swash, and dropped it at a distance of
about eighty fathoms from the vessel's beam. Purchases
were brought from both mast-heads of the brig to the chain
of this anchor, and were hove upon until the vessel was

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given a heel of more than a streak, and the cable was tolerably
taut. Other purchases were got up opposite, and
overhauled down, in readiness to take hold of the schooner's
masts. The anchor of the schooner was weighed by its
buoy-rope, and the chain, after being rove through the
upper or opposite hawse-hole, brought in on board the
Swash. Another chain was dropped astern, in such a way,
that when the schooner came upright, it would be sure to
pass beneath her keel, some six or eight feet from the rudder.
Slings were then sunk over the mast-heads, and the
purchases were hooked on. Hours were consumed in these
preliminary labours, and the people went to dinner as soon
as they were completed.

When the men had dined, Spike brought one of his purchases
to the windlass, and the other to the capstan, though
not until each was bowsed taut by hand; a few minutes
having brought the strain so far on everything, as to enable
a seaman, like Spike, to form some judgment of the likelihood
that his preventers and purchases would stand. Some
changes were found necessary to equalize the strain, but,
on the whole, the captain was satisfied with his work, and
the crew were soon ordered to “heave-away; the windlass

In the course of half an hour the hull of the vessel, which
lay on its bilge, began to turn on its keel, and the heads of
the spars to rise above the water. This was the easiest
part of the process, all that was required of the purchases
being to turn over a mass which rested on the sands of the
bay. Aided by the long levers afforded by the spars, the
work advanced so rapidly, that, in just one hour's time after
his people had begun to heave, Spike had the pleasure to
see the schooner standing upright, alongside of his own brig,
though still sunk to the bottom. The wreck was secured
in this position, by means of guys and preventers, in order
that it might not again cant, when the order was issued to
hook on the slings that were to raise it to the surface.
These slings were the chains of the schooner, one of which
went under her keel, while for the other the captain trusted
to the strength of the two hawse-holes, having passed the
cable out of one and in at the other, in a way to serve his
purposes, as has just been stated.

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When all was ready, Spike mustered his crew, and made
a speech. He told the men that he was about a job that
was out of the usual line of their duty, and that he knew
they had a right to expect extra pay for such extra work.
The schooner contained money, and his object was to get
at it. If he succeeded, their reward would be a doubloon a
man, which would be earning more than a month's wages
by twenty-four hours' work. This was enough. The men
wanted to hear no more; but they cheered their commander,
and set about their task in the happiest disposition possible.

The reader will understand that the object to be first
achieved, was to raise a vessel, with a hold filled with flour
and gunpowder, from off the bottom of the bay to its surface.
As she stood, the deck of this vessel was about six feet under
water, and every one will understand that her weight,
so long as it was submerged in a fluid as dense as that of
the sea, would be much more manageable than if suspended
in air. The barrels, for instance, were not much heavier
than the water they displaced, and the wood work of the
vessel itself, was, on the whole, positively lighter than the
element in which it had sunk. As for the water in the hold,
that was of the same weight as the water on the outside of
tne craft, and there had not been much to carry the schooner
down, beside her iron, the spars that were out of water, and
her ballast. This last, some ten or twelve tons in weight,
was in fact the principal difficulty, and alone induced Spike
to have any doubts about his eventual success. There was
no foreseeing the result until he had made a trial, however;
and the order was again given to “heave away.”

To the infinite satisfaction of the Swash's crew, the weight
was found quite manageable, so long as the hull remained
beneath the water. Mulford, with three or four assistants,
was kept on board the schooner lightening her, by getting
the other anchor off her bows, and throwing the different
objects overboard, or on the decks of the brig. By the time
the bulwarks reached the surface, as much was gained in
this way, as was lost by having so much of the lighter woodwork
rise above the water. As a matter of course, however,
the weight increased as the vessel rose, and more especially
as the lower portion of the spars, the bowsprit, boom,

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&c., from being buoyant assistants, became so much dead
weight to be lifted.

Spike kept a watchful eye on his spars, and the extra supports
he had given them. He was moving, the whole time,
from point to point, feeling shrouds and back-stays, and preventers,
in order to ascertain the degree of strain on each,
or examining how the purchases stood. As for the crew,
they cheered at their toil, incessantly, passing from capstan
bars to the handspikes, and vice versâ. They, too, felt that
their task was increasing in resistance as it advanced, and
now found it more difficult to gain an inch, than it had been
at first to gain a foot. They seemed, indeed, to be heaving
their own vessel out, instead of heaving the other craft
up, and it was not long before they had the Swash heeling
over toward the wreck several streaks. The strain, moreover,
on everything, became not only severe, but somewhat
menacing. Every shroud, back-stay, and preventer was as
taut as a bar of iron, and the chain-cable that led to the
anchor planted off abeam, was as straight as if the brig were
riding by it in a gale of wind. One or two ominous surges
aloft, too, had been heard, and, though no more than straps
and slings settling into their places under hard strains, they
served to remind the crew that danger might come from that
quarter. Such was the state of things, when Spike called
out to “heave and pall,” that he might take a look at the
condition of the wreck.

Although a great deal remained to be done, in order to
get the schooner to float, a great deal had already been done.
Her precise condition was as follows: Having no cabin windows,
the water had entered her, when she capsized, by the
only four apertures her construction possessed. These were
the companion-way, or cabin-doors; the sky-light; the
main-hatch, or the large inlet amid-ships, by which cargo
went up and down; and the booby-hatch, which was the
counterpart of the companion-way, forward; being intended
to admit of ingress to the forecastle, the apartment of the
crew. Each of these hatch-ways, or orifices, had the usual
defences of “coamings,” strong frame-work around their
margins. These coamings rose six or eight inches above
the deck, and answered the double purpose of strengthening
the vessel, in a part, that without them would be weaker

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han common, and of preventing any water that might be
washing about the decks from running below. As soon,
therefore, as these three apertures, or their coamings, could
be raised above the level of the water of the basin, all danger
of the vessel's receiving any further tribute of that sort
from the ocean would be over. It was to this end, consequently,
that Spike's efforts had been latterly directed,
though they had only in part succeeded. The schooner
possessed a good deal of sheer, as it is termed; or, her two
extremities rose nearly a foot above her centre, when on an
even keel. This had brought her extremities first to the
surface, and it was the additional weight which had consequently
been brought into the air that had so much increased
the strain, and induced Spike to pause. The deck forward,
as far aft as the foremast, and aft as far forward as the
centre of the trunk, or to the sky-light, was above the water,
or at least awash; while all the rest of it was covered. In
the vicinity of the main-hatch there were several inches of
water; enough indeed to leave the upper edge of the coamings
submerged by about an inch. To raise the keel that
inch by means of the purchases, Spike well knew would
cost him more labour, and would incur more risk than all
that had been done previously, and he paused before he
would attempt it.

The men were now called from the brig and ordered to
come on board the schooner. Spike ascertained by actual
measurement how much was wanted to bring the coamings
of the main-hatch above the water, until which, he knew,
pumping and bailing would be useless. He found it was
quite an inch, and was at a great loss to know how that
inch should be obtained. Mulford advised another trial with
the handspikes and bars, but to this Spike would not consent.
He believed that the masts of the brig had already as
much pressure on them as they would bear. The mate
next proposed getting the main boom off the vessel, and to
lighten the craft by cutting away her bowsprit and masts.
The captain was well enough disposed to do this, but he
doubted whether it would meet with the approbation of “Don
Wan,” who was still ashore with Rose and her aunt, and
who probably looked forward to recovering his gunpowder

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by means of those very spars. At length the carpenter hit
upon a plan that was adopted.

This plan was very simple, though it had its own ingenuity.
It will be remembered that water could now only
enter the vessel's hold at the main-hatch, all the other
hatchways having their coamings above the element. The
carpenter proposed, therefore, that the main-hatches, which
had been off when the tornado occurred, but which had been
found on deck when the vessel righted, should now be put
on, oakum being first laid along in their rabbetings, and
that the cracks should be stuffed with additional oakum, to
exclude as much water as possible. He thought that two
or three men, by using caulking irons for ten minutes, would
make the hatch-way so tight that very little water would
penetrate. While this was doing, he himself would bore as
many holes forward and aft as he could, with a two inch
auger, out of which the water then in the vessel would be
certain to run. Spike was delighted with this project, and
gave the necessary orders on the spot.

This much must be said of the crew of the Molly Swash—
whatever they did in their own profession, they did intelligently
and well. On the present occasion they maintained
their claim to this character, and were both active and expert.
The hatches were soon on, and, in an imperfect
manner, caulked. While this was doing, the carpenter got
into a boat, and going under the schooner's bows, where a
whole plank was out of water, he chose a spot between two
of the timbers, and bored a hole as near the surface of the
water as he dared to do. Not satisfied with one hole, however,
he bored many—choosing both sides of the vessel to
make them, and putting some aft as well as forward. In a
word, in the course of twenty minutes the schooner was
tapped in at least a dozen places, and jets of water, two
inches in diameter, were spouting from her on each bow,
and under each quarter.

Spike and Mulford noted the effect. Some water, doubtless,
still worked itself into the vessel about the main-hatch,
but that more flowed from her by means of the outlets just
named, was quite apparent. After close watching at the
outlets for some time, Spike was convinced that the schooner
was slowly rising, the intense strain that still came from the

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brig producing that effect as the vessel gradually became
lighter. By the end of half an hour, there could be no
longer any doubt, the holes, which had been bored within an
inch of the water, being now fully two inches above it. The
auger was applied anew, still nearer to the surface of the
sea, and as fresh outlets were made, those that began to
manifest a dulness in their streams were carefully plugged.

Spike now thought it was time to take a look at the state
of things on deck. Here, to his joy, he ascertained that the
coamings had actually risen a little above the water. The
reader is not to suppose by this rising of the vessel, that she
had become sufficiently buoyant, in consequence of the
water that had run out of her, to float of herself. This was
far from being the case; but the constant upward pressure
from the brig, which, on mechanical principles, tended constantly
to bring that craft upright, had the effect to lift the
schooner as the latter was gradually relieved from the
weight that pressed her toward the bottom.

The hatches were next removed, when it was found that
the water in the schooner's hold had so far lowered, as to
leave a vacant space of quite a foot between the lowest part
of the deck and its surface. Toward the two extremities
of the vessel this space necessarily was much increased, in
consequence of the sheer. Men were now sent into the
hatchway with orders to hook on to the flour-barrels—a
whip having been rigged in readiness to hoist them on deck.
At the same time gangs were sent to the pumps, though
Spike still depended for getting rid of the water somewhat
on the auger—the carpenter continuing to bore and plug
his holes as new opportunities offered, and the old outlets
became useless. It was true this expedient would soon
cease, for the water having found its level in the vessel's
hold, was very nearly on a level also with that on the outside.
Bailing also was commenced, both forward and aft.

Spike's next material advantage was obtained by means
of the cargo. By the time the sun had set, fully two hundred
barrels had been rolled into the hatchway, and passed
on deck, whence about half of them were sent in the light-house
boat to the nearest islet, and the remainder were
transferred to the deck of the brig. These last were placed
on the off side of the Swash, and aided in bringing her

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nearer upright. A great deal was gained in getting rid of
these barrels. The water in the schooner lowered just as
much as the space they had occupied,-and the vessel was
relieved at once of twenty tons in weight.

Just after the sun had set, Señor Don Juan Montefalderon
and his party returned on board. They had staid on the
island to the last moment, at Rose's request, for she had
taken as close an observation of everything as possible, in
order to ascertain if any means of concealment existed, in
the event of her aunt, Biddy, and herself quitting the brig.
The islets were all too naked and too small, however; and
she was compelled to return to the Swash, without any hopes
derived from this quarter.

Spike had just directed the people to get their suppers as
the Mexican came on board. Together they descended to
the schooner's deck, where they had a long but secret conference.
Señor Montefalderon was a calm, quiet and reasonable
man, and while he felt as one would be apt to feel
who had recently seen so many associates swept suddenly
out of existence, the late catastrophe did not in the least unman
him. It is too much the habit of the American people
to receive their impressions from newspapers, which throw
off their articles unreflectingly, and often ignorantly, as
crones in petticoats utter their gossip. In a word, the opinions
thus obtained are very much on a level, in value, with
the thoughts of those who are said to think aloud, and who
give utterance to all the crudities and trivial rumours that
may happen to reach their ears. In this manner, we apprehend,
very false notions of our neighbours of Mexico have
become circulated among us. That nation is a mixed race,
and has necessarily the various characteristics of such an
origin, and it is unfortunately little influenced by the diffusion
of intelligence which certainly exists here. Although
an enemy, it ought to be acknowledged, however, that even
Mexico has her redeeming points. Anglo-Saxons as we
are, we have no desire unnecessarily to illustrate that very
marked feature in the Anglo-Saxon character, which prompts
the mother stock to calumniate all who oppose it, but would
rather adopt some of that chivalrous courtesy of which so
much that is lofty and commendable is to be found among
the descendants of Old Spain.

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[figure description] Page 151.[end figure description]

The Señor Montefalderon was earnestly engaged in what
he conceived to be the cause of his country. It was scarcely
possible to bring together two men impelled by motives more
distinct than Spike and this gentleman. The first was acting
under impulses of the lowest and most grovelling nature;
while the last was influenced by motives of the highest.
However much Mexico may, and has, weakened her cause
by her own punic faith, instability, military oppression, and
political revolutions, giving to the Texans in particular ample
justification for their revolt, it was not probable that Don
Juan Montefalderon saw the force of all the arguments that
a casuist of ordinary ingenuity could certainly adduce
against his country; for it is a most unusual thing to find a
man anywhere, who is willing to admit that the positions of
an opponent are good. He saw in the events of the day, a
province wrested from his nation; and, in his reasoning on
the subject, entirely overlooking the numerous occasions on
which his own fluctuating government had given sufficient
justification, not to say motives, to their powerful neighbours
to take the law into their own hands, and redress themselves,
he fancied all that has occurred was previously planned;
instead of regarding it, as it truly is, as merely the result
of political events that no man could have foreseen, that no
man had originally imagined, or that any man could control.

Don Juan understood Spike completely, and quite justly
appreciated not only his character, but his capabilities.
Their acquaintance was not of a day, though it had ever
been marked by that singular combination of caution and
reliance that is apt to characterize the intercourse between
the knave and the honest man, when circumstances compel
not only communication, but, to a certain extent, confidence.
They now paced the deck of the schooner, side by side, for
fully an hour, during which time the price of the vessel, the
means, and the mode of payment and transfer, were fully
settled between them.

“But what will you do with your passengers, Don Esteban?”
asked the Mexican pleasantly, when the more material
points were adjusted. “I feel a great interest in the
young lady in particular, who is a charming señorita, and
who tells me that her aunt brought her this voyage on account
of her health. She looks much too blooming to be

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[figure description] Page 152.[end figure description]

out of health, and if she were, this is a singular voyage for
an invalid to make!”

“You don't understand human natur' yet, altogether, I
see, Don Wan,” answered Spike, chuckling and winking.
“As you and I are not only good friends, but what a body
may call old friends, I'll let you into a secret in this affair,
well knowing that you'll not betray it. It's quite true that
the old woman thinks her niece is a pulmonary, as they call
it, and that this v'y'ge is recommended for her, but the gal
is as healthy as she's handsom'.”

“Her constitution, then, must be very excellent, for it is
seldom I have seen so charming a young woman. But if
the aunt is misled in this matter, how has it been with the

Spike did not answer in words, but he leered upon his
companion, and he winked.

“You mean to be understood that you are in intelligence
with each other, I suppose, Don Esteban,” returned the
Señor Montefalderon, who did not like the captain's manner,
and was willing to drop the discourse.

Spike then informed his companion, in confidence, that
he and Rose were affianced, though without the aunt's knowledge,—
that he intended to marry the niece the moment he
reached a Mexican port with the brig, and that it was their
joint intention to settle in the country. He added that the
affair required management, as his intended had property,
and expected more, and he begged Don Juan to aid him, as
things drew near to a crisis. The Mexican evaded an answer,
and the discourse dropped.

The moon was now shining, and would continue to throw
its pale light over the scene for two or three hours longer.
Spike profited by the circumstance to continue the work of
lightening the schooner. One of the first things done next
was to get up the dead, and to remove them to the boat.
This melancholy office occupied an hour, the bodies being
landed on the islet, near the powder, and there interred in
the sands. Don Juan Montefalderon attended on this occasion,
and repeated some prayers over the graves, as he had
done in the morning, in the cases of the two who had been
buried near the light-house.

While this melancholy duty was in the course of

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[figure description] Page 153.[end figure description]

performance, that of pumping and bailing was continued, under the
immediate personal superintendence of Mulford. It would
not be easy to define, with perfect clearness, the conflicting
feelings by which the mate of the Swash was now impelled.
He had no longer any doubt on the subject of Spike's treason,
and had it not been for Rose, he would not have hesitated
a moment about making off in the light-house boat for
Key West, in order to report all that had passed to the authorities.
But not only Rose was there, and to be cared for,
but what was far more difficult to get along with, her aunt
was with her. It is true, Mrs. Budd was no longer Spike's
dupe; but under any circumstances she was a difficult subject
to manage, and most especially so in all matters that
related to the sea. Then the young man submitted, more
or less, to the strange influence which a fine craft almost
invariably obtains over those that belong to her. He did
not like the idea of deserting the Swash, at the very moment
he would not have hesitated about punishing her owner for
his many misdeeds. In a word, Harry was too much of a
tar not to feel a deep reluctance to turn against his cruise,
or his voyage, however much either might be condemned by
his judgment, or even by his principles.

It was quite nine o'clock when the Señor Montefalderon
and Spike returned from burying the dead. No sooner did
the last put his foot on the deck of his own vessel, than he
felt the fall of one of the purchases which had been employed
in raising the schooner. It was so far slack as to
satisfy him that the latter now floated by her own buoyancy,
though it might be well to let all stand until morning, for
the purposes of security. Thus apprised of the condition
of the two vessels, he gave the welcome order to “knock
off for the night.”

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Cooper, James Fenimore, 1789-1851 [1848], Jack Tier, volume 1 (Burgess, Stringer & Co., New York) [word count] [eaf079v1].
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