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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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CHAPTER XX. Relates what happened after getting ashore.

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There is no danger,” said Jerry, “that we
shall be pursued to-night,” as we stopped to take
breath, “so let us find a place to lodge in, and in
the morning we will look about us.”

Although I was wet and weary, my hands covered
with blisters, and the night was dark, and
the wind was cold, yet my spirits were light as a
feather. The uncertainty of our prospects, and
a curiosity to see what the morning's light would
reveal, kept my thoughts from dwelling on the
destitute condition in which we were placed.
We were outside of the town, but there were no
indications that we were in the immediate vicinity
of a populous city, and there was neither a tree,
nor a house to be seen. It was as still and as
desolate as the great desert.

“Come,” said Jerry, “let us get amongst the
houses, and I will soon hunt out something to eat,
and a bed, never fear.”

“Have you got any money?” I inquired, for
I began to fear it would be no easy matter to
procure food and lodging without it.

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“Not so much as would jingle on a tombstone,”
replied Jerry, “but I have got something
that we can make a raise with, I dare say; here's
the captain's watch. I caught it out of his hand
to keep it from getting wet, and forgot to stop
and return it to him.”

I was very sorry to hear this, and told Jerry
I would never consent to his selling the watch,
nor take any part of the proceeds of it; but he
succeeded in silencing my scruples, by reminding
me that the wages which were due us, and the
clothes which we had left behind, would repay the
captain for the loss of his watch.

We turned our faces towards the city, and
soon found ourselves in a dark, narrow street,
with low, flat-roofed houses on each side, having
windows with iron bars and gratings, which gave
them the appearance of prisons. We walked
some distance down this street without meeting
any one, or seeing a light in any of the houses.
At length we came to a house which give some
evidences of its being inhabited. A light was
streaming from a half-opened door, into which I
peeped, and discovered a swarthy looking man
with long black hair hanging down his shoulders;
he wore a conical shaped red cap, and a green
jacket, embroidered with silk braid; he was

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sitting on a low stool, singing in a subdued voice,
and thrumming on a guitar; at a table, on which
were standing a brown jug and two or three tumblers,
were seated two men dressed similarly to
the other, apparently amusing themselves by
making passes at each other with long, murderous-looking
knives, which they parried with great
dexterity; they formed a highly picturesque group;
but thinking the society of gentlemen who amused
themselves after such a fashion, not very desirable,
we continued our walk in search of a house of
more promising appearance, until we came to a
cross street, which by the aid of a very dim lamp
we discovered was the Calle Viente Cinco de
. By the captain's watch it was near midnight,
and we began to be apprehensive that we
should be compelled to spend a sleepless and a
supperless night in the streets, for we could neither
see a soul stirring, nor catch the glimpse of a
light in any of the houses. As we stood hesitating
which way to turn next, our ears were suddenly
gladdened by a shout of many voices from the
house opposite to where we were standing, and
the oaths and expressions which we heard assured
us they were not uttered by Spaniards. We
knocked loudly at the door of the house without
any hesitation, and it was soon opened by a tall

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muscular looking man in a blue jacket, who exclaimed,
upon seeing us, “d—n your souls, what
do you want?”

“We want something to eat, and a bed,” said

“The divil take your carcasses then,” said the
man, “why didn't you come before?”

“Because we couldn't get ashore,” replied

“Have you run away from your ship?” asked
the man.

“Yes, Sir,” I replied.

“Yankees too. Och faith, it is all right; come
in, and go back into the abbey, and tell the cook
to give you some beef. But stop, and take a drop
of brandy first.” We walked in, and he bolted
the door again.

There were about twenty sailors seated at a
long table, with cards in their hands, pipes in their
mouths, and glasses standing before them. They
had apparently just arrived at that point in good
fellowship and merry-making, where a man feels
himself impelled to call his friend a thief and a
liar, and to strike any one in the face who may
happen to sit along side of him. But as Jerry
and myself were perfectly sober, of course we felt
no disposition to participate in their boisterous

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mirth, but on the contrary we regarded them with
feelings which would have done honor to a tetotaller.
We passed on through this apartment,
preceded by the man who admitted us, into a
little square building, which he called the “round
house;” here he ordered the cook, who was a
one-legged old sailor, to give us some supper.
The cook placed before us, with very little delay,
a huge piece of roast beef, a couple of very small
loaves of bread, and a pitcher of aqua vitæ.

When the keen edge of our appetites was taken
off, we asked the cook, who was solacing himself
with a paper segar, what the name of our entertainer

“None of your gammon, my coveys,” replied
the cook, “you know Jemmy as well as I do.”

“If that is the name of the landlord here,” I
replied, “I can swear that I never heard of him

The cook having given vent to his astonishment
in a multitude of curious oaths, informed us
that our entertainer was Irish Jemmy, who had
deserted many years before from an English Sloop
of War, but who now kept a house for runaway
sailors, and who was universally known as the
sailors' friend.

“Jemmy is the best man as ever lived,” said the

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cook; “he will feed you on beef and rum as long
as you have a mind to stay in his house, and never
ask you when you are going; and when you do
go, if you havn't got a jacket, he'll give you one.
But then you musn't make him mad.”

“Ah,” said Jerry, “who would make such a
man mad?”

“Why, you might do it by accident, and then
he would as lief kill you as drink a horn of brandy,”
replied the cook.

“He never did kill any one, did he?” I asked,
somewhat alarmed at the cook's account.

“He shot his wife wonst in this very blessed
room,” replied the cook, in a low voice, “Cos
as she disputed him when he was swipy.”

“And why didn't the authorities arrest him,
and hang him,” I asked.

“What, just for shooting his wife?” replied the
cook; “you may tell your mammy when you see
her, they don't do such things in this here country.
Besides, if she didn't wish to be shooted, she
oughtent to have disputed him; warnt he her husband?
Sarved her right.”

“Did she die?” I asked.

“Dead as a door nail. And now he's got
another reg'lar nice young heifer,” replied the

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“Of course,” replied Jerry, “he never so much
as winks one of his blackguard eyes at his customers,
if he does shoot his wives.”

“Don't he?” replied the cook; “why bless yer
heart, 'twas him as broke my leg, cos I made him

“He break your leg,” said Jerry, letting his
knife fall.

“To be sure he did,” replied the cook, “what
on it. I dont care; he's got to find me in grub
all the rest o' my days, besides all the new duck
I want for frocks and trowsers. I am nothing but
an old bugger, it makes no odds whether I've got
one leg or two; I'm not running arter the gals,
like you young chaps.”

“Are you an American?” I asked, feeling my
sympathies excited for the old cook.

“Me a yankee!” replied the cook, disdainfully.
“No, I am a reg'lar born cockerny. Do you
know what that is? A real citizen of Lunnun,”
he continued, answering his own question; “and
do you know what makes me a citizen of Lunnun?”

“I suppose it is because you were born there,”
I replied.

“No, that aint it, young feller,” he replied.

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“Because you were born in Bow Bells,” replied

“That aint it,” said the cook. “It's because I
was born in the cells of New-Gate, you green
horn; I knew you couldn't tell.” And so saying,
the old cook hobbled away with the remains of
the beef, chuckling at the recollection of his illustrious

I was not particularly well pleased with the
cook's account of Irish Jemmy, so I proposed to
Jerry to start for the pampas in the morning, and
wait there until our ship should sail. Jerry agreed
to do so; and as he had fortunately brought a
pistol ashore with him, he swore if Irish Jemmy
offered to harm a hair of my head, he would shoot
him without any hesitation. But as we had eaten
Jemmy's beef, and drank his brandy, I told Jerry
we would first talk about paying him, and then we
could shoot him afterwards, if there should be any
necessity for doing so.

Jerry acknowledged this was right and proper,
and said he would leave the Captain's watch in
pledge, until we might return. But when we
proposed it to Jemmy, he would listen to no such

“Tut, tut,” he said, “don't bother me with your
nonsense. Put up your watch; you may eat and

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drink here as loug as you like in welcome, for
nothing, if you only pay me out of your advance,
when you get a ship.”

He said we might go out into the camp if we
chose, and if we escaped the Montaneros and the
Indians, we should find a hearty welcome at any
estancia or saladara, that we might fall in with,
where, if we were fond of jerked beef and farina,
we might stay forever, and no questions would be
asked us.

We were delighted to hear so good an account
of the hospitable habits of the Gauchos, and retired
to bed, with an intention of setting out for the
country as soon as it should be light. But the
fleas prevented us from closing our eyes, and as we
found it was impossible to sleep, we set off before
the day broke.

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Briggs, Charles F. (Charles Frederick), 1804-1877 [1839], The adventures of Harry Franco. Volume 1 (F. Saunders, New York) [word count] [eaf025v1].
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