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the gigs-saw you ever anything like that, gentlemen ?' We all leant over; and although the boats, from the way they had, were skimming along nearer seven than five knots—there lay a large shark; he must have been twelve feet long at the shortest, swimming right in the middle, and equidistant from both, and keeping way with us most accurately.
He was distinctly visible, from the strong and vivid phosphorescence excited by his rapid motion through the sleeping waters of the dark creek, which lit up his jaws, and head, and whole body; his eyes were especially luminous, while a long wake of sparkles streamed away astern of him, from the lashing of his tail. As the boats lost their speed, the luminousness of his appearance faded gradually as he shortened sail also, until he disappeared altogether. He was then at rest, and suspended motionless in the water; and the only thing that indicated his proximity, was an occasional sparkle from the motion of a fin. We brought the boats nearer together, after pulling a stroke or two, but he seemed to sink as we closed, until at last we could merely distinguish an indistinct halo far down in the clear black profound. But as we separated, and resumed our original position, he again rose near the surface; and although the ripple and dip of the oars rendered him invisible while we were pulling, yet the moment we again rested on them, there was the monster, like a persecuting fiend, once more right between us, glaring on us, and apparently watching every motion. It was a terrible spectacle, and rendered still more striking by the melancholy occurrence of the forenoon.
• That's the very identical, damnable baste himself, as murthered poor little Louis this morning, yeer honor; I knows him from the torn flesh of him under his larboard blinker, sir-just where Wiggins's boat-hook pun. ished him,' quoth the Irish captain of the mizzentop. • A water-kelpie,' murmured another of the Captain's gigs, a Scotchman.
The men were evidently alarmed. Stretch out, men; never mind the shark. He can't jump into the boat, surely,' said the skipper. What the deuce are you afraid of?'.
We arrived within pistol-shot of the ship. As we approached, the sentry hailed, · Boat, ahoy!'
* Firebrand,' sung out the skipper, in reply.
• Man the side-gangway lanterns there,' quoth the officer on duty; and by the time we were close to, there were two sidesmen over the side with the manropes ready stuck out to our grasp, and two boys with lanterns above them. We got on deck, the officers touching their hats, and speedily the captain dived down the ladder, saying, as he descended, "Mr. Yerk, I shall be happy to see you and your boat's-crew at supper, or rather to a late dinner, at eight o'clock ; but come down a moment as you are. Tailtackle, bring the gigs into the cabin to get a glass of grog, will you?'.
'Aye, aye, sir,' responded Timothy. “Down with you, you flaming thieves, and see you don't snort and sniffle in your grog, as if you were in your own mess, like so many pigs slushing at the same trough
Lord love you, Tim,' rejoined one of the topmen, who made you master of the ceremonies, old Iron-fist, eh? Where learnt you your breeding ? Among the cockatoos up yonder?'.
Tim laughed, who, although he ought to have been in his bed, had taken his seat in the Dragon-fly when her crew were piped over the side in the evening, and thereby subjected himself to a rap over the knuckles from the captain ; but where the offence might be said to consist in a too assiduous discharge of his duty, it was easily forgiven, unfortunate as the issue of the race had been. So down we all trundled into the cabin, masters and men
It was brilliantly lighted up-the table sparkling with crystal and wine, and glancing with silver plate; and there on a sofa lay Aaron Bang in all his pristine beauty, and fresh from his toilet, for he had just got out of his cot, after an eight-and-forty hours' sojourn therein-nice white neckcloth
- white jean waistcoat and trowsers, and span-new blue coat. He was reading when we entered ; and the captain, in his flame-colored costume, was close aboard of him before he raised his eyes, and rather staggered him a bit; but when seven sea-green spirits followed, he was exceedingly nonplussed, and then came the six red Dragon-flies, who ranged themselves three on each side of the door, with their net bags in their hands, smoothing down their hair, and sidling and fidgeting about at finding themselves so far out of their element as the cabin.
Mafame,' said the captain, "a glass of grog a-piece to the Dragon-flies. -and a tumbler of liquid amber, (to borrow from my old friend Cooper, sparkled in the large bony claw of each of them. Now, drink Mr. Bang's health. They, as in duty bound, let fly at our amigo in a volley.
Your health, Mr. Bang. Aaron sprung from his seat, and made his salam, and the Dragon-flies bundled out of the cabin again.
I say, N- John Canoeing still-always some frolic in the wind.' We, the Watersprites, had shifted and rigged, and were all mustered aft on the poop, enjoying the little air there was, as it fanned us gently, and waiting for the announcement of supper. It was a pitch-dark night, neither moon nor stars. The murky clouds seemed to have settled down on the mast-heads, shrouding every object in the thickest gloom.
Ready with the gun forward there, Mr. Catwell?' said Yerk.
Pent up as we were in a narrow channel, walled in on each side with towering precipitous rocks, the explosion, multiplied by the echoes into a whole broadside, was tremendous, and absolutely deafening.
The cold, grey, threatening rocks, and the large overhanging twisted branches of the trees, and the clear black water, and the white Moro in the distance, glanced for an instant, and then all was again veiled in outer darkness, and down came a rattling shower of sand and stones, from the cliffs, and of rotten branches, and heavy dew from the trees, sparkling in the water like a showcr of diamonds; and the birds of the air screamed, and frightened from their nests and perches in crevices, and on the boughs of the trees, took flight with a strong rushing noise, that put one in mind of the rising of the fallen angels from the infernal council in Paradise Lost; and the cattle on the mountain side lowed, and the fish, large and small, like darts, and arrows of fire, sparkled up from the black abyss of waters, and swam in haloes of flame round the ship in every direction, as if they had been the ghosts of a shipwrecked crew, haunting the scene of their destruction; and the guanas and large lizards which had been shaken from the trees, skimmed and struggled on the surface, in glances of fire, like evil spirits watching to seize them as their prey. At length the screaming and shrieking of the birds, the clang of their wings, and the bel. lowing of the cattle, ceased; and the startled fish subsided slowly down into the oozy caverns at the bottom of the sea, and becoming motionless, disappeared; and all was again black and undistinguishable, the deathlike silence being only broken by the hoarse murmuring of the distant surf.
.Magnificent !' burst from the captain. •Messenger, send Mr. Portfire here.' The gunpowder functionary, he of the flannel cartridge, appeared.
• Gunner, send one of your mates into the maintop, and let him burn a blue light.'
The lurid glare blazed up balefully amongst the spars and rigging, lighting up the decks, and blasting the crew into the likeness of the host of Sennacherib, when the day broke on them, and they were all dead corpses. Astern of us, indistinct from the distance, the white Moro castle re-appeared, and rose frowning, tier above tier, like a Tower of Babel, with its sum. mit veiled in the clouds, and the startled sea-fowl wheeling above the higher batteries, like snow-flakes blown about in a storm; while, near at hand, the rocks on each side of us looked as if fresh splintered asunder, with the sulphureous flames which had split them, still burning; the trees looked no longer green, but were sicklied o'er with a pale ashy color, as if sheeted ghosts were holding their midnight orgies amongst their branches
-cranes, and water-fowl, and birds of many kinds, and all the insect and reptile tribes, their gaudy noon-tide colors merged into one and the same fearful deathlike sameness, fitted and sailed and circled above us, and chattered, and screamed, and shrieked.; and the unearthly-looking guanas, and numberless creeping things, ran out on the boughs to peer at us, and a large snake twined itself up a scathed stump that shot out from a shattered pinnacle of rock that overhung us, with its glossy skin, glancing like the brazen serpent set up by Moses in the camp of the Israelites; and the cattle on the beetling summit of the cliff, craned over the precipitous ledge to look down upon us, and while everything around us, and above us, was thus glancing in the blue and ghastly radiance, the band struck up a low moaning air; the light burnt out, and once more we were cast, by the contrast, into even more palpable darkness than before. I was entranced, and stood with folded arms, looking forth into the night, and musing intensely on the appalling scene which had just vanished like a feverish dream- Dinner waits, sir,' quoth Mafame.
*Oh! I am coming,' and kicking all my romance to Old Nick, I descended, and we had a pleasant night of it, and some wine and some fun, and there an end-but I have often dreamed of that dark pool, and the scenes I witnessed there that day and night.-Now, devil take you, old Kit North, this is not ending abruptly, is it?
Wheesht,' said Conshy; ‘go to yeer bed now, Tam-ye're fou, man.'
LADY BETTY'S POCKET-BOOK.
Into it, Knight, thou must not look.–Scott. I passed my five-and-twentieth birth-day at Oakenshade. Sweet sentimental age! Dear deeply regretted place; Oakenshade is the fairest child of Father Thames, from Gloucestershire to Blackwall. She is the very queen of cottages, for she has fourteen best bed-rooms, and stabling for a squadron. Her trces are the finest in Europe, and her inhabitants the fairest in the world. Her old mistress is the Lady Bountiful of the country, and her young mistresses are its pride. Lady Barbara is black-eyed and hyacinthine, Lady Betty blue-eyed and Madonna-like.
In situations of this kind it is absolutely necessary for a man to fall in love, and in due compliance with the established custom, I fell in love both with Lady Betty and Lady Barbara. Now Barbara was a sost-hearted, high-minded rogue, and pretended, as I thought, not to care for me, that she might not interfere with the interests of her sister ; and Betty was a reckless, giddy-witted baggage, who cared for nobody and nothing upon earth, except the delightful occupation of doing what she pleased. Accordingly, we became the Romeo and Juliet of the place, excepting that I never could sigli, and she never could apostrophize. Nevertheless, we loved terribly. Oh, wliat a time was that! I will just give a sample of a day.-We rose at seven (it was July), and wandered amongst moss-roses, velvet lawns, and sequestered summer-houses, till the lady-mother summoned us to the breakfast-table. I know not how it was, but the footman on these occasions always found dear Barbara absent on a butterfly chase, gathering Powers, or feeding her pet robin, and Betty and myself on a sweet honeysuckle seat, just large enough to hold two, and hidden round a happy corner as snug as a bird's nest. The moment the villain came within hearing, I used to begin, in an audible voice, to discourse upon the beauties of nature, and Betty allowed me to be the best moral philosopher of the age. After breakfast we used to retire to the young ladies' study, in which blest retreat I filled some hundred pages of their albums, whilst Betty looked over my shoulder, and Barbara hammered with all her might upon the grand piano, that we might not be afraid to talk. I was acknowledged to be the prince of poets and riddle-mongers, and in the graphic art I was a prodigy perfectly unrivalled. Sans doute, I was a little overrated. My riddles were so plain, and my metaphors so puzzling—and then my trees were like mountains, and my men were like monkies. But love had such peuetrating optics ! Lady Betty could perceive beauties to woich the rest of the world were perfectly blind. Then followed our . equestrian exercises.' Now Barbara was a good horsewoman, and Betty was a bad one; consequently, Barbara rode a pony, and Betty rode a donkey; consequently, Barbara rode a mile before, and Betty rode a mile behind; and consequently, it was absolutely necessary for ine to keep fast hold of Betty's hand, for fear she should tumble oft. Thus did we journey through wood and through valley, by flood and by field, through the loveliest and most love-making scenes that ever figured in rhyme or on canvass. The trees never looked so green, the flowers never smelt so sweetly, and the exercise and the fears of her high-mettled palfrey gave my companion a blush which is quite beyond the reach of a simile. Of course we always lost ourselves, and trusted to Barbara to guide us home, which she generally did by the most circuitous routes she could find. At dinner the lady-mother would inquire what had become of us, but none of us could tell where we had been excepting Barbara. "Why Betty, my dear, you understood our geography well enough when you were guide to our good old friend, the General ! Ah, but Betty found it was quite a different thing to be guide to her good young friend the captain ; and her explanation was generally a zigzag sort of performance, which outdid the best riddle of her album. It was the custom of the lady-mother to take a nap after dinner, and having a due regard for her, we always left her to this enjoyinent as soon as possible. Sometimes we floated in a litile skiff down the broad and tranquil river, which, kindled by the setting sun, inored onward like a strearn of fire, tuning our voices to glces and duels, till the nightingales theniselves were astonished. Oh, the witchery of bright eyes at sunset and music on the water ! Sometimes we stole through the cavernous recesses of the old oak wood, conjuring up fawns and satyrs at crery step, and sending Barbara to detect the deceptions, and play at hide and seek with us. At last our mistress the moon would open her eye and warn us home, wbere, on the little study sofa, we watched her progress, and repeated sweet poesy. Many a time did I long to break the footman's head when he brought the lights, and announced the tea. The ladymother never slept after this, and the business of the day was ended.
Things went on in this way for a week or ten days, and Lady Betty appeared to have less spirits, and a more serious and languid air than heretofore. There was nothing now hoydenish in her behavior, and instead of the upper lip curlint with scorn, the under one was dropping with sentiment. Her voice was not so loud, and fell in a gentler cadence, and the Madonna braid was sestooned with a njore exquisite grace. When I besought her to let me liear the subject of her thoughts, the little budget was always of so mourosul a description, that I could not choose but use my tenderest mode of comforting her. She had, she knew not why, become more serious. She supposed it was because she was growing older, she hoped it was because she was growing better In fine, she had determined to mend her life, and appointed me master of the ceremonies to her conscience, which, sooth to say, had been in a woful state of anarchy.
I could not, of course, have any doubt that my sweet society had been the cause of this metamorphosis, and I congratulated myself with servency. She was becoming the very pattern for a wife, and I contemplated in her the partner of my declining years, the soother of my cares, the mother of my children. It was cruel to postpone my declaration, but though I have no Scotch blood in my veins, I was always a lit:le given to caution. Lady Betty had been a sad madcap, and might not this be a mere freak of the moment? Besides, there was a charm about the very uncertainty which a declared lover has no idea of, so I determined to observe, and act with deliberation.
, Our pastimes continued the same as before, and our interchanges of kindness increased. Amongst other things, Lady Betty signalized me by a purse and pencil.case, and in return was troubled with an extreme longiug for a lilac and gold pocket-book, in which I was sometimes rash enough to note down any fugitive thoughts. It had been given me by no matter whom- there was nothing on earth that I would not have sacrificed to Lady Betty. She received it in both