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partures and expected arrivals, my friend—merely to satisfy your curiosity, of course; but, to come to close quarters with you, captain, I now know pretty well the object of your visiting Jamaica now and then,-you are indeed no vulgar smuggler.'
"It is well for you, and good for myself, Mr. Cringle, that something weighs heavy at my heart at this moment, and that there is that about you which, notwithstanding your ill-timed jesting, commands my respect, and engages my good-will-had it not been so, you would have been alongside of poor Paul at this moment. He leant his arms upon the table, and gazed intensely on my face as he continued in a solemn tremulous tone-Do you believe in auguries, Mr. Cringle? Do you believe that coming events cast their shadows before ? "-Oh, that little Wiggy Campbell had been beside me to have seen the figure and face of the man who now quoted him
Yes, I do, it is part of the creed of every sailor to do so; I do believe that people have had forewarnir.g of peril to themselves or their friends,
Then what do you think of the mate beckoning me with his dead hand to follow him?? - Why, you are raving, Obed; you saw that he had been much convulsed, and that the limb, from contraction of the sinews, was forcibly kept down in the position it broke loose from—the spunyarn gave way and of course it started up-nothing wonderful in all this, although it did at the time somewhat startle me, I confess.
It may be so, it may be so. I don't know,ʻrejoined he, but taken along with what I saw before'
Here his voice sank into so hollow and sepulchral a tone as to be almost unintelligible. But there is no use in arguing on the subject. Answer me this, Lieutenant Cringle, and truly, so help you God, at your utmost need, did the mate leave the cabin at any moment after I was wounded by the splinter ?' And he seized one of my hands convulsively with his iron paw, while he pointed up through the open scuttle towards heaven with the other, which trembled like a reed. The moon shone strong on the upper part of his countenance, while the yellow smoky glare of the candle over which he bent, blending harshly and unharmoniously with the pale silver light, fell full on his uncouth figure, and on his long scraggy bare neck, and chin, and cheeks, giving altogether a most unearthly expression to his savagc features, from the conflicting tints and changing shadows cast by the flickering moonbeams streaming fitfully through the skylight, as the vessel rolled to and fro, and by the large torchlike candle as it wavered in the night wind. The Prince of the Powers of the Air might have sat for his picture by proxy. It was just such a face as one has dreamed of after a hot supper and cold ale, when the whisky had been forgotten-horrible, changing, vague, glimmering, and undefined; and as if something was still wanting to complete the utter frightfulness of his aspect, the splinter wound in his head burst out afresh from his violent agitation, and streamed down in heavy drops from his forehead, falling warm on my hand. I was much shaken at being adjured in this tremend jus way, with the hot blood gleuing our hands together, but I returned his grasp as steadily as I could, while I replied, with als the composure he had left me, and that would not have quite filled a Winchester bushel,
He never left my side from the time he offered to take your place after you had been wounded. He fell back against the locker as if he had been shot through the heart. His grasp relaxed, he drew his breath very hard, and I thought he had fainted.
• Then it was not him that stood by me; I thought it might have been him, but I was a fool, it was impossible.'
He made a desperate effort to recover his composure, and succeeded. -And, pray, Master Obediah,' quoth I, what did you see?' He answered me sharply- Never mind, never mind-here, Potomac, lend us a hand to sling a cot for this gentleman; there now, see the lanyard is sound, and the lacing all tight and snug-now put that mattrass into it, and there is linen in the chest. In a trice my couch was rigged, all comfortable, snowwhite linen, nice pillow, soft mattrass, &c., and Obed, filling me another tumbler, helped himself also ; he then drank to my health, wished me a sound sleep, promised to call me at day-light, and as he left the cabin he said, Mr. Cringle, had it been my object to have injured you, I would not have waited until now. You are quite safe so far as depends on me, so take your rest-good night, once more. I tumbled into bed, and never once opened my eyes until Obed called me at day-light, that is, at five in the morning, according to his promise.
By this time we were well in with the Cuba shore; the land might be two miles from us, as we could see the white surf. Out at sea, although all around was clear as crystal, there was nothing to be seen of the Gleam or Firebrand, but there were ten or twelve fishing canoes, each manned with from four to six hands, close aboard of us ;-we seemed to have got becalmed in the middle of a small fleet of them. The nearest to us hailed in Spanish, in a very friendly way,-- Como estamos Capitan, que hay de nueso; hay algo de bueno, para los pobres Pescadores ?' and the fellow who had spoken laughed loudly. The Captain desired him to come on board, and then drew him aside, conversing carnestly with him. The Spanish fisherman was a very powerful man; he was equipped in a blue cotton shirt, Osnaburg trowsers, sandals of untanned bullock's hide, a straw hat, and wore the eternal greasy red sash and long knife. He was a bold, daring-looking fellow, and frcquently looked frowningly on me, and shook his head impatiently, while the Captain, as it seemed, was explaining to him who I was. Just in this nick of time my friend Potomac handed up my uniform coat. I had previously been performing my ablutions on deck in my shirt and trowsers, which I put on, swab and all, thinking no harm. But there inust have been mighty great offence nevertheless, for the fisherman, in a twinkling, casting a fierce look at me, jumped overboard like a feather, clearing the rail like a flying fish, and swam to his canoe, that had shoved off a few paces.
When he got on board he stood up and shook his clenched fist at Obed. shouting,. Picaro, Traidor, Ingleses hay abordo, quieres engararnos! He then held up the blade of his paddle, a signal which all the canoes answered in a moment in the same manner, and then pulled towards the land from whence a felucca, invisible until that moment, now swept out, as if she had floated up to the surface by magic, for I could see neither creek, nor indentation on the shore, nor the smallest symptom of an entrance to a port or cove. For a few minutes the canoes clustered round this necromantic craft, and I could notice that two or three hands from each of them jumped on board; they then paddled off in a string, and vanished one by one amongst the mangrove bushes as suddenly as the felucca bad appeared. All this puzzled me exceedingly-I looked at Obed-he was evidently sorely perplexed. I had thoughi to have put you on board a British vessel before this, or failing that, to have run down, and landed you at St. Jago, Mr. Cringle, as I promised, but you see I am prevented by these honest men there; get below, and as you value your life, and, I may say, mine
keep your temper, and be civil.' I did as he suggested, but peeped out of the cabin skylight to see what was going on, notwithstanding. The felluuva I could see was armed with a heavy carronade on a pivot, and as full of men as she could hold, fierce, half-naked, savage-looking fellows, as one could desire to see-she swept rapidly up to us, and closing on our larboard quarter, threw about five-and-twenty of her genteel young people on board, who immediately secured the crew, and seized Obed. However, they, that is, the common sailors, seemed to have no great stomach for the job, and had it not been for the fellow I had frightened overboard, I don't think one of them would have touched him. Obed bore all this with great equanimity.
Why, Francisco,' he said, to this personage, in good Spanish, 'why, what madness is this? your suspicions are groundless; it is as I tell you, he is my prisoner, and whatever he may have been to me, he can be no spy on you.
Cuchillo entonces, was the savage reply.
No, no, persisted Obediah, 'get cool, man, get cool, I am pledged that no harin shall come to him; and farther, I have promised to put him ashore at St. Jago, and I will be as good as my word.'
You can't if you would,' rejoined Francisco; "the Snake is at anchor under the Moro.'
• Then he must go with us.'
"We shall see as to that,' said the other; then raising his voice, he shouted to his ragamuffins, Comrades, we are betrayed; there is an English officer on board, who can be nothing but a spy; follow me!
And he dashed down the companion ladder, knife in hand, while I sprung through the small scuttle, like a rat out of one hole when a ferret is put in at the other, and crept as close to Obed as I could ; Francisco, when he missed me came on deck again. The captain had now seized a cutlass in one hand, and held a cocked pistol in the other. It appeared he had greater control, the nature of which I now began to comprehend, over the selucca's people, than Francisco bargained for, as the moment the latter went below, they released him, and went forward in a body. My persecutor again advanced close up to me, and seized me by the collar with one hand, and tried to drag me forward, brandishing his naked knife aloft in the other.
Obed promptly caught his sword-arm- Francisco,' he exclaimed, still in Spanish, .fool, madman, let go your hold! let go, or by the Heaven above us, and the hell we are both hastening to, I will strike you dead!'.
The man paused, and looked round to his own people, and seeing one or two encouraging glances and gestures amongst them, he again attempted to drag me away from my hold on the tafferel. Something tiashed in the sun, and the man fell! His left arm, the hand of which still clutched my throat, while mine grasped its waist, had been shred from his body by Obed's cutlass, like a twig, and, oh God, my blood curdles to my heart, even now, when I think of it, the dead fingers kept the grasp sufficiently long to allow the arm to fall heavily against my side, where it hung for some seconds, until the muscles relaxed and it dropped on the deck. The instant that Obed struck the blow, he caught hold of my hand, threw away his cutlass, and advanced towards the group of the felucca's men, pistol in hand.
"Am I not your captain, ye cowards—have I ever deceived you yet -have I ever flinched from heading you where the danger was greatest -have you not all that I ain worth in your hands, and will you murder me !
Viva, cl noble Capitan, viva!' And the tide turned as rapidly in our favor as it had lately ebbed against us.
As for that scoundrel, he has got no more than he deserves,' said he, turning to where Francisco lay, bleeding like a carcass in the shambles ; .but tie up his arm some of ye, I would be sorry he bled to death.'
It was unavailing, the large arteries had emptied his whole life blood-he had already gone to his account. This most miserable transaction with all its concomitant horrors, to my astonishment, did not seem to make much impression on Obed, who now turning to me, said, with perfect composure,
You have there another melancholy voucher for my sincerity,' pointing to the body ; but time presses, and you must now submit to be blindfolded, and that without further explanation at present.'
I did so with the best grace I could, and was led below, where two beauties, with loaded pistols, and a drawn knife each, obliged me with their society one seated on each side of me on the small locker, like two deputy butchers ready to operate on an unfortunate veal. It had now fallen dead calm, and, from what I heard, I conjectured that the felucca was sweeping in towards the land with as in tow, for the sound of the surf grew louder and louder. By and bye we seemed to slide beyond the long smooth swell into broken water, for the little vessel pitched sharp and suddenly, and 'again all was still, and we seemed to have sailed into some land-locked cove. From the loud echo of the voices on deck, I judged that we were in a narrow canal, the banks of which were reflecting the sound; presently this ceased, and although we skimmed along as motionless as before, I no longer heard the splash of the felucca's sweeps; the roar of the sea gradually sank in the distance, until it sounded like thunder, and I thought we touched the ground now and then, although slightly. All at once the Spanish part of the crew, for we still had a number of the felucca's people with us, sang out 'Palanka,' and we began to pole along a narrow marshy lagoon, coming so near the shore occasionally, that our sides were brushed by the branches of the mangrove bushes. Again the channel seemed to widen, and I could hear the felucca once more ply her sweeps. In about ten minutes after this the anchor was let go, and for a quarter of an hour, nothing was heard on deck but the bustle of the people furling sails, coiling down the ropes, and getting everything in order, as is usual in coming into port. It was evident that several boats had boarded us soon after we anchored, as I could make out part of the greetings between the strangers and Obed, in which my own name recurred more than once. In a little while all was still again, and Obed called down the companion to my guards, that I might come on deck; a boon I was not long in availing myself of. We were anchored nearly in the centre of a shallow swampy lagoon, about a mile across, as near as I could judge ; two very large schooners, heavily armed, were moored a-head of us, one on each bow, and another rather smaller lay close under our stern; they all had sails bent, and everything, apparently, in high order, and were full of men. The shore, to the distance of a bow-shot from the water all around us, was low, marshy, and covered with an impervious jungle of thick, strong reeds and wild canes, with here and there a thicket of mangroves; a little farther off the land swelled into lofty bills covered to the very summit with heavy timber, but everything had a moist, green, steamy appearance, as if it had been the region of perpetual rain. Lots of yellow fever here,' thought I, as the heavy rank smell of decayed vegetable mat
ter came off, on the faint sickly breeze, and the sluggish fog banks crept along the dull clay-colored motionless surface of the tepid water.
The sea view was quite shut out-I looked all round and could discern no vestige of the entrance. Right ahead there was about a furlong of land cleared at the only spot which one could call a beach, that is, a hard shore of sand and pebbles. Had you tried to get aslıore at any otber point, your fate would have been that of the Master of Ravenswood; as fatal, that is, without the gentility; for you would have been suffocated in black mud, in place of clean sea-sand. There was a long shed in the centre of this cleared spot, covered in with boards, and thatched with palın leaves ; it was open below, a sort of capstan-house, where a vast quantity of sails, anchors, cordage, and most kinds of sea-stores were stowed, carefully covered over with tarpauling. Overhead there was a flooring laid along the couples of the roof, the whole length of the shed, forming a loft of nearly sixty feet long, divided by bulkheads into a variety ot apartments, lit by small rude windows in the thatch, where the crews of the vessels, I concluded, were occasionally lodged during the time they might be under repair. The boat was manned, and Obed took me ashore with him. We Janded near the shed I have described, beneath which we encountered about forty of the most uncouth and ferocious-looking rascals that my eyes had ever been blessed withal ; they were of every shade, from the woolly Negro and long-haired Indian, to the sallow American and fair Biscayan; and as they intermitted their various occupations of mending sails, fitting and stretching rigging, splicing ropes, making spun-yarn, coopering gun-carriages, grinding pikes and cuilasses, and filling cartridges, to look at me, then grinned and nodded to each other, and made sundry signs and gestures, which made me regret many a past peccadillo that in more prosperous times I little thought on or repented of, and I internally prayed that I might be prepared to die as become a man, for my fate appeared to be sealed. The only ray of hope that shot into my mind, through all this gloom, came from the respect the thieves, one and all, paid the captain ; and, as I had reaped the benefit of assuming an outward recklessness and daring which I really did not at heart possess, I screwed myself up to maintain the same port still, and swaggered along, jablering in my broken Spanish, right and left, and jesting even with the most infamous-looking scoundrels of the whole lot, while, God he knows, my heart was palpitating like a girl's when she is asked to be married. Obed led the way up a ladder joto the loft, where we found several messes at dinner, and passing through several rooms, in which a number of hammocks were slung, we at length arrived at the eastern end, which was boarded off into a room eighteer or twenty feet square, lighted by a small port-hole in the end, about ten feet from the ground. I could see several huts from the window, built just on the edge of the high wood, where some of the country people seemed to be moving about, and round which a large flock of pigs and twenty 10 thirty bullocks were grazing. All beyond, as far as the eye could reach, was one continuous forest, without any vestige of a living thing ; not even a thin wreath of blue smoke evinced the presence of a fellow-creature; I seemed to be helplessly cut off from all succor, and my heart again died within me.
"I am sorry to say you must consider yourself a prisoner here for a few days,' said Obed.
I could only groan