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Boat

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of the vessel with her ugly rows of cannon as we did so.
Still, no one hailed us, and no lights were seen, when,
suddenly, a voice was heard on one side of us.
ahoy !—boat ahoy !" came from the other side at the same
moment. We were fairly caught-an enemy's boat on
each side. The French had been too cunning for us ;
their boats had been out on the watch, and we had
fallen in with them as neatly as they could wish.
“Gentlemen, you are our prisoners,” said the kind, polite
Frenchman. I believe if he had shot us through the
head, he would have said : “I beg your pardon.” How
I longed to fight them all, one at a time! but it was
useless to resist, they were more than double our number,
for we had left space for the land-birds in our boat.
We were now compelled to divide our party, some being
sent into each of the Frenchmen's boats, while the lieu-
tenant, I, and two others remained in our own. The
French boats made for the vessel ; we were politely told
to continue on our way. It was pretty clear what they
wanted. They meant to take the land-party prisoners
also. We made for the point; they knew it as well
as ourselves. “We shall meet your friends on shore,
gentlemen,” said the French officer, with his strong
accent ;

we shall invite them to our boat; but as we do not speak English very well, we shall take our friend here; he has the air of a simple lad; he shall give the word, and invite them on board." '

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[Write from dictation] I do not remember that anything particular occurred for the first two or three years ; but one night, with great excitement, we entered upon a secret and dangerous adventure, which ended by our being suddenly and skilfully taken prisoners.

TOM'S FIRST ADVENTURE Concluded.

[Spell and write] substitute, vexation, resistance, escape, deceived, innocent,

response, regiment, expression.

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'I was the simple lad; and a very pleasant thing I found it to land with six Frenchmen at my heels, and invite a party of English to be taken prisoners. As I passed our lieutenant, he gave me a look. I thought it said : “You 'll die first, Tom.” “Ay, ay, sir,” I said, and sprang on shore. A peculiar whistle was to be our first signal, and I resolved to substitute another for it. Think of my vexation, when the Frenchman beside me gave the signal as well as if his mouth had been a British one, and it was immediately answered from a small wood to our right, that ran along the road down to the water's edge. The French marched towards it, with me in the midst of them.

“ Halt !" cried a voice from the trees; the password.”

"Speak, speak," whispered one of my captors, “and we will reward

you

well.” Now it struck me pretty clearly that if they had known the password, they would have risked their accent, and shouted it themselves, for the Frenchmen spoke English uncommonly well, so I made up my mind they didn't know it. Any way, it was my duty to risk it. “Cunning foxes !" I shouted. I saw in a moment the Frenchmen did not know what the word was, for they waited in the hope of seeing their victims appear. But I caught a low crackling sound in the bushes, and knew that they were warr arned, and were making off.

" Let us go near, sir,” I said to the captain ; "they will not fire on

US now.

a

I knew the party was too small for resistance, and felt sure of their escape--a hope dawned on me, too, that I might get off myself in the wood ; but the Frenchman mistrusted me; and though he sent two men into the wood, who came back as wise as they went, he took care not to let me stir an inch. When the men returned to us, he muttered something in French, and said in a low tone to me : “ If you have deceived us, I will throw you into the sea like a dog, sir—like a dog !" I thought it best to be silent; but every time that any of them looked at me, their eyes glared, as if they could eat me. I tried to look as like a simple innocent lad as I could, but I was wondering all the time how my Frenchman would try and find me out. “ Perhaps he will ask one of the others," said I to myself; " and then overboard I go.” So as soon as I was within hearing of the boat, I said :

Now, sir, let me ask the lieutenant what the word was; then you

will know the truth.” Well, speak,” he said. * Mr Lieutenant !" I shouted. " Ay, ay,” he said. “Is not.Cunning foxes' the password ?"

“Ay, ay," was the response; and I knew a quiet chuckle followed the words. Poor lad, it was the last joke he ever laughed over! Another muttered French word from my French captain, and he seized me by the collar, as if he would choke me; but I looked up so simply into his face, and said: “There, sir," as if I were so well satisfied, that he clearly did not know whether I was a fool or a knave. We went into the boat; and as we neared the French ship, were joined by the two other boats, loaded with French sailors armed to the teeth. We made rapidly for our vessel. The intention of the

66

French was clear : they meant to board the vessel under pretence of being our own party come back. To make the plan quite sure, the Frenchman sat down and tried to bribe our lieutenant to betray his ship. I heard him talking of the French emperor-how he rewarded his officers—what fortunes and grand titles he gave them. He said : “ You shall never serve against the English. You shall be sent to foreign countries; but you shall be a general within two years, and

you

shall receive" “Speak French, sir,” said the young man, and they talked long in low voices; and the young lieutenant seemed, by his manner, to give way to his arguments, and to be going over to his side. I was growing hot and angry, when I felt the young man's hand steal softly into my pocket—mine followed it; and he gave me what I felt to be a ring wrapped in paper. I bent my head down low, to shew I knew what he meant, and would obey him; and then the tears came into my eyes, for I knew the brave boy had resolved to die rather than betray his comrades. We neared the ship; my heart died within me--not for myself, but for the brave fellows who were to fall victims to their stealthy foes. I had opened my mouth to shout, and try to warn them, when my young

officer rose, leaning hard on my shoulder as he did so, with a kindly firm pressure. I looked up at him, and his face had the same expression as when I passed him to jump on shore. He took a speaking-trumpet from the Frenchman's hand, and put it to his mouth. At the same time, the French captain rose, and placed a pistol so near the young man's forehead, that the cold steel touched him ; but he never flinched. I made a sudden spring.

Silence, or I shoot him !” hissed the Frenchman.

a

head on my

knees.

I shrank back, and laid my

“Boat ahoy !" shouted the lieutenant, and his voice did not shake. The hail was answered from the ship. The moon hid behind clouds, the last chance of our captain catching a glimpse of the Frenchmen was gone. “ All well, sir ?" said the captain, coming to the side of the ship.

“ All wrong, sir—the French !" shouted the young lieutenant; and as the words passed his lips, the pistol was fired, and he fell overboard. The Frenchman's eyes followed him, and they were full of tears. “ Brave boy!" I heard him say, as I sprang overboard. No one noticed me, all were intent on reaching the ship. I saw the lieutenant rise a few yards from me; a few quick strokes, and I had seized him before he sank again. The moon came out, and shone on his face, and for a minute I held him ; but I saw he was quite dead-so young, so brave, quite dead—with a smile on his firm-set lips--the smile of a true brave heart. I let him go, that I might do as he had bidden me, and the waves closed over him, and I felt as if I had lost a brother. I swam for the ship, swung myself up by a chain to the port-hole, and was soon in the thick of a fight. How I fought that night, as if I were possessed! They called me brave afterwards; it was not courage, but wild grief and fierce revenge I felt; and when it was over, and the French driven off-for we drove them off, and fought their ship next day, and got back our men safe and sound—I sat down and cried as if my heart would break. Our fellows could not make it out at first, till I told them the whole thing, and then many raised their hands to their caps, and not a few rubbed their sleeves across their eyes.

The first thing I did when I went ashore, before I went to see father, and mother, and Sally, and little

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