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Homeward Bound by James Fenimore Cooper

Part 10 out of 10

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"None in the world, sir. It is your object to clear your ship of a
delinquent, and let those among whom he committed the fault be
the agents."

"Ay--ay! this is what Vattel calls the comity of nations. Captain Ducie, I
beg you will issue your orders."

The English commander had foreseen some difficulty, and, in sending away
his boat when he came below, he had sent for a corporal's guard. These men
were now in a cutter, near the ship, lying off on their oars, in a rigid
respect to the rights of a stranger, however,--as Captain Truck was glad
to see, the whole party having gone on deck as soon as the arrangement was
settled. At an order from their commander the marines boarded the Montauk,
and proceeded below in quest of their prisoner.

Mr. Sandon had been left alone in Eve's cabin; but as soon as he found
himself at liberty, he hurried into his own state-room. Captain Truck went
below, while the marines were entering the ship; and, having passed a
minute in his own room, he stepped across the cabin, to that of the
culprit. Opening the door without knocking, he found the unhappy man in
the very act of applying a pistol to his head, his own hand being just in
time to prevent the catastrophe. The despair portrayed in the face of the
criminal prevented reproach or remonstrance, for Captain Truck was a man
of few words when it was necessary to act. Disarming the intended suicide,
he coolly counted out to him thirty-five pounds, the money paid for his
passage, and told him to pocket it.

"I received this on condition of delivering you safe in New York," he
said; "and as I shall fail in the bargain, I think it no more than just to
return you the money. It may help you on the trial."

"Will they hang me?" asked Mr. Sandon hoarsely, and with an imbecility
like that of an infant.

The appearance of the marines prevented reply, the prisoner was secured,
his effects were pointed out, and his person was transferred to the boat
with the usual military promptitude. As soon as this was done the cutter
pulled away from the packet, and was soon hoisted in again on the
corvette's deck. That day month the unfortunate victim of a passion for
trifles committed suicide in London, just as they were about to transfer
him to Newgate; and six months later his unhappy sister died of a
broken heart.

Chapter XXXIV.

We'll attend you there:
Where, if you bring not Marcius, we'll proceed
In our first way.


Eve and Mademoiselle Viefville had been unwilling spectators of a portion
of the foregoing scene, and Captain Ducie felt a desire to apologise for
the part he had been obliged to act in it. For this purpose he had begged
his friend the baronet to solicit a more regular introduction than that
received through Captain Truck.

"My friend Ducie is solicitous to be introduced, Miss Effingham, that he
may urge something in his own behalf concerning the commotion he has
raised among us."

A graceful assent brought the young commander forward, and as soon as he
was named he made a very suitable expression of his regret to the ladies,
who received it as a matter of course, favourably.

"This is a new duty to me, the arrest of criminals," added Captain Ducie.

The word _criminals_ sounded harsh to the ear of Eve, and she felt her
cheek becoming pale.

"Much as we regret the cause," observed the father "we can spare the
person you are about to take from us without much pain; for _we_ have
known him for an impostor from the moment he appeared.--Is there not some
mistake? That is the third trunk that I have seen passed into the boat
marked P. P."

Captain Ducie smiled, and answered,--

"You will call it a bad pun if I say P. P. see," pointing to Paul, who was
coming from the cabin attended by Captain Truck. The latter was conversing
warmly, gesticulating towards the corvette, and squeezing his
companion's hand.

"Am I to understand," said Mr. Effingham earnestly, "that Mr. Powis, too,
is to quit us?"

"He does me the favour, also,"--Captain Ducie's lip curled a little at the
word _favour_,--"to accompany me to England."

Good breeding and intense feeling caused a profound suspense, until the
young man himself approached the party. Paul endeavoured to be calm, and
he even forced a smile as he addressed his friends.

"Although I escape the honours of a marine guard," he said,--and Eve
thought he said it bitterly, "I am also to be taken out of the ship.
Chance has several times thrown me into your society, Mr. Effingham---
Miss Effingham--and, should the same good fortune ever again occur, I hope
I may be permitted to address you at once as an old acquaintance."

"We shall always entertain a most grateful recollection of your important
services, Mr. Powis," returned the father, "and I shall not cease to wish
that the day may soon arrive when I can have the pleasure of receiving you
under my own roof."

Paul now offered to take the hand of Mademoiselle Viefville, which he
kissed gallantly. He did the same with Eve's, though she felt him tremble
in the attempt. As these ladies had lived much in countries in which this
graceful mode of salutation prevails among intimates, the act passed as a
matter of course.

With Sir George Templemore, Paul parted with every sign of good-will. The
people, to whom he had caused a liberal donation to be made, gave him
three cheers, for they understood his professional merits at least; and
Saunders, who had not been forgotten, attended him assiduously to the side
of the ship. Here Mr. Leach called, "the Foam's away!" and Captain Ducie's
gig was manned. At the gangway Captain Truck again shook Paul cordially by
the hand, and whispered something in his ear.

Every thing being now ready, the two gentlemen prepared to go into the
boat. As Eve watched all that passed with an almost breathless anxiety, a
little ceremonial that now took place caused her much pain. Hitherto the
manner of Captain Ducie, as respected his companion, had struck her as
equivocal. At times it was haughty and distant, while at others it had
appeared more conciliatory and kind. All these little changes she had
noted with a jealous interest, and the slightest appearance of respect or
of disrespect was remarked, as if it could furnish a clew to the mystery
of the whole procedure.

"Your boat is ready, sir," said Mr. Leach, stepping out of the gangway to
give way to Paul, who stood nearest to the ladder.

The latter was about to proceed, when he was touched lightly on the
shoulder by Captain Ducie, who smiled, Eve thought haughtily, and
intimated a desire to precede him. Paul coloured, bowed, and falling back,
permitted the English officer to enter his own boat first.

"_Apparemment ce captaine Anglais est un pen sans façon--Voilà qui est
poli!_" whispered Mademoiselle Viefville.

"These commanders of vessels of war are little kings," quietly observed
Mr. Effingham, who had unavoidably noticed the whole procedure.

The gig was soon clear of the ship, and both the gentlemen repeated their
adieus to those on deck. To reach the corvette, to enter her, and to have
the gig swinging on her quarter occupied but five minutes.

Both ships now filled away, and the corvette began to throw out one sheet
of cloth after another until she was under a cloud of canvas, again
standing to the eastward with studding-sails alow and aloft. On the other
hand, the Montauk laid her yards square, and ran down to the Hook. The
pilot from the corvette had been sent on board the packet, and, the wind
standing, by eleven o'clock the latter had crossed the bar. At this moment
the low dark stern of the Foam resembled a small black spot on the sea
sustaining a pyramid of cloud.

"You were not on deck, John, to take leave of our young friend Powis,"
said Mr. Effingham, reproachfully.

"I do not wish to witness a ceremony of this extraordinary nature. And yet
it might have been better if I had."

"Better, cousin Jack!"

"Better. Poor Monday committed to my care certain papers that, I fancy,
are of moment to some one, and these I intrusted to Mr. Powis, with a view
to examine them together when we should get in. In the hurry of parting,
he has carried them off."

"They may be reclaimed by writing to London," said Mr. Effingham quietly.
"Have you his address?"

"I asked him for it; but the question appeared to embarrass him."

"Embarrass, cousin Jack!"

"Embarrass, Miss Effingham."

The subject was now dropped by common consent. A few moments of awkward
silence succeeded, when the interest inseparable from a return home, after
an absence of years, began to resume its influence, and objects on the
land were noticed. The sudden departure of Paul was not forgotten,
however; for it continued the subject of wonder with all for weeks, though
little more was said on the subject.

The ship was soon abreast of the Hook, which Eve compared, to the
disadvantage of the celebrated American haven with the rocky promontories
and picturesque towers of the Mediterranean.

"This portion of our bay, at least, is not very admirable," she said,
"though there is a promise of something better above."

"Some New-York cockney, who has wandered from the crackling heat of his
Nott stove, has taken it into his poetical imagination to liken this bay
to that of Naples," said John Effingham; "and his fellow-citizens greedily
swallow the absurdity, although there is scarcely a single feature in
common to give the foolish opinion value."

"But the bay above _is_ beautiful!"

"Barely pretty: when one has seen it alone, for many years, and has
forgotten the features of other bays, it does not appear amiss; but _you_,
fresh from the bolder landscapes of Southern Europe, will be

Eve, an ardent admirer of nature, heard this with regret, for she had as
much confidence in the taste of her kinsman as in his love of truth. She
knew he was superior to the vulgar vanity of giving an undue merit to a
thing because he had a right of property in it; was a man of the world,
and knew what he uttered on all such matters; had not a particle of
provincial admiration or of provincial weakness MI his composition; and,
although as ready as another, and far more able than most, to defend his
country and her institutions from the rude assault of her revilers, that
he seldom made the capital mistake of attempting to defend a weak point.

The scenery greatly improved, in fact, however, as the ship advanced; and
while she went through the pass called the Narrows, Eve expressed her
delight. Mademoiselle Viefville was in ecstasies, not so much with the
beauties of the place as with the change from the monotony of the ocean to
the movement and liveliness of the shore.

"You think this noble scenery?" said John Effingham.

"As far from it as possible, cousin Jack. I see much meanness and poverty
in the view, but at the same time it has fine parts. The islands are not
Italian, certainly; nor these hills, nor yet that line of distant rocks;
but, together, they form a pretty bay, and a noble one in extent and uses
at least."

"All this is true. Perhaps the earth does not contain another port with so
many advantages for commerce. In this respect I think it positively
unequalled; but I know a hundred bays that surpass it in beauty. Indeed in
the Mediterranean it is not easy to find a natural haven that does not."

Eve was too fresh from the gorgeous coast of Italy to be in ecstasies with
the meagre villages and villas that, more or less, lined the bay of
New-York; but when they reached a point where the view of the two rivers,
separated by the town, came before them, with the heights of Brooklyn,
heights comparatively if not positively, on one side, and the receding
wall of the palisadoes on the other, Eve insisted that the scene was
positively fine.

"You have well chosen your spot," said John Effingham; "but even this is
barely good. There is nothing surpassing about it."

"But it is home, cousin Jack."

"It is _home_, Miss Effingham," he answered, gaping, "and as you have no
cargo to sell, I fear you will find it an exceedingly dull one."

"We shall see--we shall see," returned Eve, laughing. Then, looking about
her for a few minutes, she added with a manner in which real and affected
vexation were prettily blended, "In one thing I do confess myself

"You will be happy, my dear, if it be in only one."

"These smaller vessels are less picturesque than those I have been
accustomed to see."

"You have hit upon a very sound criticism, and, by going a little deeper
into the subject, you will discover a singular deficiency in this part of
an American landscape. The great-height of the spars of all the smaller
vessels of these waters, when compared with the tame and level coast,
river banks, and the formation of the country in general, has the effect
to diminish still more the outlines of any particular scene. Beautiful as
it is, beyond all competition, the Hudson would seem still more so, were
it not for these high and ungainly spars."

The pilot now began to shorten sail, and the ship drew into that arm of
the sea which, by a misnomer peculiarly American, it is the fashion to
call the East River. Here our heroine candidly expressed her
disappointment, the town seeming mean and insignificant. The Battery, of
which she remembered a little, and had heard so much, although beautifully
placed, disappointed her, for it had neither the extent and magnificence
of a park, nor the embellishments and luxurious shades of a garden. As she
had been told that her countrymen were almost ignorant of the art of
landscape gardening, she was not so much disappointed with this spot,
however, as with the air of the town, and the extreme filth and poverty of
the quays. Unwilling to encourage John Effingham in his diposition to
censure, she concealed her opinions for a time.

"There is less improvement here than even I expected," said Mr. Effingham,
as they got into a coach on the wharf. They had taught me, John, to expect
great improvements. "And great, very great improvements have been made in
your absence. If you could see this place as you knew it in youth, the
alterations would seem marvellous."

"I cannot admit this. With Eve, I think the place mean in appearance,
rather than imposing, and so decidedly provincial as not to possess a
single feature of a capital."

"The two things are not irreconcilable, Ned, if you will take the trouble
to tax your memory. The place _is_ mean and provincial; but thirty years
since it was still meaner and more provincial than it is to-day. A century
hence it will begin to resemble a large European town."

"What odious objects these posts are!" cried Eve.

"They give the streets the air of a village, and I do not see their

"These posts are for awnings, and of themselves they prove the peculiar
country character of the place. If you will reflect, however, you will see
it could net well be otherwise. This town to-day contains near
three-hundred thousand souls, two-thirds of whom are in truth emigrants
from the interior of our own, or of some foreign country; and such a
collection of people cannot in a day give a town any other character than
that which belongs to themselves. It is not a crime to be provincial and
rustic; it is only ridiculous to fancy yourselves otherwise, when the fact
is apparent."

"The streets seem deserted. I had thought New York a crowded town."

"And yet this is Broadway, a street that every American will tell you is
so crowded as to render respiration impossible."

"John Effingham excepted," said Mr. Effingham smiling.

"Is _this_ Broadway?" cried Eve, fairly appalled.

"Beyond a question. Are you not smothered?"

Eve continued silent until the carriage reached the door of her father's
house. On the other hand, Mademoiselle Viefville expressed herself
delighted with all she saw, a circumstance that might have deceived a
native of the country, who did not know how to explain her raptures. In
the first place she was a Frenchwoman, and accustomed to say pleasant
things; then she was just relieved from an element she detested, and the
land was pleasant in her eyes. But the principal reason is still in
reserve: Mademoiselle Viefville, like most Europeans, had regarded America
not merely as a provincial country, and this without a high standard of
civilization for a province, as the truth would have shown, but as a
semi-barbarous quarter of the world; and the things she saw so much
surpassed her expectations, that she was delighted, as it might be,
by contrast.

As we shall have a future occasion to speak of the dwelling of Mr.
Effingham, and to accompany the reader much further in the histories of
our several characters, we shall pass over the feelings of Eve when fairly
established that night under her own roof. The next morning, however, when
she descended to breakfast, she was met by John Effingham, who gravely
pointed to the following paragraph in one of the daily journals.

"The Montauk, London packet, which has been a little out of time, arrived
yesterday, as reported in our marina news. This ship has met with various
interesting adventures, that, we are happy to hear, will shortly be laid
before the world by one of her passengers, a gentleman every way qualified
for the task. Among the distinguished persons arrived in this ship is our
contemporary, Steadfast Dodge, Esquire, whose amusing and instructing
letters from Europe are already before the world.--We are glad to hear
that Mr Dodge returns home better satisfied than ever with his own
country, which he declares to be quite good enough for him It is whispered
that our literary friend has played a conspicuous part in some recent
events on the coast of Africa, though his extreme and well known modesty
renders him indisposed to speak of the affair; but we forbear ourselves
out of respect to a sensibility that we know how to esteem.

"His Britannic Majesty's ship, Foam, whose arrival we noticed a day or two
since, boarded the Montauk off the Hook, and took out of her two
criminals, one of whom, we are told, was a defaulter for one hundred and
forty thousand pounds, and the other a deserter from the king's service,
though a scion of a noble house. More of this to-morrow."

The morrow never came, for some new incident took the place of the
promised narration. A people who do not give themselves time to eat, and
with whom "go ahead" has got to be the substitute of even religion, little
troubling themselves to go back twenty-four hours in search of a fact.

"This must be a base falsehood, cousin Jack," said Eve, as she laid down
the paper, her brow flushed with an indignation that, for the moment,
proved too strong for even apprehension.

"I hope it may turn out to be so, and yet I consider the affair
sufficiently singular to render suspicion at least natural."

How Eve both thought and acted in the matter, will appear hereafter.


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