Part 2 out of 10
line of truth which so many of the "god-likes" of the republic, under the
influence of their passions, and stimulated by the transient and
fluctuating interests of the day, entirely overlooked, or which, if
seeing, they recklessly disregarded. A less impracticable subject for
excitement,--the _primum mobile_ of all American patriotism and activity,
if we are to believe the theories of the times,--could not be found, than
this gentleman. Independence of situation had induced independence of
thought; study and investigation rendered him original and just, by
simply exempting him from the influence of the passions; and while
hundreds were keener, abler in the exposition of subtleties, or more
imposing with the mass, few were as often right, and none of less
selfishness, than this simple-minded and upright gentleman. He loved his
native land, while he saw and regretted its weaknesses; was its firm and
consistent advocate abroad, without becoming its interested or mawkish
flatterer at home, and at all times, and in all situations, manifested
that his heart was where it ought to be.
In many essentials, John Effingham was the converse of all this. Of an
intellect much more acute and vigorous than that of his cousin, he also
possessed passions less under control, a will more stubborn, and
prejudices that often neutralized his reason. His father had inherited
most of the personal property of the family, and with this he had plunged
into the vortex of monied speculation that succeeded the adoption of the
new constitution, and verifying the truth of the sacred saying, that
"where treasure is, there will the heart be also," he had entered warmly
and blindly into all the factious and irreconcilable principles of party,
if such a word can properly be applied to rules of conduct that Bary with
the interests of the day, and had adopted the current errors with which
faction unavoidably poisons the mind.
America was then much too young in her independence, and too insignificant
in all eyes but her own, to reason and act for herself, except on points
that pressed too obviously on her immediate concerns to be overlooked; but
the great social principles,--or it might be better to say, the great
social interests,--that then distracted Europe, produced quite as much
sensation in that distant country, as at all comported with a state of
things that had so little practical connexion with the result, The
Effingham family had started Federalists, in the true meaning of the term;
for their education, native sense and principles, had a leaning to order,
good government, and the dignity of the country; but as factions became
fiercer, and names got to be confounded and contradictory, the landed
branch settled down into what they thought were American, and the
commercial branch into what might properly be termed English Federalists.
We do not mean that the father of John intended to be untrue to his native
land; but by following up the dogmas of party he had reasoned himself into
a set of maxims which, if they meant anything, meant everything but that
which had been solemnly adopted as the governing principles of his own
country, and many of which were diametrically opposed to both its
interests and its honour.
John Effingham had insensibly imbibed the sentiments of his particular
sect, though the large fortune inherited from his father had left him too
independent to pursue the sinuous policy of trade. He had permitted
temperament to act on prejudice to such an extent that he vindicated the
right of England to force men from under the American flag, a doctrine
that his cousin was too simple-minded and clear-headed ever to entertain
for an instant: and he was singularly ingenious in discovering blunders in
all the acts of the republic, when they conflicted with the policy of
Great Britain. In short, his talents were necessary, perhaps, to reconcile
so much sophistry, or to render that reasonably plausible that was so
fundamentally false. After the peace of 1815, John Effingham went abroad
for the second time, and he hurried through England with the eagerness of
strong affection; an affection that owed its existence even more to
opposition than to settled notions of truth, or to natural ties. The
result was disappointment, as happens nineteen times in twenty, and this
solely because, in the zeal of a partisan he had fancied theories, and
imagined results. Like the English radical, who rushes into America with a
mind unsettled by impracticable dogmas, he experienced a reaction, and
this chiefly because he found that men were not superior to nature, and
discovered so late in the day, what he might have known at starting, that
particular causes must produce particular effects. From this time, John
Effingham became a wiser and a more moderate man; though, as the shock had
not been sufficiently violent to throw him backward on truth, or rather
upon the opposing prejudices of another sect, the remains of the old
notions were still to be discovered lingering in his opinions, and
throwing a species of twilight shading over his mind; as, in nature, the
hues of evening and the shadows of the morning follow, or precede, the
light of the sun.
Under the influence of these latent prejudices, then, John Effingham
replied to the remarks of his cousin, and the discourse soon partook of
the discursive character of all arguments, in which the parties are not
singularly clear-headed, and free from any other bias than that of truth,
Nearly all joined in it, and half an hour was soon passed in settling the
law of nations, and the particular merits or demerits of the instance
It was a lovely night, and Mademoiselle Viefville and Eve walked the deck
for exercise, the smoothness of the water rendering the moment every way
favourable. As has been already said, the common feeling in the escape of
the new-married couple had broken the ice, and less restraint existed
between the passengers, at the moment when Mr. Grab left the ship, than
would have been the case at the end of a week, under ordinary
circumstances. Eve Effingham had passed her time since her eleventh year
principally on the continent of Europe, and in the mixed intercourse that
is common to strangers in that part of the world; or, in other words,
equally without the severe restraint that is usually imposed there on the
young of her own sex, or without the extreme license that is granted to
them at home. She came of a family too well toned to run into the
extravagant freedoms that sometimes pass for easy manners in America, had
she never quitted her father's house even: but her associations abroad had
unavoidably imparted greater reserve to her ordinary deportment than the
simplicity of cis-Atlantic usages would have rendered indispensable in the
most, fastidious circles. With the usual womanly reserves, she was natural
and unembarrassed in her intercourse with the world, and she had been
allowed to see so many different nations, that she had obtained a
self-confidence that did her no injury, under the influence of an
exemplary education, and great natural dignity of mind. Still,
Mademoiselle Viefville, notwithstanding she had lost some of her own
peculiar notions on the subject, by having passed so many years in an
American family, was a little surprised at observing that Eve received the
respectful advances of Mr. Sharp and Mr. Blunt with less reserve than it
was usual to her to manifest to entire strangers. Instead of remaining a
mere listener, she answered several remarks of the first, and once or
twice she even laughed with him openly at some absurdity of the committee
of five. The cautious governess wondered, but half disposed to fancy that
there was no more than the necessary freedom of a ship in it all,--for,
like a true Frenchwoman, Mademoiselle Viefville had very vague notions of
the secrets of the mighty deep--she permitted it to pass, confiding in the
long-tried taste and discretion of her charge. While Mr. Sharp discoursed
with Eve, who held her arm the while, she herself had fallen into an
animated conversation with Mr. Blunt, who walked at her side, and who
spoke her own language so well, that she at first set him down as a
countryman, travelling under an English appellation, as _a nom de guerre_.
While this dialogue was at its height of interest--for Paul Blunt
discoursed with his companion of Paris and its excellencies with a skill
that soon absorbed all her attention, "_Paris, ce magnifique Paris,_"
having almost as much influence on the happiness of the governess, as it
was said to have had on that of Madame de Stael, Eve's companion dropped
his voice to a tone that was rather confidential for a stranger, although
it was perfectly respectful, and said,--
"I have flattered myself, perhaps through the influence of self-love
alone, that Miss Effingham has not so far forgotten all whom she has met
in her travels, as to think me an utter stranger."
"Certainly not," returned Eve, with perfect simplicity and composure;
"else would one of my faculties, that of memory, be perfectly useless. I
knew you at a glance, and consider the worthy captain's introduction as so
much finesse of breeding utterly thrown away."
"I am equally gratified and vexed at all this; gratified and infinitely
flattered to find that I have not passed before your eyes like the common
herd, who leave no traces of even their features behind them; and vexed at
finding myself in a situation that, I fear, you fancy excessively
"Oh, one hardly dare to attach such consequences to acts of young men, or
young women either, in an age as original as our own. I saw nothing
particularly absurd but the introduction;--and so many absurder have since
passed, that this is almost forgotten."
"And the name--?"
"--Is certainly a keen one. If I am not mistaken, when we were in Italy
you were content to let your servant bear it; but, venturing among a
people so noted for sagacity as the Yankees, I suppose you have fancied it
was necessary to go armed _cap-á-pié_."
Both laughed lightly, as if they equally enjoyed the pleasantry, and then
"But I sincerely hope you do not impute improper motives to the
"I impute it to that which makes many young men run from Rome to Vienna,
or from Vienna to Paris; which causes you to sell the _vis-a-vis_ to buy a
_dormeuse_; to know your friends to-day, and to forget them to-morrow; or,
in short, to do a hundred other things that can be accounted for on no
"And this motive--?"
"--Is simply caprice."
"I wish I could persuade you to ascribe some better reason to all my
conduct. Can you think of nothing, in the present instance, less
"Perhaps I can," Eve answered, after a moment of thought; then laughing
lightly again, she added, quickly; "But I fear, in exonerating you from
the charge of unmitigated caprice, I shall ascribe a reason that does
little less credit to your knowledge."
"This will appear in the end. Does Mademoiselle Viefville remember me, do
"It is impossible; she was ill, you will remember, the three months we saw
so much of you."
"And your father, Miss Effingham;--am I really forgotten by him?"
"I am quite certain you are not. He never forgets a face, whatever in this
instance may have befallen the name."
"He received me so coldly, and so much like a total stranger!"
"He is too well-bred to recognise a man who wishes to be unknown, or to
indulge in exclamations of surprise, or in dramatic starts. He is more
stable than a girl, moreover, and may feel less indulgence to caprice."
"I feel obliged to his reserve; for exposure would be ridiculous, and so
long as you and he alone know me, I shall feel less awkward in the ship. I
am certain neither will betray me."
"Betray, discover, annihilate me if you will. Anything is preferable to
"This touches a little on the caprice; but you flatter yourself with too
much security; you are known to one more besides my father, myself, and
the honest man whom you have robbed of all his astuteness, which I believe
was in his name."
"For pity's sake, who can it be?"
"The worthy Nanny Sidley, my whilom nurse, and actual _femme de chambre_.
No ogre was ever more vigilant on his ward than the faithful Nanny, and it
is vain to suppose she does not recall your features."
"But ogres sometimes sleep; recollect how many have been overcome in that
Eve smiled, but shook her head. She was about to assure Mr. Sharp of the
vanity of his belief, when an exclamation from her governess diverted the
attention of both, and before either had time to speak again, Mademoiselle
turned to them, and said rapidly in French--
"I assure you, _ma chère_, I should have mistaken monsieur for a
_compatriote_ by his language, were it not for a single heinous fault that
he has just committed."
"Which fault you will suffer me to inquire into, that I may hasten to
correct it?" asked Mr. Blunt.
"Mais, monsieur, you speak _too_ perfectly, too grammatically, for a
native. You do not take the liberties with the language that one who feels
he owns it thinks he has a right to do. It is the fault of too much
"And a fault it easily becomes. I thank you for the hint, mademoiselle;
but as I am now going where little French will be heard, it is probable it
will soon be lost in greater mistakes."
The two then turned away again, and continued the dialogue that had been
interrupted by this trifling.
"There may also be one more to whom you are known," continued Eve, as
soon as the vivacity of the discourse of the others satisfied her the
remark would not he heard.
"Surely, you cannot mean _him_?"
"Surely, I do mean _him_. Are you quite certain that 'Mr. Sharp, Mr.
Blunt; Mr. Blunt, Mr. Sharp,' never saw each other before?"
"I think not until the moment we entered the boat in company. He is a
gentlemanly young man; he seems even to be more, and one would not be apt
to forget him. He is altogether superior to the rest of the set: do you
not agree with me?"
Eve made no answer, probably because she thought her companion was not
sufficiently intimate to interrogate her on the subject of her opinions of
others. Mr. Sharp had too much knowledge of the world not to perceive the
little mistake he had made, and after begging the young lady, with a
ludicrous deprecation of her mercy, not to betray him, he changed the
conversation with the tact of a man who saw that the discourse could not
be continued without assuming a confidential character that Eve was
indisposed to permit. Luckily, a pause in the discourse between the
governess and her colloquist permitted a happy turn to the conversation.
"I believe you are an American, Mr. Blunt," he remarked; "and as I am an
Englishman, we may be fairly pitted against each other on this important
question of international law, and about which I hear our worthy captain
flourishing extracts from Vattel as familiarly as household terms. I hope,
at least, you agree with me in thinking that when the sloop-of-war comes
up with us, it will be very silly on our part to make any objections to
being boarded by her?"
"I do not know that it is at all necessary I should be an American to give
an opinion on such a point," returned the young man he addressed,
courteously, though he smiled to himself as he answered--"For what is
right, is right, quite independent of nationality. It really does appear
to me that a public-armed vessel ought, in war or peace, to have a right
to ascertain the character of all merchant-ships, at least on the coast of
the country to which the cruisers belong. Without this power, it is not
easy to see in what manner they can seize smugglers, capture pirates, or
other wise enforce the objects for which such vessels are usually sent to
sea, in the absence of positive hostilities."
"I am happy to find you agreeing with me, then, in the legality of the
doctrine of the right of search."
Paul Blunt again smiled, and Eve, as she caught a glimpse of his fine
countenance in turning in their short walk, fancied there was a concealed
pride of reason in the expression. Still he answered as mildly and quietly
"The right of search, certainly, to attain these ends, but to attain no
more. If nations denounce piracy, for instance, and employ especial agents
to detect and overcome the free-booters, there is reason in according to
these agents all the rights that are requisite to the discharge of the
duties: but, in conceding this much, I do not see that any authority is
acquired beyond that which immediately belongs to the particular service
to be performed. If we give a man permission to enter our house to look
for thieves, it does not follow that, because so admitted, he has a right
to exercise any other function. I do believe that the ship in chase of us,
as a public cruiser, ought to be allowed to board this vessel; but finding
nothing contrary to the laws of nations about her, that she will have no
power to detain or otherwise molest her. Even the right I concede ought to
be exercised in good faith, and without vexatious abuses."
"But, surely, you must think that in carrying off a refugee from justice
we have placed ourselves in the wrong, and cannot object, as a principle,
to the poor man's being taken back again into the country from which he
has escaped, however much we may pity the hardships of the
"I much question if Captain Truck will be disposed to reason so vaguely.
In the first place, he will be apt to say that his ship was regularly
cleared, and that he had authority to sail; that in permitting the officer
to search his vessel, while in British waters, he did all that could be
required of him, the law not compelling him to be either a bailiff or an
informer; that the process issued was to take Davis, and not to detain the
Montauk; that, once out of British waters, American law governs, and the
English functionary became an intruder of whom he had every right to rid
himself, and that the process by which he got his power to act at all
became impotent the instant it was without the jurisdiction under which it
"I think you will find the captain of yonder cruiser indisposed to admit
"That is not impossible; men often preferring abuses to being thwarted in
their wishes. But the captain of yonder cruiser might as well go on board
a foreign vessel of war, and pretend to a right to command her, in virtue
of the commission by which he commands his own ship, as to pretend to find
reason or law in doing what you seem to predict."
"I rejoice to hear that the poor man cannot now be torn from his wife!"
"You then incline to the doctrine of Mr. Blunt, Miss Effingham?" observed
the other controversialist a little reproachfully. "I fear you make it a
"Perhaps I have done what all seem to have done, permitted sympathy to get
the better of reason. And yet it would require strong proof to persuade me
that villanous-looking attorney was engaged in a good cause, and that meek
and warm-hearted wife in a bad one!"
Both the gentlemen smiled, and both turned to the fair speaker, as if
inviting her to proceed. But Eve checked herself, having already said more
than became her, in her own opinion.
"I had hoped to find an ally in you, Mr. Blunt, to sustain the claim of
England to seize her own seamen when found on board of vessels of another
nation," resumed Mr. Sharp, when a respectful pause had shown both the
young men that they need expect nothing more 'from their fair companion;
"but I fear I must set you down as belonging to those who wish to see the
power of England reduced, _coúte qui coúte_."
This was received as it was meant, or as a real opinion veiled under
"I certainly do not wish to see her power maintained, _coúte qui coúte_"
returned the other, laughing; "and in this opinion, I believe, I may
claim both these ladies as allies."
"_Certainement!_" exclaimed Mademoiselle Viefville, who was a living
proof that the feelings created by centuries of animosity are not to be
subdued by a few flourishes of the pen.
"As for me, Mr. Sharp," added Eve, "you may suppose, being an American
girl, I cannot subscribe to the right of any country to do us injustice;
but I beg you will not include me among those who wish to see the land of
my ancestors wronged, in aught that she may rightfully claim as her due."
"This is powerful support, and I shall rally to the rescue. Seriously,
then, will you allow me to inquire, sir, if you think the right of England
to the services of her seamen can be denied?"
"Seriously, then, Mr. Sharp, you must permit me to ask if you mean by
force, or by reason?"
"By the latter, certainly."
"I think you have taken the weak side of the English argument; the nature
of the service that the subject, or the citizen, as it is now the fashion
to say at Paris, mademoiselle--"
"--_Tant pis_," muttered the governess.
"--Owes his government," continued the young man slightly glancing at Eve,
at the interruption, "is purely a point of internal regulation. In England
there is compulsory service for seamen without restriction, or what is
much the same, without an equal protection; in France, it is compulsory
service on a general plan; in America, as respects seamen, the service is
"Your pardon;--will the institutions of America permit impressment at
"I should think, not indiscriminate impressment; though I do not see why
laws might not be enacted to compel drafts for the ships of war, as well
as for the army: but this is a point that some of the professional
gentlemen on board, if there be any such, might better answer
"The skill with which you have touched on these subjects to-night, had
made me hope to have found such a one in you; for to a traveller, it is
always desirable to enter a country with a little preparation, and a ship
might offer as much temptation to teach as to learn."
"If you suppose me an _American lawyer_, you give me credit for more than
I can lay claim to."
As he hesitated, Eve wondered whether the slight emphasis he had laid on
the two words we have italicised, was heaviest on that which denoted the
country, or on that which denoted the profession.
"I have been much in America, and have paid a little attention to the
institutions, but should be sorry to mislead you into the belief that I am
at all infallible on such points," Mr. Blunt continued.
"You were about to touch on impressment."
"Simply to say that it is a municipal national power, one in no degree
dependent on general principles, and that it can properly be exercised in
no situation in which the exercise of municipal or national powers is
forbidden. I can believe that this power may be exercised on board
American ships in British waters--or at least, that it is a more plausible
right in such situations; but I cannot think it can be rightfully
exercised anywhere else. I do not think England would submit to such a
practice an hour, reversing the case, and admitting her present strength:
and an appeal of this sort is a pretty good test of a principle."
"Ay, ay, what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, as Vattel
says," interrupted Captain Truck, who had overheard the last speech or
two: "not that he says this in so many words, but then, he has the
sentiment at large scattered throughout his writings. For that matter,
there is little that can be said on a subject that he does not put before
his readers, as plainly as Beachy Head lies before the navigator of the
British Channel. With Bowditch and Vattel, a man might sail round the
globe, and little fear of a bad landfall, or a mistake in principles. My
present object is to tell you, ladies, that the steward has reported the
supper in waiting for the honour of your presence."
Before quitting the deck, the party inquired into the state of the chase,
and the probable intentions of the sloop-of-war.
"We are now on the great highway of nations," returned Mr. Truck, "and it
is my intention to travel it without jostling, or being jostled. As for
the sloop, she is standing out under a press of canvas, and we are
standing from her, in nearly a straight line, in like circumstances. She
is some eight or ten miles astern of us, and there is an old saying among
seamen that 'a stern chase is a long chase.' I do not think our case is
about to make an exception to the rule. I shall not pretend to say what
will be the upshot of the matter; but there is not the ship in the British
navy that can gain ten miles on the Montauk, in her present trim, and with
this breeze, in as many hours; so we are quit of her for the present."
The last words were uttered just as Eve put her foot on the step to
descend into the cabin.
_Steph._ Doth thy other mouth call me? Mercy! Mercy!
The life of a packet steward is one of incessant mixing and washing, of
interrogations and compoundings, all in a space of about twelve feet
square. These functionaries, usually clever mulattoes who have caught the
civilisation of the kitchen, are busy from morning till night in their
cabins, preparing dishes, issuing orders, regulating courses, starting
corks, and answering questions. Apathy is the great requisite for the
station; for wo betide the wretch who fancies any modicum of zeal, or good
nature, can alone fit him for the occupation. From the moment the ship
sails until that in which a range of the cable is overhauled, or the chain
is rowsed up in readiness to anchor, no smile illumines his face, no tone
issues from his voice while on duty, but that of dogged routine--of
submission to those above, or of snarling authority to those beneath him.
As the hour for the "drink gelt," or "buona mana," approaches, however, he
becomes gracious and smiling. On his first appearance in the pantry of a
morning, he has a regular series of questions to answer, and for which,
like the dutiful Zeluco, who wrote all his letters to his mother on the
same day, varying the dates to suit the progress of time, he not
unfrequently has a regular set of answers out and dried, in his
gastronomical mind. "How's the wind?" "How's the weather?" "How's her
head?" all addressed to this standing almanack, are mere matters of
course, for which he is quite prepared, though it is by no means unusual
to hear him ordering a subordinate to go on deck, after the answer is
given, with a view to ascertain the facts. It is only when the voice of
the captain is heared from his state-room, that he conceives himself bound
to be very particular, though such is the tact of all connected with
ships, that they instinctively detect the "know nothings," who are
uniformly treated with an indifference suited to their culpable ignorance.
Even the "old salt" on the forecastle has an instinct for a brother tar,
though a passenger, and a due respect is paid to Neptune in answering his
inquiries, while half the time the maiden traveller meets with a grave
equivoque, a marvel, or a downright mystification.
On the first morning out, the steward of the Montauk commenced the
dispensation of his news; for no sooner was he heard rattling the glasses,
and shuffling plates in the pantry, than the attack was begun by Mr.
Dodge, in whom "a laudable thirst after knowledge," as exemplified in
putting questions, was rather a besetting principle. This gentleman had
come out in the ship, as has been mentioned, and unfortunately for the
interest of his propensity, not only the steward, but all on board, had,
as it is expressed in slang language, early taken the measure of his foot.
The result of his present application was the following brief dialogue.
"Steward," called out Mr. Dodge, through the blinds of his state-room;
"whereabouts are we?"
"In the British Channel, sir."
"I might have guessed that, myself."
"So I s'pose, sir; nobody is better at guessing and divining than Mr.
"But in what part of the Channel are we, Saunders?"
"About the middle, sir."
"How far have we come to night?"
"From Portsmouth Roads to this place, sir."
Mr. Dodge was satisfied, and the steward, who would not have dared to be
so explicit with any other cabin-passenger, continued coolly to mix an
omelette. The next attack was made from the same room, by Sir George
"Steward, my good fellow, do you happen to know whereabouts we are?"
"Certainly, sir; the land is still werry obwious."
"Are we getting on cleverly?"
"_Nicely_, sir;" with a mincing emphasis on the first word, that betrayed
there was a little waggery about the grave-looking mulatto.
"And the sloop-of-war, steward?"
"Nicely too, sir."
There was a shuffling in the state-room, followed by a silence. The door
of Mr. Sharp's room was now opened an inch or two, and the following
questions issued through the crevice:
"Is the wind favourable, steward?"
"Just her character, sir."
"Do you mean that the wind is favourable?"
"For the Montauk, sir; she's a persuader in this breeze."
"But is she going in the direction we wish?"
"If the gentleman wishes to perambulate America, it is probable he will
get there with a little patience."
Mr. Sharp pulled-to his door, and ten minutes passed without further
questions; the steward beginning to hope the morning catechism was over,
though he grumbled a wish that gentlemen would "turn out" and take a look
for themselves. Now, up to this moment, Saunders knew no more, than those
who had just been questioning him of the particular situation of the ship,
in which he floated as indifferent to the whereabouts and the winds, as
men sail in the earth along its orbit, without bethinking them of
parallaxes, nodes, ecliptics, and solstices. Aware that it was about time
for the captain to be heard, he sent a subordinate on deck, with a view to
be ready to meet the usual questions from his commander. A couple of
minutes were sufficient to put him _au courant_ of the real state of
things. The next door that opened was that of Paul Blunt, however, who
thrust his head into the cabin, with all his dark curls in the confusion
of a night scene.
"How's the wind?"
"Quite exhilarating, sir."
"From what quarter?"
"About south, sir"
"Is there much of it?"
"A prewailing breeze, sir."
"And the sloop?"
"She's to leeward, sir, operating along as fast as she can."
"Sir," stepping hurriedly out of his pantry, in order to hear more
"Under what sail are we?"
"Topgallant sails, sir."
"How's her head?"
"Delicious! Any news of the rover?"
"Hull down to leeward, sir, and on our quarter.
"Staggering along, eh?"
"Quite like a disguised person, sir."
"Better still. Hurry along that breakfast of yours, sir; I am as hungry as
The honest captain had caught this word from a recent treatise against
agrarianism, and having an acquired taste for orders in one sense, at
least, he flattered himself with being what is called a Conservative, in
other words, he had a strong relish for that maxim of the Scotch
freebooter, which is rendered into English by the comely aphorism of "keep
what you've got, and get what you can."
A cessation of the interrogatories took place, and soon after the
passengers began to appear in the cabin, one by one. As the first step is
almost invariably to go on deck, especially in good weather, in a few
minutes nearly all of the last night's party were again assembled in the
open air, a balm that none can appreciate but those who have experienced
the pent atmosphere of a crowded vessel. The steward had rendered a
faithful account of the state of the weather to the captain, who was now
seen standing in the main-rigging, looking at the clouds to windward, and
at the sloop-of-war to leeward, in the knowing manner of one who was
making comparisons materially to the disadvantage of the latter.
The day was fine, and the Montauk, bearing her canvas nobly, was, to use
the steward's language, also staggering along, under everything that would
draw, from her topgallant-sails down, with the wind near two points
forward of the beam, or on an easy bowline. As there was but little sea,
her rate was quite nine knots, though varying with the force of the wind.
The cruiser had certainly followed them thus far, though doubts began to
be entertained whether she was in chase, or merely bound like themselves
to the westward; a course common to all vessels that wish to clear the
Channel, even when it is intended to go south, as the rocks and tides of
the French coast are inconvenient neighbours in long nights.
"Who knows, after all, that the cutter which tried to board us," asked the
captain aloud, "belongs to the ship to leeward?"
"I know the boat, sir," answered the second mate; "and the ship is the
"Let her foam away, then, if she wishes to speak us. Has any one tried her
bearings since daylight?"
"We set her by the compass at six o'clock, sir, and she has not varied her
bearing, as far as from one belaying pin to another, in three hours; but
her hull rises fast: you can now make out her ports, and at daylight the
bottom of her courses dipped."
"Ay, ay, she is a light-going Foam, then! If that is the case, she will be
alongside of us by night."
"In which event, captain, you will be obliged to give him a broadside of
Vattel," threw in John Effingham, in his cool manner.
"If that will answer his errand, he is welcome to as much as he can carry.
I begin to doubt, gentlemen, whether this fellow be not in earnest: in
which case you may nave an opportunity of witnessing how ships are
handled, when seamen have their management. I have no objection, to
setting the experience of a poor come-and-go sort of a fellow, like
myself, in opposition to the geometry and Hamilton Moore of a young
man-of-war's-man. I dare say, now, yonder chap is a lord, or a lord's
progeny, while poor Jack Truck is just as you see him."
"Do you not think half-an-hour of compliance on our part might bring the
matter to an amicable conclusion a once?" said Paul Blunt. "Were we to run
down to him, the object of his pursuit could be determined in a
"What! and abandon poor Davis to the rapacity of that rascally attorney?"
generously exclaimed Sir George Templemore. "I would prefer paying the
port-charges myself, run into the handiest French port, and let the honest
"There is no probability that a cruiser would attempt to take a mere
debtor from a foreign vessel on the open sea."
"If there were no tobacco in the world, Mr. Blunt, I might feel disposed
to waive the categories, and show the gentleman that courtesy," returned
the captain, who was preparing another cigar. "But while the cruiser might
not feel authorised to take an absconding debtor from this vessel, he
might feel otherwise on the subject of tobacco, provided there has been an
information for smuggling."
Captain Truck then explained, that the subordinates of the packets
frequently got their ships into trouble, by taking adventures of the
forbidden weed clandestinely into European ports, and that his ship, in
such circumstances, would lose her place in the line, and derange all the
plans of the company to which she belonged. He did the English government
the justice to say, that it had always manifested a liberal disposition
not to punish the innocent for the guilty; but were any such complaints
actually in the wind, he thought he could settle it with much less loss to
himself on his return, than on the day of sailing. While this explanation
was delivered, a group had clustered round the speaker, leaving Eve and
her party on the opposite side of the deck.
"This last speech of Mr. Blunt's quite unsettles my opinion of his
national character, as Vattel and our worthy captain would say," remarked
Mr. Sharp. "Last night, I set him down as a right loyal American; but I
think it would not be natural for a thorough-going countryman of yours,
Miss Effingham, to propose this act of courtesy to a cruiser of
"How far any countrymen of mine, thorough-going or not, have reason to
manifest extreme courtesy to any of your cruisers," Eve laughingly
replied, "I shall leave Captain Truck to say. But, with you, I have long
been at a loss to determine whether Mr. Blunt is an Englishman or an
American, or indeed, whether he be either."
"Long, Miss Effingham! He then has the honour of being well known to you?"
Eye answered steadily, though the colour mounted to her brow; but whether
from the impetuous exclamation of her companion, or from any feeling
connected with the subject of their conversation, the young man was at a
loss to discover.
"Long, as girls of twenty count time--some four or five years; but you may
judge how well, when I tell you I am ignorant of his country even."
"And may I venture to ask which do you, yourself, give him credit for
being, an American or an Englishman?"
Eve's bright eyes laughed, as she answered, "You have put the question
with so much finesse, and with a politeness so well managed, that I should
indeed be churlish to refuse an answer:--Nay, do not interrupt me, and
spoil all the good you have done by unnecessary protestations of
"All I wish to say is, to ask an explanation of a finesse, of which I am
quite as innocent as of any wish to draw down upon myself the visitations
of your displeasure."
"Do you, then, really conceive it a _credit_ to be an American?"
"Nobody of less modesty than yourself, Miss Effingham, under all the
circumstances, would dream of asking the question."
"I thank you for the civility, which must be taken as it is offered, I
presume, quite as a thing _en règle_; but to leave our fine opinions of
each other, as well as our prejudices, out of the question--"
"You will excuse me if I object to this, for I feel nay good sense
implicated. _You_ can hardly attribute to me opinions so utterly
unreasonable, so unworthy of a gentleman--so unfounded, in short! Am I not
incurring all the risks and hardships of a long sea-voyage, expressly to
visit your great country, and, I trust, to improve by its example
"Since you appear to wish it, Mr. Sharp--" Eve glanced her playful eye up
at him as she pronounced the name--"I will be as credulous as a believer
in animal magnetism: and that, I fancy, is pushing credulity to the verge
of reason. It is now settled between us, that you do conceive it an honour
to be an American, born, educated, and by extraction."
"All of which being the case with Miss Effingham."
"All but the second; indeed, they write me fearful things concerning this
European education of mine; some even go so far as to assure me I shall be
quite unfitted to live in the society to which I properly belong!"
"Europe will be rejoiced to receive you back again, in that case; and no
European more so than myself."
The beautiful colour deepened a little on the cheek of Eve, but she made
no immediate reply.
"To return to our subject," she at length said; "Were I required to say, I
should not be able to decide on the country of Mr. Blunt; nor have I ever
met with any one who appeared to know. I saw him first in Germany, where
he circulated in the best company; though no one seemed acquainted with
his history, even there. He made a good figure; was quite at his ease;
speaks several languages almost as well as the natives of the different
countries themselves; and, altogether, was a subject of curiosity with
those who had leisure to think of any thing but their own dissipation
Mr. Sharp listened with obvious gravity to the fair speaker, and had not
her own eyes been fastened on the deck, she might have detected the lively
interest betrayed in his. Perhaps the feeling which was at the bottom of
all this, to a slight degree, influenced his answer.
"Quite an Admirable Crichton!"
"I do not say that, though certainly expert in tongues. My own rambling
life has made me acquainted with a few languages, and I do assure you,
this gentleman speaks three or four with almost equal readiness, and with
no perceptible accent. I remember, at Vienna, many even believed him to be
"What! with the name of Blunt?"
Eve smiled, and her companion, who silently watched every expression of
her varying countenance, as if to read her thoughts, noted it.
"Names signify little in these migratory times," returned the young lady.
"You have but to imagine a _von_ before it, and it would pass at Dresden,
or at Berlin. Von Blunt, _der Edelgeborne Graf Von Blunt, Hofrath_--or
if you like it better, _Geheimer Rath mit Excellenz und eure Gnaden_"
"Or, _Baw-Berg-Veg-Inspector-Substitut!_" added Mr. Sharp, laughing. "No,
no! this will hardly pass. Blunt is a good old English name; but it has
not finesse enough for Italian, German, Spanish, or anything else but John
Bull and his family."
"I see no necessity, for my part, for all this Bluntishness; the gentleman
may think frankness a good travelling quality."
"Surely, he has not concealed his real name!"
"Mr. Sharp, Mr. Blunt; Mr. Blunt, Mr. Sharp;" rejoined Eve, laughing until
her bright eyes danced with pleasure. "There would be something
ridiculous, indeed, in seeing so much of the finesse of a master of
ceremonies subjected to so profound a mystification! I have been told that
passing introductions amount to little among you men, and this would be a
case in point."
"I would I dared ask if it be really so."
"Were I to be guilty of indiscretion in another's case, you would not fail
to distrust me in your own. I am, moreover, a protestant, and abjure
"You will not frown if I inquire whether the rest of your party remember
"My father, Mademoiselle Viefville, and the excellent Nanny Sidley, again;
but, I think, none other of the servants, as he never visited us. Mr. John
Effingham was travelling in Egypt at the time, and did not see him at all,
and we only met in general society; Nanny's acquaintance merely that of
seeing him check his horse in the Prater, to speak to us of a morning."
"Poor fellow, I pity him; he has, at least, never had the happiness of
strolling on the shores of Como and the islands of Laggo Maggiore in your
company, or of studying the wonders of the Pitti and the Vatican."
"If I must confess all, he journeyed with us on foot and in boats an
entire month, among the wonders of the Oberland, and across the
Wallenstadt. This was at a time when we had no one with us but the regular
guides and the German courier, who was discharged in London."
"Were it not for the impropriety of tampering with a servant, I would
cross the deck and question your good Nanny, this moment!" said Mr. Sharp
with playful menace. "Of all torture, that of suspense is the hardest to
"I grant you full permission, and acquit you of all sins, whether of
disrespect, meanness, impertinence, ungentle-manlike practices, or any
other vice that may be thought to attend and characterize the act."
"This formidable array of qualities would check the curiosity of a village
"It has an effect I did not intend, then; I wish you to put your threat in
"Not seriously, surely?"
"Never more so. Take a favourable moment to speak to the good soul, as an
old acquaintance; she remembers you well, and by a little of that
interrogating management you possess, a favourable opportunity may occur
to bring in the other subject. In the mean time, I will glance over the
pages of this book."
As Eve began to read, Mr. Sharp perceived she was in earnest, and
hesitating a moment, in doubt of the propriety of the act, he yielded to
her expressed desire, and strolled carelessly towards the faithful old
domestic. He addressed her indifferently at first, until believing he
might go further, he smilingly observed that he believed he had seen her
in Italy. To this Nanny quietly assented, and when he indirectly added
that it was under another name, she smiled, but merely intimated her
consciousness of the fact, by a quick glance of the eye.
"You know that travellers assume names for the sake of avoiding
curiosity," he added, "and I hope you will not betray me."
"You need not fear me, sir; I meddle with little besides my own duty, and
so long as Miss Eve appears to think there is no harm in it, I will
venture to say it is no more than a gentleman's caprice."
"Why, that is the very word she applied to it herself! You have caught the
term from Miss Effingham."
"Well, sir, and if I have, it is caught from one who deals little harm to
"I believe I am not the only one on board who travels under a false name,
if the truth were known?"
Nanny looked first at the deck, then at her interrogator's face, next
towards Mr. Blunt, withdrawing her eye again, as if guilty of an
indiscretion, and finally at the sails. Perceiving her embarrassment,
respecting her discretion, and ashamed of the task he had undertaken, Mr.
Sharp said a few civil things suited to the condition of the woman, and
sauntering about the deck for a short time, to avoid suspicion, soon found
himself once more alongside of Eve. The latter inquired with her eyes, a
little exultingly perhaps, concerning his success.
"I have failed," he said; "but something must be ascribed to my own
awkward diffidence; for there is so much meanness in tampering with a
servant, that I had not the heart to push my questions, even while I am
devoured by curiosity."
"Your fastidiousness is not a disease with which all on board are
afflicted, for there is at least one grand inquisitor among us, by what I
can learn; so take heed to your sins, and above all, be very guarded of
old letters, marks, and other tell-tales, that usually expose impostors."
"To all that, I believe, sufficient care has already been had, by that
other Dromio, my own man."
"And in what way do you share the name between you? Is it Dromio of
Syracuse, and Dromio of Ephesus? or does John call himself Fitz-Edward, or
Mortimer, or De Courcy?"
"He has complaisance enough to make the passage with nothing but a
Christian name, I believe. In truth, it was by a mere accident that I
turned usurper in this way. He took the state-room for me, and being
required to give a name, he gave his own, as usual. When I went to the
docks to look at the ship, I was saluted as Mr. Sharp, and then the
conceit took me of trying how it would wear for a month or six weeks. I
would give the world to know if the _Geheimer Rath_ got his cognomen in
the same honest manner."
"I think not, as his man goes by the pungent title of Pepper. Unless poor
John should have occasion for two names during the passage, you are
reasonably safe. And still, I think," continued Eve, biting her lips, like
one who deliberated, "if it were any longer polite to bet, Mr. John
Effingham would hazard all the French gloves in his trunks, against all
the English finery in yours, that the inquisitor just hinted at gets at
your secret before we arrive. Perhaps I ought rather to say, ascertains
that you are not Mr. Sharp, and that Mr. Blunt is."
Her companion entreated her to point out the person to whom she had given
the _sobriquet_ she mentioned.
"Accuse me of giving nicknames to no one. The man has this title from
Mademoiselle Viefville, and his own great deeds. It is a certain Mr.
Steadfast Dodge, who, it seems, knows something of us, from the
circumstance of living in the same county, and who, from knowing a little
in this comprehensive manner, is desirous of knowing a great deal more."
"The natural result of all useful knowledge."
"Mr. John Effingham, who is apt to fling sarcasms at all lands, his native
country included, affirms that this gentleman is but a fair specimen of
many more it will be our fortune to meet in America. If so, we shall not
long be strangers; for according to Mademoiselle Viefville and my good
Nanny, he has already communicated to them a thousand interesting
particulars of himself, in exchange for which he asks no more than the
reasonable compensation of having all his questions concerning us truly
"This is certainly alarming intelligence, and I shall take heed
"If he discover that John is without a surname, I am far from certain he
will not prepare to have him arraigned for some high crime or
misdemeanour; for Mr John Effingham maintains that the besetting
propensity of all this class is to divine the worst the moment their
imaginations cease to be fed with fact. All is false with them, and it is
flattery or accusation."
The approach of Mr. Blunt caused a cessation of the discourse, Eve
betraying a slight degree of sensitiveness about admitting him to share in
these little asides, a circumstance that her companion observed, not
without satisfaction. The discourse now became general, the person who
joined them amusing the others with an account of several proposals
already made by Mr. Dodge, which, as he expressed it, in making the
relation, manifested the strong community-characteristics of an American.
The first proposition was to take a vote to ascertain whether Mr. Van
Buren or Mr. Harrison was the greatest favourite of the passengers; and,
on this being defeated, owing to the total ignorance of so many on board
of both the parties he had named, he had suggested the expediency of
establishing a society to ascertain daily the precise position of the
ship. Captain Truck had thrown cold water on the last proposal, however,
by adding to it what, among legislators, is called a "rider;" he having
drily suggested that one of the duties of the said society should be to
ascertain also the practicability of wading across the Atlantic.
When clouds are seen, wise men put on their cloaks,
When great leaves fall, then winter is at hand;
When the sun sets, who doth not look for night?
Untimely storms make men expect a dearth:
All may be well; but if God sort it so,
'Tis more than we deserve, or I expect.
These conversations, however, were mere episodes of the great business
of the passage. Throughout the morning, the master was busy in rating his
mates, giving sharp reprimands to the stewards and cooks, overhauling the
log line, introducing the passengers, seeing to the stowage of the
anchors, in getting down the signal-pole, throwing in touches of Vattel,
and otherwise superintending duty, and dispensing opinions. All this time,
the cat in the grass does not watch the bird that hops along the ground
with keener vigilance than he kept his eye on the Foam. To an ordinary
observer, the two ships presented the familiar spectacle of vessels
sailing in the same direction, with a very equal rate of speed; and as the
course was that necessary to clear the Channel, most of the passengers,
and, indeed, the greater part of the crew, began to think the cruiser,
like themselves, was merely bound to the westward. Mr. Truck, on the
contrary, judging by signs and movements that more naturally suggested
themselves to one accustomed to direct the evolutions of a ship, and to
reason on their objects, than to the mere subjects of his will, thought
differently. To him, the motive of the smallest change on board the
sloop-of-war was as intelligible as if it had been explained in words, and
he even foresaw many that were about to take place. Before noon, the Foam
had got fairly abeam, and Mr. Leach, pointing out the circumstance,
observed, that if her wish was to overhaul them, she ought then to tack;
it being a rule among seamen, that the pursuing vessel should turn to
windward as often as she found herself nearest to her chase. But the
experience of Captain Truck taught him better; the tide was setting into
the Channel on the flood, and the wind enabled both ships to fake the
current on their lee-bows, a power that forced them up to windward;
whereas, by tacking, the Foam would receive the force of the stream on her
weather broadside, or so nearly so, as to sweep her farther astern than
her difference in speed could easily repair.
"She has the heels of us, and she weathers on us, as it, is," grumbled the
master; "and that might satisfy a man less modest. I have led the
gentleman such a tramp already that he will be in none of the best humours
when he comes alongside, and we may make up our minds on seeing Portsmouth
again before we see New-York, unless a slant of wind, or the night, serve
us a good turn. I trust, Leach, you have not been destroying your
prospects in life by looking too wistfully at a tobacco-field?"
"Not I, sir; and if you will give me leave to say it, Captain Truck, I do
not think a plug has been landed from the ship, which did not go ashore in
a _bona-fide_ tobacco-box, that might appear in any court in England. The
people will swear, to a man, that this is true."
"Ay, ay! and the Barons of the Exchequer would be the greatest fools in
England not to believe them. If there has been no defrauding the revenue,
why does a cruiser follow this ship, a regular packet, to sea?"
"This affair of the steerage passenger, Davis, sir, is probably the cause.
The man may be heavily in debt, or possibly a defaulter; for these rogues,
when they break down, often fall lower than the 'twixt decks of a ship
"This will do to put the quarter-deck and cabin in good humour at sailing,
and give them something to open an acquaintance with; but it is sawdust to
none but your new beginners. I have known that Seal this many a year, and
the rogue never yet had a case that touched the quarter-deck. It is as the
man and his wife say, and I'll not give them up, out here in blue water,
for as much foam as lies on Jersey beach after an easterly blow. It will
not be any of the family of Davis that will satisfy yonder wind-eater; but
he will lay his hand on the whole family of the Montauk, leaving them the
agreeable alternative of going back to Portsmouth in his pleasant society,
or getting out here in mid-channel, and wading ashore as best they can.
D--- me! If I believe, Leach, that Vattel will bear the fellow out in it,
even if there has been a whole hogshead of the leaves trundled into his
island without a permit!"
To this Mr. Leach had no encouraging answer to make, for, like most of his
class, he held practical force in much greater respect than the
abstractions of books. He deemed it prudent, therefore, to be silent,
though greatly doubting the efficacy of a quotation from any authority on
board, when fairly put in opposition to a written order from the admiral
at Portsmouth, or even to a signal sent down from Admiralty at London.
The day wore away, making a gradual change in the relative positions of
the two ships, though so slowly, as to give Captain Truck strong hopes of
being able to dodge his pursuer in the coming night, which promised to be
dark and squally. To return to Portsmouth was his full intention, but not
until he had first delivered his freight and passengers in New-York; for,
like all men bound up body and soul in the performance of an especial
duty, he looked on a frustration of his immediate object as a much greater
calamity than even a double amount of more remote evil. Besides, he felt a
strong reliance on the liberality of the English authorities in the end,
and had little doubt of being able to extricate himself and his ship from
any penalties to which the indiscretion or cupidity of his subordinates
might have rendered him liable.
Just as the sun dipped into the watery track of the Montauk, most of the
cabin passengers again appeared on deck, to take a look at the situation
of the two vessels, and to form their own conjectures as to the probable
result of the adventure. By this time the Foam had tacked twice, once to
weather upon the wake of her chase, and again to resume her line of
pursuit. The packet was too good a ship to be easily overtaken, and the
cruiser was now nearly hull-down astern, but evidently coming up at a rate
that would bring her alongside before morning. The wind blew in squalls, a
circumstance that always aids a vessel of war, as the greater number of
her hands enables them to make and shorten sail with ease and rapidity.
"This unsettled weather is as much as a mile an hour against us," observed
Captain Truck, who was far from pleased at the fact of his being outsailed
by anything that floated; "and, if truth must be said, I think that fellow
has somewhere about half a knot the best of it, in the way of foot, on a
bowline and with this breeze. But he has no cargo in, and they trim their
boats like steel-yards. Give us more wind, or a freer, and I would leave
him to digest his orders, as a shark digests a marling-spike, or a
ring-bolt, notwithstanding all his advantages; for little good would it
then do him to be trying to run into the wind's eye, like a steam-tug. As
it is, we must submit. We are certainly in a category, and be d---d
It was one of those wild-looking sunsets that are so frequent in the
autumn, in which appearances are worse, perhaps, than the reality. The
ships were now so near the Chops of the Channel that no land was visible,
and the entire horizon presented that chill and wintry aspect that belongs
to gloomy and driving clouds, to which streaks of dull light serve more to
give an appearance of infinite space than any of the relief of brightness.
It was a dreary night-fall to a landsman's eye; though they who better
understood the signs of the heavens, as they are exhibited on the ocean,
saw little more than the promise of obscurity, and the usual hazards of
darkness in a much-frequented sea,
"This will be a dirty night," observed John Effingham, "and we may have
occasion to bring in some of the flaunting vanity of the ship, ere another
"The vessel appears to be in good hands," returned Mr. Effingham: "I have
watched them narrowly; for, I know not why, I have felt more anxiety on
the occasion of this passage than on any of the nine I have already made."
As he spoke, the tender father unconsciously bent his eyes on Eve, who
leaned affectionately on his arm, steadying her light form against the
pitching of the vessel. She understood his feelings better than he did
himself, possibly, since, accustomed to his fondest care from childhood,
she well knew that he seldom thought of others, or even of himself, while
her own wants or safety appealed to his unwearying love.
"Father," she said, smiling in his wistful face, "we have seen more
troubled waters than these, far, and in a much frailer vessel. Do you not
remember the Wallenstadt and its miserable skiff? where I have heard you
say there was really danger, though we escaped from it all with a
"Perfectly well do I recollect it, love, nor have I forgotten our brave
companion, and his good service, at that critical moment. But for his
stout arm and timely succour we might not, as you say, have been quit for
Although Mr. Effingham looked only at his daughter, while speaking, Mr.
Sharp, who listened with interest, saw the quick, retreating, glance of
Eve at Paul Blunt, and felt something like a chill in his blood as he
perceived that her own cheeks seemed to reflect the glow which appeared on
that of the young man. He alone observed this secret evidence of common
interest in some event in which both had evidently been actors, those
around them being too much occupied in the arrangements of the ship, and
too little suspicious, to heed the trifling circumstance. Captain Truck
had ordered all hands called, to make sail, to the surprise of even the
crew. The vessel, at the moment, was staggering along under as much canvas
as she could apparently bear, and the mates looked aloft with inquiring
eyes as if to ask what more could be done.
The master soon removed all doubts. With a rapidity that is not common in
merchant ships, but which is usual enough in the packets, the lower
studding-sails, and two topmast-studding-sails were prepared, and made
ready for hoisting. As soon as the words "all ready" were uttered, the
helm was put up, the sails were set, and the Montauk was running with a
free wind towards the narrow passage between the Scilly Islands and the
Land's End. Captain Truck was an expert channel pilot, from long practice,
and keeping the run of the tides in his head, he had loosely calculated
that his vessel had so much offing as, with a free wind, and the great
progress she had made in the last twenty-four hours, would enable him to
lay through the pass.
"'Tis a ticklish hole to run into in a dirty night, with a staggering
breeze," he said, rubbing his hands as if the hazard increased his
satisfaction, "and we will now see if this Foam has mettle enough
"The chap has a quick eye and good glasses, even though he should want
nerve for the Scilly rocks," cried the mate, who was looking out from the
mizzen rigging. "There go his stun'-sails already, and a plenty of them!"
Sure enough the cruiser threw out her studding-sails, had them full and
drawing in five minutes, and altered her course so as to follow the
Montauk. There was now no longer any doubt concerning her object; for it
was hardly possible two vessels should adopt so bold a step as this, just
at dark, and on such a night, unless the movements of one were regulated
by the movements of the other.
In the mean time, anxious faces began to appear on the quarter-deck, and
Mr. Dodge was soon seen moving stealthily about among the passengers,
whispering here, cornering there, and seemingly much occupied in
canvassing opinions on the subject of the propriety of the step that the
master had just taken; though, if the truth must be told, he rather
stimulated opposition than found others prepared to meet his wishes. When
he thought, however, he had collected a sufficient number of suffrages to
venture on an experiment, that nothing but an inherent aversion to
shipwreck and a watery grave could embolden him to make, he politely
invited the captain to a private conference in the state-room occupied by
himself and Sir George Templemore. Changing the _venue_, as the lawyers
term it, to his own little apartment,--no master of a packet willingly
consenting to transact business in any other place--Captain Truck, who was
out of cigars at the moment, very willingly assented.
When the two were seated, and the door of the room was closed, Mr. Dodge
carefully snuffed the candle, looked about him to make sure there was no
eave's-dropper in a room eight feet by seven, and then commenced his
subject, with what he conceived to be a commendable delicacy and
"Captain Truck," he said, in the sort of low confidential tone that
denotes equally concern and mystery, "I think by this time you must have
set me down as one of your warm and true friends and supporters. I came
out in your ship, and, please God we escape the perils of the sea, it is
my hope and intention to return home in her."
"If not, friend Dodge," returned the master, observing that the other
paused to note the effect of his peroration, and using a familiarity in
his address that the acquaintance of the former passage had taught him was
not misapplied; "if not, friend Dodge, you have made a capital mistake in
getting on board of her, as it is by no means probable an occasion will
offer to get out of her, until we fall in with a news-boat, or a
pilot-boat, at least somewhere in the latitude and longitude of Sandy
Hook. You smoke, I believe sir?"
"I ask no better," returned Steadfast, declining the offer; "I have told
every one on the Continent,"--Mr. Dodge had been to Paris, Geneva, along
the Rhine, and through Belgium and Holland, and in his eyes, this was the
Continent,--"that no better ship or captain sails the ocean; and you know
captain, I have a way with me, when I please, that causes what I say to be
remembered. Why, my dear sir, I had an article extolling the whole line in
the most appropriate terms, and this ship in particular, put into the
journal at Rotterdam. It was so well done, that not a soul suspected it
came from a personal friend of yours."
The captain was rolling the small end of a cigar in his mouth to prepare
it for smoking, the regulations of the ship forbidding any further
indulgence below; but when he received this assurance, he withdrew the
tobacco with the sort of mystifying simplicity that gets to be a second
nature with a regular votary of Neptune, and answered with a coolness of
manner that was in ridiculous contrast to the affected astonishment of
"The devil you did!--Was it in good Dutch?"
"I do not understand much of the language," said Mr. Dodge, hesitatingly;
for all he knew, in truth, was _yaw_ and _nein_, and neither of these
particularly well;--"but it looked to be uncommonly well expressed. I
could do no more than pay a man to translate it. But to return to this
affair of running in among the Scilly Islands such a night as this."
"Return, my good fellow! this is the first syllable you have said about
"Concern on your account has caused me to forget myself. To be frank with
you, Captain Truck, and if I wer'n't your very best friend I should be
silent, there is considerable excitement getting up about this matter."
"Excitement! what is that like?--a sort of moral head-sea, do you mean?"
"Precisely: and I must tell you the truth, though I had rather a thousand
times not; but this change in the ship's course is monstrous unpopular!"
"That is bad news, with a vengeance, Mr. Dodge; I shall rely on you, as an
old friend, to get up an opposition."
"My dear captain, I have done all I could in that way already; but I never
met with people so bent on a thing as most of the passengers. The
Effinghams are very decided, though so purse-proud and grand; Sir George
Templemore declares it is quite extraordinary, and even the French lady
is furious. To be as sincere as the crisis demands, public opinion is
setting so strong against you, that I expect an explosion."
"Well, so long as the tide sets in my favour, I must endeavour to bear it.
Stemming a current, in or out of water, is up-hill work; but with a good
bottom, clean copper, and plenty of wind, it may be done."
"It would not surprise me were the gentlemen to appeal to the general
sentiment against you when we arrive, and make a handle of it against
"It may be so indeed; but what can be done? If we return, the Englishman
will certainly catch us, and, in that case, my own opinion would be dead
"Well, well, captain; I thought as a friend I would speak my mind. If this
thing should really get into the papers in America, it would spread like
fire in the prairies. You know what the papers are, I trust,
"I rather think I do, Mr. Dodge, with many thanks for your hints, and I
believe I know what the Scilly Islands are, too. The elections will be
nearly or quite over by the time we get in, and, thank God, they'll not be
apt to make a party question of it, this fall at least. In the mean time
rely on my keeping a good look-out for the shoals of popularity, and the
quicksands of excitement. You smoke sometimes, I know, and I can recommend
this cigar as fit to regale the nose of that chap of Strasbourg----you
read your Bible, I know, Mr. Dodge, and need not be told whom I mean. The
steward will be happy to give you a light on deck, sir."
In this manner, Captain Truck, with the _sang froid_ of an old tar, and
the tact of a packet-master, got rid of his troublesome visiter, who
departed, half suspecting that he had been quizzed, but still ruminating
on the expediency of getting up a committee, or at least a public meeting
in the cabin, to follow up the blow. By the aid of the latter, could he
but persuade Mr. Effingham to take the chair, and Sir George Templemore to
act as secretary, he thought he might escape a sleepless night, and, what
was of quite as much importance, make a figure in a paragraph on
Mr. Dodge, whose Christian name, thanks to a pious ancestry, was
Steadfast, partook of the qualities that his two appellations not inaptly
expressed. There was a singular profession of steadiness of purpose, and
of high principle about him, all of which vanished in Dodge at the close.
A great stickler for the rights of the people, he never considered that
this people was composed of many integral parts, but he viewed all things
as gravitating towards the great aggregation. Majorities were his hobbies,
and though singularly timid as an individual, or when in the minority, put
him on the strongest side and he was ready to face the devil. In short,
Mr. Dodge was a people's man, because his strongest desire, his "ambition
and his pride," as he often expressed it, was to be a man of the people.
In his particular neighbourhood, at home, sentiment ran in veins, like
gold in the mines, or in streaks of public opinion; and though there might
be three or four of these public sentiments, so long as each had its
party, no one was afraid to avow it; but as for maintaining a notion that
was not thus upheld, there was a savour of aristocracy about it that would
damn even a mathematical proposition, though regularly solved and proved.
So much and so long had Mr. Dodge respired a moral atmosphere of this
community-character, and gregarious propensity, that he had, in many
things, lost all sense of his individuality; as much so, in fact, as if he
breathed with a pair of county lungs, ate with a common mouth, drank from
the town-pump, and slept in the open air.
Such a man was not very likely to make an impression on Captain Truck, one
accustomed to rely on himself alone, in the face of warring elements, and
who knew that a ship could not safely have more than a single will, and
that the will of her master.
The accidents of life could scarcely form extremes of character more
remote than that of Steadfast Dodge and that of John Truck. The first
never did anything beyond acts of the most ordinary kind, without first
weighing its probable effect in the neighbourhood; its popularity or
unpopularity; how it might tally with the different public opinions that
were whiffling through the county; in what manner it would influence the
next election, and whether it would be likely to elevate him or depress
him in the public mind. No Asiatic slave stood more in terror of a
vindictive master than Mr. Dodge stood in fear and trembling before the
reproofs, comments, censures, frowns, cavillings and remarks of every man
in his county, who happened to be long to the political party that just at
that moment was in power. As to the minority, he was as brave as a lion,
could snap his fingers at them, and was foremost in deriding and scoffing
at all they said and did. This, however, was in connexion with politics
only; for, the instant party-drill ceased to be of value, Steadfast's
valour oozed out of his composition, and in all other things he dutifully
consulted every public opinion of the neighbourhood. This estimable man
had his weak points as well as another, and what is more, he was quite
sensible of them, as was proved by a most jealous watchfulness of his
besetting sins, in the way of exposure if not of indulgence. In a word,
Steadfast Dodge was a man that wished to meddle with and control all
things, without possessing precisely the spirit that was necessary to
leave him master of himself; he had a rabid desire for the good opinion of
every thing human, without always taking the means necessary to preserve
his own; was a stout declaimer for the rights of the community, while
forgetting that the community itself is but a means set up for the
accomplishment, of a given end; and felt an inward and profound respect
for everything that was beyond his reach, which manifested itself, not in
manly efforts to attain the forbidden fruit, but rather in a spirit of
opposition and detraction, that only betrayed, through its jealousy, the
existence of the feeling, which jealousy, however, he affected to conceal
under an intense regard for popular rights, since he was apt to aver it
was quite intolerable that any man should possess anything, even to
qualities, in which his neighbours might not properly participate. All
these, moreover, and many similar traits, Mr. Dodge encouraged in the
spirit of liberty!
On the other hand, John Truck sailed his own ship; was civil to his
passengers from habit as well as policy; knew that every vessel must have
a captain; believed mankind to be little better than asses; took his own
observations, and cared not a straw for those of his mates; was never more
bent on following his own views than when all hands grumbled and opposed
him; was daring by nature, decided from use and long self-reliance, and
was every way a man fitted to steer his bark through the trackless ways of
life, as well as those of the ocean. It was fortunate for one in his
particular position, that nature had made the possessor of so much
self-will and temporary authority, cool and sarcastic rather than
hot-headed and violent; and for this circumstance Mr. Dodge in particular
had frequent occasions for felicitation.
But then we are in order, when we are
Most out of order.
Disappointed in his private appeal to the captain's dread of popular
disapprobation, Mr. Dodge returned to his secret work on deck: for like a
true freeman of the exclusive school, this person never presumed to work
openly, unless sustained by a clear majority; canvassing all around him,
and striving hard to create a public opinion, as he termed it, on his side
of the question, by persuading his hearers that every one was of his
particular way of thinking already; a method of exciting a feeling much
practised by partisans of his school. In the interval, Captain Truck was
working up his day's reckoning by himself, in his own state-room, thinking
little, and caring less, about any thing but the results of his figures,
which soon convinced him, that by standing a few hours longer on his
present course, he should "plump his ship ashore" somewhere between
Falmouth and the Lizard.
This, discovery annoyed the worthy master so much the more, on account of
the suggestions of his late visiter; for nothing could be less to his
taste than to have the appearance of altering his determination under a
menace. Still something must be done before midnight, for he plainly
perceived that thirty or forty miles, at the farthest, would fetch up the
Montauk on her present course. The passengers had left the deck to escape
the night air, and he heard the Effinghams inviting Mr. Sharp and Mr.
Blunt into the ladies' cabin, which had been taken expressly for their
party, while the others were calling upon the stewards for the usual
allowance of hot drinks, at the dining-table without. The talking and
noise disturbed him; his own state-room became too confined, and he went
on deck to come to his decision, in view of the angry-looking skies and
the watery waste, over which he was called to prevail. Here we shall leave
him, pacing the quarter-deck, in moody silence alone, too much disturbed
to smoke even, while the mate of the watch sat in the mizzen-rigging, like
a monkey, keeping a look-out to windward and ahead. In the mean time, we
will return to the cabin of the Effinghams.
The Montauk was one of the noblest of those surpassingly beautiful and
yacht-like ships that now ply between the two hemispheres in such numbers,
and which in luxury and the fitting conveniences seem to vie with each
other for the mastery. The cabins were lined with satin-wood and
bird's-eye maple; small marble columns separated the glittering panels of
polished wood, and rich carpets covered the floors. The main cabin had the
great table, as a fixture, in the centre, but that of Eve, somewhat
shorter, but of equal width, was free from all encumbrance of the sort. It
had its sofas, cushions, mirrors, stools, tables, and an upright piano.
The doors of the state-rooms, and other conveniences, opened on its sides
and ends. In short, it presented, at that hour, the resemblance of a
tasteful boudoir, rather than that of an apartment in a cramped and
Here, then, all who properly belonged to the place were assembled, with
Mr. Sharp and Mr. Blunt as guests, when a tap at the door announced
another visiter. It was Mr. Dodge, begging to be admitted on a matter of
business. Eve smiled, as she bowed assent to old Nanny, who acted as her
groom of the chambers, and hastily expressed a belief that her guest must
have come with a proposal to form a Dorcas society.
Although Mr. Dodge was as bold as Caesar in expressing his contempt of
anything but popular sway, he never came into the presence of the quiet
and well-bred without a feeling of distrust and uneasiness, that had its
rise in the simple circumstance of his not being used to their company.
Indeed, there is nothing more appalling, in general, to the vulgar and
pretending, than the simplicity and natural ease of the refined. Their own
notions of elegance lie so much on the surface, that they seem at first to
suspect an ambush, and it is probable that, finding so much repose where,
agreeably to their preconceived opinions, all ought to be fuss and
pretension, they imagine themselves to be regarded as intruders.
Mr. Effingham gave their visitor a polite reception, and one that was
marked with a little more than the usual formality, by way of letting it
be understood that the apartment was private; a precaution that he knew
was very necessary in associating with tempers like those of Steadfast.
All this was thrown away on Mr. Dodge, notwithstanding every other person
present admired the tact with which the host kept his guest at a distance,
by extreme attention, for the latter fancied so much ceremony was but a
homage to his claims. It had the effect to put him on his own good
behaviour, however, and of suspending the brusque manner in which he had
intended to broach his subject. As every body waited in calm silence, as
if expecting an explanation of the cause of his visit, Mr. Dodge soon felt
himself constrained to say something, though it might not be quite as
clearly as he could wish.
"We have had a considerable pleasant time, Miss Effingham, since we sailed
from Portsmouth," he observed familiarly.
Eve bowed her assent, determined not to take to herself a visit that did
violence to all her habits and notions of propriety. But Mr. Dodge was too
obtuse to feel the hint conveyed in mere reserve of manner.
"It would have been more agreeable, I allow, had not this man-of-war taken
it into her head to follow us in this unprecedented manner." Mr. Dodge was
as fond of his dictionary as the steward, though he belonged to the
political, while Saunders merely adorned the polite school of talkers.
"Sir George calls it a most 'uncomfortable pro endure.' You know Sir
George Templemore, without doubt, Miss Effingham?"
"I am aware there is a person of that name on board, sir," returned Eve,
who recoiled from this familiarity with the sensitiveness with which a
well-educated female distinguishes between one who appreciates her
character and one who does not; "but have never had the honour of his
Mr. Dodge thought all this extraordinary, for he had witnessed Captain
Truck's introduction, and did not understand how people who had sailed
twenty-four hours in the same ship, and had been fairly introduced, should
not be intimate. As for himself, he fancied he was, what he termed, "well
acquainted" with the Effinghams, from having talked of them a great deal
ignorantly, and not a little maliciously; a liberty he felt himself fully
entitled to take from the circumstance of residing in the same county,
although he had never spoken to one of the family, until accident placed
him in their company on board the same vessel.
"Sir George is a gentleman of great accomplishments, Miss Effingham, I
assure you; a man of unqualified merit. We have the same state-room, for I
like company, and prefer chatting a little in my berth to being always
asleep. He is a baronet, I suppose you know,--not that I care anything for
titles, all men being equal in truth, though--though----"
"--Unequal in reality, sir, you probably meant to add," observed John
Effingham, who was lolling on Eve's work-stand, his eagle-shaped face
fairly curling with the contempt he felt, and which he hardly cared
"Surely not, sir!" exclaimed the terrified Steadfast, looking furtively
about, lest some active enemy might be at hand to quote this unhappy
remark to his prejudice. "Surely not! men are every way equal, and no one
can pretend to be better than another. No, no,--it is nothing to me that
Sir George is a baronet; though one would prefer having a gentleman in the
same state-room to having a coarse fellow. Sir George thinks, sir, that
the ship is running into great danger by steering for the land in so dark
a night, and in such _dirty_ weather. He _has_ many out-of-the-way
expressions, Sir George, I must admit, for one of his rank; he calls the
weather _dirty_, and the proceedings _uncomfortable_; modes of expression,
gentlemen, to which I give an unqualified disapprobation."
"Probably Sir George would attach more importance to a _qualified_
disapprobation," retorted John Effingham.
"Quite likely," returned Mr. Dodge innocently, though the two other
visiters, Eve and Mademoiselle Viefville, permitted slight muscular
movements about the lips to be seen: "Sir George is quite an original in
his way. We have few originals in our part of the country, you know, Mr.
John Effingham; for to say the truth, it is rather unpopular to differ
from the neighbourhood, in this or any other respect. Yes, sir, the people
will rule, and ought to rule. Still, I think Sir George may get along well
enough as a stranger, for it is not quite as unpopular in a stranger to be
original, as in a native. I think you will agree with me, sir, in
believing it excessively presuming in an American to pretend to be
different from his fellow-citizens."
"No one, sir, could entertain such presumption, I am persuaded, in your
"No, sir, I do not speak from personal motives; but of the great general
principles, that are to be maintained for the good of mankind. I do not
know that any man has a right to be peculiar in a free country. It is
aristocratic and has an air of thinking one man is better than another. I
am sure Mr. Effingham cannot approve of it?"
"Perhaps not. Freedom has many arbitrary laws that it will not do to
"Certainly, sir, or where would be its supremacy? If the people cannot
control and look down peculiarity, or anything they dislike, one might as
well live in despotism at once."
"As I have resided much abroad, of late years, Mr. Dodge," inquired Eve,
who was fearful her kinsman would give some cut that would prove to be
past bearing, as she saw his eye was menacing, and who felt a disposition
to be amused at the other's philosophy, that overcame the attraction of
repulsion she had at first experienced towards him--"will you favour me
with some of those great principles of liberty of which I hear so much,
but which, I fear, have been overlooked by my European instructors?"
Mademoiselle Viefville looked grave; Messrs. Sharp and Blunt delighted;
Mr. Dodge, himself, mystified.
"I should feel myself little able to instruct Miss Effingham on such a
subject," the latter modestly replied, "as no doubt she has seen too much
misery in the nations she has visited, not to appreciate justly all the
advantages of that happy country which has the honour of claiming her for
one of its fair daughters."
Eve was terrified at her own temerity, for she was far from anticipating
so high a flight of eloquence in return for her own simple request, but it
was too late to retreat.
"None of the many illustrious and god-like men that our own beloved land
has produced can pretend to more zeal in its behalf than myself, but I
fear my abilities to do it justice will fall far short of the subject," he
continued. "Liberty, as you know, Miss Effingham, as you well know,
gentlemen, is a boon that merits our unqualified gratitude, and which
calls for our daily and hourly thanks to the gallant spirits who, in the
days that tried men's souls, were foremost in the tented field, and in the
councils of the nation."
John Effingham turned a glance at Eve, that seemed to tell her how unequal
she was to the task she had undertaken, and which promised a rescue, with
her consent; a condition that the young lady most gladly complied with in
the same silent but expressive manner.
"Of all this my young kinswoman is properly sensible, Mr. Dodge," he said
by way of diversion; "but she, and I confess myself, have some little
perplexity on the subject of what this liberty is, about which so much has
been said and written in our time. Permit me to inquire, if you understand
by it a perfect independence of thought, action, and rights?"
"Equal laws, equal rights, equality in all respects, and pure, abstract,
unqualified liberty, beyond all question, sir."
"What, a power in the strong man to beat the little man, and to take away
"By no means, sir; Heaven forbid that I should maintain any such doctrine!
It means entire liberty: no kings, no aristocrats, no exclusive
privileges; but one man as good as another!"
"Do you understand, then, that one man is as good as another, under our
system, Mr. Dodge?"
"Unqualifiedly so, sir; I am amazed that such a question should be put by
a gentleman of your information, in an age like this!"
"If one man is as good as another," said Mr. Blunt, who perceived that
John Effingham was biting his lips, a sign that something more biting
would follow,--"will you do me the favour to inform me, why the country
puts itself to the trouble and expense of the annual elections?"
"Elections, sir! In what manner could free institutions flourish or be
maintained, without constantly appealing to the people, the only true
sources of power?"
"To this I make no objections, Mr. Dodge," returned the young man,
smiling; "but why an election; if one man is as good as another, a lottery
would be cheaper, easier, and sooner settled. Why an election, or even a
lottery at all? why not choose the President as the Persians chose their
king, by the neighing of a horse?
"This would be indeed an extraordinary mode of proceeding for an
intelligent and virtuous people, Mr. Blunt; and I must take the liberty of
saying that I suspect you of pleasantry. If you wish an answer, I will
say, at once by such a process we might get a knave, or a fool, or
"How, Mr. Dodge! I did not expect this character of the country from you!
Are the Americans, then, all fools, or knaves, or traitors?"
"If you intend to travel much in our country, sir, I would advise great
caution in throwing out such an insinuation, for it would be apt to meet
with a very general and unqualified disapprobation. Americans are
enlightened and free, and as far from deserving these epithets as any
people on earth."
"And yet the fact follows from your own theory. If one man is as good as
another, and any one of them is a fool, or a knave, or a traitor,--all are
knaves, or fools, or traitors! The insinuation is not mine, but it
follows, I think, inevitably, as a consequence of your own proposition."
In the pause that succeeded, Mr. Sharp said in a low voice to Eve, "He is
an Englishman, after all!"
"Mr. Dodge does not mean that one man is as good as another in that
particular sense," Mr. Effingham kindly interposed, in his quality of
host; "his views are less general, I fancy, than his words would give us,
at first, reason to suppose."
"Very true, Mr. Effingham, very true, sir; one man is not as good as
another in that particular sense, or in the sense of elections, but in all
other senses. Yes, sir," turning towards Mr. Blunt again, as one reviews
the attack on an antagonist, who has given a fall, after taking breath;
"in all other senses, one man is unqualifiedly as good as another. One man
has the same rights as another."
"The slave as the freeman?"
"The slaves are exceptions, sir. But in the free states except in the case
of elections, one man is as good as another in all things. That is our
meaning, and any other principle would be unqualifiedly unpopular."
"Can one man make a shoe as well as another?"
"Of rights, sir,--I stick to the rights, you will remember,"
"Has the minor the same rights as the man of full age; the apprentice as
the master; the vagabond as the resident; the man who cannot pay as the
man who can?"
"No, sir, not in that sense either. You do not understand me, sir, I fear.
All that I mean is, that in particular things, one man is as good as
another in America. This is American doctrine, though it may not happen to
be English, and I flatter myself it will stand the test of the strictest
"And you will allow me to inquire where this is not the case, in
particular things. If you mean to say that there are fewer privileges
accorded to the accidents of birth, or to fortune and station in America,
than is usual in other countries, we shall agree; but I think it will
hardly do to say there are none!"
"Privileges accorded to birth in America, sir! The idea would be odious to
"Does not the child inherit the property of the father?"
"Most assuredly; but this can hardly be termed a privilege.
"That may depend a good deal on taste. I should account it a greater
privilege than to inherit a title without the fortune."
"I perceive, gentlemen, that we do not perfectly understand each other,
and I must postpone the discussion to a more favourable opportunity; for I
confess great uneasiness at this decision of the captain's, about steering
in among the rocks of Sylla." (Mr. Dodge was not as clear-headed as
common, in consequence of the controversy that had just occurred.) "I
challenge you to renew the subject another time, gentlemen. I only
happened in" (another peculiarity of diction in this gentleman) "to make a
first call, for I suppose there is no exclusion in an American ship?"
"None whatever, sir," Mr. John Effingham coldly answered. "All the
state-rooms are in common, and I propose to seize an early occasion to
return this compliment, by making myself at home in the apartment which
has the honour to lodge Mr. Dodge and Sir George Templemore."
Here Mr. Dodge beat a retreat, without touching at all on his real errand.
Instead of even following up the matter with the other passengers, he got
into a corner, with one or two congenial spirits, who had taken great
offence that the Effinghams should presume to retire into their cabin, and
particularly that they should have the extreme aristocratical audacity to
shut the door, where he continued pouring into the greedy ears of his
companions his own history of the recent dialogue, in which, according to
his own account of the matter, he had completely gotten the better of that
"young upstart, Blunt," a man of whom he knew positively nothing, divers
anecdotes of the Effingham family, that came of the lowest and most idle
gossip of rustic malignancy, and his own vague and confused notions of the
rights of persons and of things. Very different was the conversation that
ensued in the ladies' cabin, after the welcome disappearance of the
uninvited guest. Not a remark of any sort was made on his intrusion, or on
his folly; even John Effingham, little addicted in common to forbearance,
being too proud to waste his breath on so low game, and too well taught to
open upon a man the moment his back was turned. But the subject was
continued, and in a manner better suited to the education, intelligence,
and views of the several speakers.
Eve said but little, though she ventured to ask a question now and then;
Mr. Sharp and Mr. Blunt being the principal supporters of the discourse,
with an occasional quiet discreet remark from the young lady's father, and
a sarcasm, now and then, from John Effingham. Mr. Blunt, though advancing
his opinions with diffidence, and with a proper deference for the greater
experience of the two elder gentlemen, soon made his superiority apparent,
the subject proving to be one on which he had evidently thought a great
deal, and that too with a discrimination and originality that are far
He pointed out the errors that are usually made on the subject of the
institutions of the American Union, by confounding the effects of the
general government with those of the separate states; and he clearly
demonstrated that the Confederation itself had, in reality, no distinctive
character of its own, even for or against liberty. It was a confederation,
and got its character from the characters of its several parts, which of
themselves were independent in all things, on the important point of
distinctive principles, with the exception of the vague general provision
that they must be republics; a prevision that meant anything, or nothing,
so far as true liberty was concerned, as each state might decide
"The character of the American government is to be sought in the
characters of the state governments," he concluded, "which vary with their
respective policies. It is in this way that communities that hold one half
of their numbers in domestic bondage are found tied up in the same
political _fasces_ with other communities of the most democratic
institutions. The general government assures neither liberty of speech,
liberty of conscience, action, nor of anything else, except as against
itself; a provision that is quite unnecessary, as it is purely a
government of delegated powers, and has no authority to act at all on
those particular interests."
"This is very different from the general impression in Europe," observed
Mr. Sharp; "and as I perceive I have the good fortune to be thrown into
the society of an American, if not an _American lawyer_, able to enlighten
my ignorance on these interesting topics, I hope to be permitted, during
some of the idle moments, of which we are likely to have many, to
profit by it."
The other coloured, bowed to the compliment, but appeared to hesitate
before he answered.
"'Tis not absolutely necessary to be an American by birth," he said, "as I
have already had occasion to observe, in order to understand the
institutions of the country, and I might possibly mislead you were you to
fancy that a native was your instructer. I have often been in the country,
however, if not born in it, and few young men, on this side of the
Atlantic, have had their attention pointed, with so much earnestness, to
all that affects it as myself."
"I was in hopes we had the honour of including you among our countrymen,"
observed John Effingham, with evident disappointment. "So many young men
come abroad disposed to quarrel with foreign excellences, of which they
know nothing, or to concede so many of our own, in the true spirit of
serviles, that I was flattering myself I had at last found an exception."
Eve also felt regret, though she hardly avowed to herself the reason.
"He is then, an Englishman, after all!" said Mr. Sharp, in another aside.
"Why not a German--or a Swiss--or even a Russian?"
"His English is perfect; no continental could speak so fluently, with such
a choice of words, so totally without an accent, without an effort. As
Mademoiselle Viefville says, he does not speak well enough for a
Eve was silent, for she was thinking of the singular manner in which a
conversation so oddly commenced, had brought about an explanation on a
point that had often given her many doubts. Twenty times had she decided
in her own mind that this young man, whom she could properly call neither
stranger nor acquaintance, was a countryman, and as often had she been led
to change her opinion. He had now been explicit, she thought, and she felt
compelled to set him down as a European, though not disposed, still, to
believe he was an Englishman. For this latter notion she had reasons it
might not have done to give to a native of the island they had just left,
as she knew to be the fact with Mr. Sharp.
Music succeeded this conversation, Eve having taken the precaution to have
the piano tuned before quitting port, an expedient we would recommend to
all who have a regard for the instrument that extends beyond its outside,
or even for their own ears. John Effingham executed brilliantly on the
violin; and, as it appeared on inquiry, the two younger gentlemen
performed respectably on the flute, flageolet, and one or two other wind
instruments. We shall leave them doing great justice to Beethoven,
Rossini, and Mayerbeer, whose compositions Mr. Dodge did not fail to sneer
at in the outer cabin, as affected and altogether unworthy of attention,
and return on deck to the company of the anxious master.
Captain Truck had continued to pace the deck moodily and alone, during the
whole evening, and he only seemed to come to a recollection of himself
when the relief passed him on his way to the wheel, at eight bells.
Inquiring the hour, he got into the mizzen rigging, with a night-glass,
and swept the horizon in search of the Foam. Nothing could be made out,
the darkness having settled upon the water in a way to circumscribe the
visible horizon to very narrow limits.
"This may do," he muttered to himself, as he swung off by a rope, and
alighted again on the planks of the deck. Mr. Leach was summoned, and an
order was passed for the relieved watch to remain on deck for duty.
When all was ready, the first mate went through the ship, seeing that all
the candles were extinguished, or that the hoods were drawn over the
sky-lights, in such a way as to conceal any rays that might gleam upwards
from the cabin. At the same time attention was paid to the binnacle lamp.
This precaution observed, the people went to work to reduce the sail, and
in the course of twenty minutes they had got in the studding-sails, and
all the standing canvas to the topsails, the fore-course, and a forward
stay-sail. The three topsails were then reefed, with sundry urgent commands
to the crew to be active, for, "The Englishman was coming up like a horse,
all this time, no doubt."
This much effected, the hands returned on deck, as much amazed at the
several arrangements as if the order had been to cut away the masts.
"If we had a few guns, and were a little stronger-handed," growled an old
salt to the second-mate, as he hitched up his trousers and rolled over his
quid, "I should think the hard one, aft, had been stripping for a fight;
but as it is we have nothing to carry on the war with, unless we throw
sea-biscuits into the enemy'!"
"Stand by to _veer_!" called out the captain from the quarter-deck; or, as
he pronounced it, "_ware_."
The men sprang to the braces, and the bows of the ship fell off gradually,
as the yards yielded slowly to the drag. In a minute the Montauk was
rolling dead before it, and her broadside came sweeping up to the wind
with the ship's head to the eastward. This new direction in the course had
the double effect of hauling off the land, and of diverging at more than
right angles from the line of sailing of the Foam, if that ship still
continued in pursuit. The seamen nodded their heads at each other in
approbation, for all now as well understood the meaning of the change as
if it had been explained to them verbally.
The revolution on deck produced as sudden a revolution below. The ship was
no longer running easily on an even keel, but was pitching violently into
a head-beating sea, and the wind, which a few minutes before, was scarcely
felt to blow, was now whistling its hundred strains among the cordage.
Some sought their berths, among whom were Mr. Sharp and Mr. Dodge; some
hurried up the stairs to learn the reason, and all broke up their
avocations for the night.
Captain Truck had the usual number of questions to answer, which he did in
the following succinct and graphic manner, a reply that we hope will prove
as satisfactory to the reader, as it was made to be, perforce,
satisfactory to the curious on board.
"Had we stood on an hour longer, gentlemen, we should have been lost on
the coast of Cornwall!" he said, pithily: "had we stopped where we were,
the sloop-of-war would nave been down upon us in twenty minutes: by
changing the course, in the way you have seen, he may get to leeward ward
of us; if he find it out, he may change his own course, in the dark, being
as likely to go wrong as to go right; or he may stand in, and set up the
ribs of his majesty's ship Foam to dry among the rocks of the Lizard,
where I hope all her people will get safely ashore, dry shod."
After waiting the result anxiously for an hour, the passengers retired to
their rooms one by one; but Captain Truck did not quit the deck until the
middle watch was set. Paul Blunt heard him enter his state-room, which was
next to his own, and putting out his head, he inquired the news above. The
worthy master had discovered something about this young man which created
a respect for his nautical information, for he never misapplied a term,
and he invariably answered all his questions promptly, and with respect.
"Dirtier, and dirtier," he said, in defiance of Mr. Dodge's opinion of the
phrase, pulling off his pee-jacket, and laying aside his sow-wester; "a
cap-full of wind, with just enough drizzle to take the comfort out of a
man, and lacker him down like a boot."
"The ship has gone about?"
"Like a dancing-master with two toes. We have got her head to the
southward and westward again; another reef in the topsails," (which word
Mr. Truck pronounced _tawsails_, with great unction,) "England well under
our lee, and the Atlantic ocean right before us. Six hours on this course,
and we make a fair wind of it."
"And the sloop?"
The moon was now
Rising full orbed, but broken by a cloud.
The wind was hushed, and the sea mirror-like
Most of the passengers appeared on deck soon after Saunders was again
heard rattling among his glasses. The day was sufficiently advanced to
allow a distinct view of all that was passing, and the wind had shifted.
The change had not occurred more than ten minutes, and as most of the
inmates of the cabin poured up the cabin-stairs nearly in a body, Mr.
Leach had just got through with the necessary operation of bracing the
yards about, for the breeze, which was coming stiff, now blew from the
north-east. No land was visible, and the mate was just giving his opinion
that they were up with Scilly, as Captain Truck appeared in the group.
One glance aloft, and another at the heavens, sufficed to let the
experienced master into all the secrets of his present situation. His next
step was to jump into the rigging, and to take a look at the sea, in the
direction of the Lizard. There, to his extreme disappointment, appeared a
ship with everything set that would draw, and with a studding-sail
flapping, before it could be drawn down, which he knew in an instant to be
the Foam. At this spectacle Mr. Truck compressed his lips, and made an
inward imprecation, that it would ill comport with our notions of
propriety to repeat.
"Turn the hands up and shake out the reefs, sir," he said coolly to his
mate, for it was a standing rule of the captain's to seem calmest when he
was in the greatest rage. "Turn them up, sir, and show every rag that will
draw, from the truck to the lower studding-sail boom, and be d----d
On this hint Mr. Leach bestirred himself, and the men were quickly on the
yards, casting loose gaskets and reef-points. Sail opened after sail, and
as the steerage passengers, who could show a force of thirty or forty men,
aided with their strength, the Montauk was soon running dead before the
wind, under every thing that would draw, and with studding-sails on both
sides. The mates looked surprised, the seamen cast inquiring glances aft,
but Mr. Truck lighted a cigar.
"Gentlemen," said the captain, after a few philosophical whiffs, "to go to
America with yonder fellow on my weather beam is quite out of the
question: he would be up with me, and in possession, before ten o'clock,
and my only play is to bring the wind right over the taffrail, where,
luckily, we have got it. I think we can bother him at this sport, for your
sharp bottoms are not as good as your kettle-bottoms in ploughing a full
furrow. As for bearing her canvas, the Montauk will stand it as long as
any ship in King William's navy, before the gale. And on one thing you may
rely; I'll carry you all into Lisbon, before that tobacco-hating rover
shall carry you back to Portsmouth. This is a category to which I