Part 8 out of 8
It was with deep regret that Newton gave directions for the ship's head to
be again directed on her course to England; but the property under his
charge was of too great value to warrant risking it by cruising after the
pirates, the superior sailing of whose vessel afforded no hopes of success.
The melancholy situation of Madame de Fontanges threw a gloom over the
party, which was communicated even to the seamen; while the anguish of M.
de Fontanges, expressed with all the theatrical violence characteristic of
his nation, was a source of continual reminiscence and regret. They had
been four days on their voyage, making little progress with the light and
baffling winds, when they were shrouded in one of those thick fogs which
prevail in the latitude of the Cape de Verds, and which was rendered more
disagreeable by a mizzling rain.
On the sixth day, about twelve o'clock, the horizon cleared to the
northward, and the fog in that quarter was rolled away by a strong breeze
which rippled along the water. Newton, who was on deck, observed the
direction of the wind to be precisely the reverse of the little breeze to
which their sails had been trimmed; and the yards of the _Windsor Castle_
were braced round to meet it. The gust was strong, and the ship, laden as
she was, careened over to the sudden force of it, as the top-gallant sheets
and halyards were let fly by the directions of the officer of the watch.
The fog, which had still continued thick to leeward, now began to clear
away; and, as the bank dispersed, the Marquis de Fontanges, who was
standing on the poop by the side of Newton, cried out, "_Voila un
batiment!_" Newton looked in the direction pointed out, and discovered the
hull of a vessel looming through the fog, about a quarter of a mile to
leeward of the _Windsor Castle_. One minute's scrutiny convinced him that
it was the pirate, who, not having been expeditious in trimming his sails,
_laid in irons_, as seamen term it, heeling over to the blast. The _Windsor
Castle_ was then running free, at the rate of four miles an hour.
"Starboard the helm--all hands to board--steady so. Be smart, my lads--it's
the pirate--port a little. Hurrah! my lads--be quick, and she's all our
own. Quartermaster, my sword--quick!"
The crew, who were all on deck, snatched their cutlasses from the
capstern-head, in which they were inserted, and before three minutes
elapsed, during which the pirate had not time to extricate himself from his
difficulty, were all ready for the service. They were joined by the Flemish
sailors belonging to the neutral vessel, who very deliberately put their
hands in their breeches-pockets, and pulled out their knives, about as long
as a carpenter's two-foot rule, preferring this weapon to anything else.
Monsieur de Fontanges, bursting with impatience, stood with Newton, at the
head of the men. When the collision of the two vessels took place, the
_Windsor Castle_, conned so as not to run down the pirate, but to sheer
alongside, stove in the bulwarks of the other, and carried away her
topmasts, which, drawn to windward by the pressure on the back-stays, fell
over towards the _Windsor Castle_, and, entangling with her rigging,
prevented the separation of the two vessels.
"No quarter, my friends!" cried Monsieur de Fontanges, who darted on board
of the pirate vessel at the head of some men near the main-rigging, while
Newton and the remainder, equally active, poured down upon his quarter.
Such had been the rapidity of the junction, and such the impetuosity of the
attack, that most of the pirates had not had time to arm themselves, which,
considering the superiority of their numbers rendered the contest more
equal. A desperate struggle was the result;--the attacked party neither
expecting, demanding, nor receiving quarter. It was blow for blow, wound
for wound, death to one or both. Every inch of the deck was disputed, and
not an inch obtained until it reeked with blood. The voices of Newton and
Monsieur de Fontanges, encouraging their men, were answered by another
voice,--that of the captain of the pirates,--which had its due effect upon
the other party, which rallied at its sound. Newton, even in the hurry and
excitement of battle, could not help thinking to himself that he had heard
that voice before. The English seamen gained but little ground, so
obstinate was the resistance. The pirates fell; but as they lay on the
deck, they either raised their exhausted arms to strike one last blow of
vengeance before their life's blood had been poured out, or seized upon
their antagonists with their teeth in their expiring agonies. But a party,
who, from the sedateness of their carriage, had hitherto been almost
neutral, now forced their way into the conflict. These were the Flemish
seamen, with their long snick-a-snee knives, which they used with as much
imperturbability as a butcher professionally employed. They had gained the
main-rigging of the vessel, and, ascending it, had passed over by the
catharpins, and descended, with all the deliberation of bears, on the other
side, by which tranquil manoeuvre the pirates were taken in flank; and
huddled as they were together, the knives of the Flemings proved much more
effective than the weapons opposed to them. The assistance of the Flemings
was hailed with a shout from the English seamen, who rallied, and increased
their efforts. Newton's sword had just been passed through the body of a
tall, powerful man, who had remained uninjured in the front of the opposing
party since the commencement of the action, when his fall discovered to
Newton's view the captain of the vessel, whose voice had been so often
heard, but who had hitherto been concealed from his sight by the athletic
form which had just fallen by his hand. What was his astonishment and his
indignation when he found himself confronted by one whom he had long
imagined to have been summoned to answer for his crimes--his former
inveterate enemy, Jackson!
Jackson appeared to be no less astonished at the recognition of Newton,
whom he had supposed to have perished on the sand-bank. Both mechanically
called each other by name, and both sprang forward. The blow of Newton's
sword was warded off by the miscreant; but at the same moment that of
Monsieur de Fontanges was passed through his body to the hilt. Newton had
just time to witness the fall of Jackson, when a tomahawk descended on his
head; his senses failed him, and he lay among the dead upon the deck.
There was a shriek, a piercing shriek, heard when Newton fell. It passed
the lips of one who had watched, with an anxiety too intense to be
pourtrayed, the issue of the conflict;--it was from Isabel, who had quitted
the cabin at the crash occasioned by the collision of the two vessels, and
had remained upon the poop "spectatress of the fight." There were no
fire-arms used; no time for preparation had been allowed. There had been no
smoke to conceal--all had been fairly presented to her aching sight. Yes!
there she had remained, her eye fixed upon Newton Forster, as, at the head
of his men, he slowly gained the deck of the contested vessel. Not one word
did she utter; but, with her lips wide apart from intensity of feeling, she
watched his progress through the strife, her eye fixed--immovably fixed
upon the spot where his form was to be seen; hope buoyant, as she saw his
arm raised and his victims fall--heart sinking, as the pirate sword aimed
at a life so dear. There she stood like a statue--as white as beautiful--as
motionless as if, indeed, she had been chiselled from the Parian marble;
and had it not been for her bosom heaving with the agony of tumultuous
feeling, you might have imagined that all was as cold within. Newton
fell--all her hopes were wrecked--she uttered one wild shriek, and felt no
After the fall of Jackson, the pirates were disheartened, and their
resistance became more feeble. M. de Fontanges carved his way to the
taffrail, and then turned round to kill again. In a few minutes the most
feeble-hearted escaped below, leaving the few remaining brave to be hacked
to pieces, and the deck of the pirate vessel was in possession of the
British crew. Not waiting to recover his breath, M. de Fontanges rushed
below to seek his wife. The cabin door was locked, but yielded to his
efforts; and he found her in the arms of her attendants in a state of
insensibility. A scream of horror at the sight of his bloody sword, and
another of joy at the recognition of their master, was followed up with the
assurance that Madame had only fainted. M. de Fontanges took his wife in
his arms, and carried her on deck, where, with the assistance of the
seamen, he removed her on board of the _Windsor Castle_, and in a short
time had the pleasure to witness her recovery. Their first endearments
over, there was an awkward question to put to a wife. After responding to
her caresses, M. de Fontanges inquired, with an air of anxiety very
remarkable in a Frenchman, how she had been treated. "Il n'y a pas de mal,
mon ami," replied Madame de Fontanges. This was a Jesuitical sort of
answer, and M. de Fontanges required further particulars. "Elle avait
temporise" with the ruffian, with the faint hope of that assistance which
had so opportunely and unexpectedly arrived. M. de Fontanges was satisfied
with his wife's explanation; and such being the case, what passed between
Jackson and Madame de Fontanges can be no concern of the reader's. As for
Mimi and Charlotte, they made no such assertion; but, when questioned, the
poor girls burst into tears, and, calling the captain and first lieutenant
of the pirate vessel barbarians and every epithet they could think of,
complained bitterly of the usage which they had received.
We left Newton floored (as Captain Oughton would have said) on the deck of
the pirate vessel, and Isabel in a swoon on the poop of the _Windsor
Castle_. They were both taken up, and then taken down, and recovered
according to the usual custom in romances and real life. Isabel was the
first to _come to_, because, I presume, a blow on the heart is not quite so
serious as a blow on the head. Fortunately for Newton, the tomahawk had
only glanced along the temple, not injuring the skull, although it stunned
him, and detached a very decent portion of his scalp, which had to be
replaced. A lancet brought him to his senses, and the surgeon pronounced
his wound not to be dangerous, provided that he remained quiet.
At first Newton acquiesced with the medical adviser, but an hour or two
afterwards a circumstance occurred which had such a resuscitating effect,
that, weak as he was with the loss of blood, he would not resign the
command of the ship, but gave his orders relative to the captured vessel,
and the securing of the prisoners, as if nothing had occurred. What had
contributed so much to the recovery of Newton was simply this, that
_somehow or another_ Mrs Enderby left him for a few minutes, _tete-a-tete_
with Isabel Revel: and, during those few minutes, _somehow or another_, a
very interesting scene occurred, which I have no time just now to describe.
It ended, however, _somehow or another_, in the parties plighting their
troth. As I said before, love and murder are very good friends; and a chop
from a tomahawk was but a prelude for the descent of Love, with "healing on
The _Windsor Castle_ lost five men killed and eleven wounded in this hard
contest. Three of the Flemings were also wounded. The pirate had suffered
more severely. Out of a crew of seventy-five men, as no quarter had been
given, there remained but twenty-six, who had escaped and secreted
themselves below, in the hold of the vessel. These were put in irons under
the half-deck of the _Windsor Castle_, to be tried upon their arrival in
England. As I may as well dispose of them at once, they were all sentenced
to death by Sir William Scott, who made a very impressive speech upon the
occasion; and most of them were hanged on the bank of the Thames. The
polite valet of the Marquis de Fontanges hired a wherry, and escorted
Mademoiselles Mimi and Charlotte to witness the "_barbares_" dangling in
their chains; and the sooty young ladies returned much gratified with their
It will be necessary to account for the reappearance of Jackson. The reader
may recollect that he made sail in the boat, leaving Newton on the island
which they had gained after the brig had been run on shore and wrecked.
When the boat came floating down with the tide, bottom up, Newton made sure
that Jackson had been upset and drowned; instead of which, he had been
picked up by a Providence schooner; and the boat having been allowed to go
adrift with the main-sheet belayed to the pin, had been upset by a squall,
and had floated down with the current to the sand-bank where Newton was
standing in the water. Jackson did not return to England, but had entered
on board of a Portuguese slave-vessel, and continued some time employed in
this notorious traffic, which tends so much to demoralise and harden the
heart. After several voyages, he headed a mutiny, murdered the captain and
those who were not a party to the scheme, and commenced a career of piracy,
which had been very successful, from the superior sailing of the vessel,
and the courage of the hardened villains he had collected under his
"Hopes, of all passions, most befriend us here;
Joy has her tears, and Transport has her death:
Hope, like a cordial, innocent, tho' strong,
Man's heart at once inspirits and serenes;
Nor makes him pay his wisdom for his joys,
'Tis all our present state can safely bear:
Health to the frame and vigour to the mind,
And to the modest eye, chastised delight,
Like the fair summer evening, mild and sweet,
'Tis man's full cup--his paradise below."
With what feelings of delight did Newton Forster walk the deck of the
_Windsor Castle_, as she scudded before a fine breeze across the Bay of
Biscay! His happiness in anticipation was so great, that at times he
trembled lest the cup should be dashed from his lips; and at the same time
that he thanked God for blessings received, he offered up his prayer that
his prospects might not be blighted by disappointment. How happy did he
feel when he escorted Isabel on deck, and walked with her during the fine
summer evenings, communicating those hopes and fears, recurring to the
past, or anticipating the future, till midnight warned them of the rapidity
with which time had flown away! The pirate vessel, which had been manned by
the crew of the neutral and part of the ship's company of the _Windsor
Castle_, under charge of the fourth mate, sailed round and round them,
until at last the Channel was entered, and favoured with a westerly breeze,
the _Windsor Castle_ and her prize anchored in the Downs. Here Mrs Enderby
and Isabel quitted the ship, and Newton received orders to proceed round to
the river. Before the _Windsor Castle_ had anchored, the newspapers were
put into his hands containing a report of the two actions, and he had the
gratification of acknowledging that his countrymen were not niggardly in
the encomiums upon his meritorious conduct.
Newton presented himself to the Court of Directors, who confirmed his rank,
and promised him the command of the first ship which was brought forward,
with flattering commendations for his gallantry in protecting property of
so much value. Newton took his leave of the august _Leaden-all_ board, and
hastened to his uncle's house. The door was opened by a servant who did not
know him: Newton passed him, and ran up to the drawing-room, where he found
Amber in company with William Aveleyn, who was reading to her the despatch
containing the account of the action with Surcoeuf.
Amber _sprang_ into his arms. She had grown into a tall girl of nearly
fifteen, budding into womanhood and beauty: promising perfection, although
not yet attained to it. William Aveleyn was also nearly half a foot taller;
and a blush which suffused his handsome face at being surprised alone with
Amber, intimated that the feelings of a man were superseding those of
"Where is my mother?" inquired Newton.
"She is not at home, dear Newton," replied Amber; "she walked out with your
father. They are both well."
"And my uncle?"
"Quite well, and most anxious to see you. He talks of nobody but you, and
of nothing but your actions, which we were just reading about when you came
in. Pray, _Captain_ Newton, may I inquire after your French friends? What
has become of them?"
"They are at Sablonniere's hotel, Miss Amber; they have obtained their
parole at the Alien-office."
The conversation was interrupted by the return of Newton's father and
mother, and shortly afterwards Mr John Forster made his appearance. After
the first greetings and congratulations were over--
"Well, Newton," observed Nicholas, "so you beat off a pirate, I hear."
"No, my dear father, we boarded one."
"Ah! very true; I recollect--and you killed Surcoeuf."
"No, father, only beat him off."
"So it was; I recollect now. Brother John, isn't it almost dinner time?"
"Yes, brother Nicholas, it is; and I'm not sorry for it. Mr William
Aveleyn, perhaps you'd like to wash your hands? A lad's paws are never the
worse for a little clean water."
William Aveleyn blushed: his dignity was hurt: but he had lately been very
intimate at Mr Forster's, and he therefore walked out to comply with the
"Well, brother Nicholas, what have you been doing all day?"
"Doing all day, brother? really, I don't exactly know. My dear," said
Nicholas, turning to his wife, "what have I been doing all day?"
"To the best of my recollection," replied Mrs Forster, smiling, "you have
been asking when dinner would be ready."
"Uncle Nicholas," said Amber, "you promised to buy me a skein of blue
"Did I, my dear? Well, so I did, I declare. I'm very sorry--dear me, I
forgot, I did buy it. I passed by a shop where the windows were full of it,
and it brought it to my mind, and I did buy it. It cost--what was it, it
"Oh! I know what it cost," replied Amber. "I gave you threepence to pay for
it. Where is it?"
"If I recollect, it cost seven shillings and sixpence," replied Nicholas,
pulling out, not a skein of blue silk, but a yard of blue sarsenet.
"Now, papa, do look here! Uncle Nicholas, I never will give you a
commission again. Is it not provoking? I have seven shillings and sixpence
to pay for a yard of blue sarsenet, which I do not want. Uncle Nicholas,
you really are very stupid."
"Well, my dear, I suppose I am. I heard William Aveleyn say the same, when
I came into the room this morning, because--let me see--"
"You heard him say nothing, uncle," interrupted Amber, colouring.
"Yes, I recollect now--how stupid I was to come in when I was not wanted!"
"Humph!" said John Forster; and dinner was announced.
Since the recognition of Mrs Forster by her husband, she had presided at
her brother-in-law's table. The dinner provided was excellent, and was done
ample justice to by all parties, especially Nicholas, whose appetite
appeared to increase from idleness. Since Newton had left England he had
remained a pensioner upon his brother; and, by dint of constant exertion on
the part of Mrs Forster, had been drilled out of his propensity of
interfering with either the watch or the spectacles. This was all that was
required by Mr John Forster; and Nicholas walked up and down the house,
like a tame cat, minding nobody, and nobody paying any attention to him.
After dinner the ladies retired, and shortly afterwards William Aveleyn
quitted the room.
Newton thought this to be a good opportunity to acquaint his uncle with his
attachment to Miss Revel, and the favourable result. Mr John Forster heard
him without interruption.
"Very nice girl, I daresay, nephew, but you are too young to marry. You
can't marry and go to sea. Follow your profession, Newton; speculate in
opium--I'll find the means."
"I trust, sir, that I should never speculate in marrying: but, had I acted
on that plan, this would prove the best speculation of the two. Miss Revel
has a very large fortune."
"So much the worse: a man should never be indebted to his wife for his
money--they never forget it. I'd rather you had fallen in love with a girl
without a shilling."
"Well, sir, when I first fell in love she had not a sixpence."
"Humph!--well, nephew, that may be very true; but, as I said before, follow
"Marriage will not prevent my so doing, uncle. Most captains of Indiamen
are married men."
"More fools they! leaving their wives at home to be flattered and fooled by
the Lord knows who. A wife, nephew is--a woman."
"I hope that mine will be one, sir," replied Newton, laughing.
"Nephew, once for all, I don't approve of your marrying now---that's
understood. It's my wish that you follow your profession. I'll be candid
with you; I have left you the heir to most of my fortune; but--I can alter
my will. If you marry this girl I shall do so."
"Alter your will, brother?" said Nicholas, who had been attentive to the
conversation. "Why, who have you to leave your money to, except to Newton?"
"To hospitals--to pay off the national debt--to anything. Perhaps I may
leave it all to that little girl, who already has come in for a slice."
"But, brother," replied Nicholas, "will that be just, to leave all your
money away from your family?"
"Just! yes, brother Nicholas, quite just. A man's will is his _will_. If he
makes it so as to satisfy the wishes or expectations of others, it is no
longer _his will_, but theirs. Nephew, as I said before, if you marry
against my consent, I shall alter my will."
"I am sorry, sir, very sorry, that you should be displeased with me; but I
am affianced to this lady, and no worldly consideration will induce me not
to fulfil an engagement upon which, indeed, my future happiness depends. I
have no claim upon you, sir; on the contrary, I have incurred a large debt
of gratitude, from your kind protection. Anything else you would require of
"Humph! that's always the case; anything else except what is requested.
Brother Nicholas, do me the favour to go upstairs; I wish to speak with my
"Well, brother John, certainly, if you wish it--if you and Newton have
secrets;" and Nicholas rose from his chair.
"Surely, sir," observed Newton, not pleased at the abrupt dismissal of his
father, "we can have no secrets to which my father may not be a party."
"Yes, but I have, nephew. Your father is my brother, and I take the liberty
with my brother, if you like that better--not with your father."
In the meantime Nicholas had stalked out of the room.
"Nephew," continued Mr John Forster, as the door closed, "I have stated to
you my wish that you should not marry this young woman; and I will now
explain my reasons. The girl left in my charge by my brother Edward has
become the same to me as a daughter. I intend that you shall make three or
four voyages as captain of an Indiaman; then you shall marry her, and
become the heir to my whole fortune. Now you understand me. May I ask what
are your objections?"
"None, sir, but what I have already stated--my attachment and engagement to
"Is that all?"
"Is it not enough?"
"It appears that this young woman has entered into an engagement on board
ship, without consulting her friends."
"She has no father, sir. She is of age, and independent."
"You have done the same."
"I grant it, sir; but even were I inclined, could I, in honour or honesty,
"Perhaps, sir, if you were acquainted with the young lady you might not be
averse to the match."
"Perhaps, if I saw with your eyes, I might not; but that is not likely to
be the case. Old men are a little blind and a little obstinate. After
toiling through life to amass a fortune, they wish to have their own way of
disposing of it. It is the only return they can receive for their labour.
However, nephew, you will act as you please. As I said before, if you marry
against my consent, I shall alter my will. Now, empty the bottle, and we'll
"And, Betty, give this cheek a little red."
The departure of Isabel in the _Windsor Castle_, so immediately after the
death of Colonel Revel, prevented her communicating to her mother the
alteration which had taken place in her circumstances, and her intended
return to England. The first intimation received by Mrs Revel was from a
hurried note sent on shore by a pilot-boat off Falmouth, stating Isabel's
arrival in the Channel, and her anticipation of soon embracing her mother.
Isabel did not enter into any particulars, as she neither had time, nor did
she feel assured that the letter would ever reach its destination.
The letter did however come to hand two days before Isabel and Mrs Enderby
arrived in the metropolis, much to the chagrin of Mrs Revel, who imagined
that her daughter had returned penniless, to be a sharer of her limited
income. She complained to Mr Heaviside, who as usual stepped in, not so
much from any regard for Mrs Revel, but to while away the time of a _far
niente_ old bachelor.
"Only think, Mr Heaviside," said the lady, who was stretched on a sofa,
supported on pillows, "Isabel has returned from India. Here is a letter I
have just received, signed by her maiden name! Her sisters so well married
too! Surely she might have stayed out with one of them! I wonder how she
got the money to pay her passage home! Dear me, what shall I do with her?"
"If I may be allowed to see the letter, Mrs Revel," said the old
"Oh, certainly, it's nothing but a note."
Mr Heaviside read the contents.
"There is very little in it indeed, Mrs Revel; not a word about the
colonel, or why she left India. Perhaps the colonel may be dead."
"Then she might have gone to live with one of her sisters, Mr Heaviside."
"But perhaps he may have left her some property."
"And do you, a sensible man, think that if such was the case, my daughter
would not have mentioned it in her note? Impossible, Mr Heaviside!"
"She may intend to surprise you, Mrs Revel."
"She has surprised me," replied the lady, falling back upon the pillows.
"Well, Mrs Revel, you will soon ascertain the facts. I wish you a
good-morning, and will pay my devoirs in a day or two to inquire after your
health, and hear what has taken place."
To defray the expenses attending the "consignment" of the three Miss Revels
to India, Mrs Revel had consented to borrow money, insuring her life as a
security to the parties who provided it. Her unprincipled husband took this
opportunity of obtaining a sum which amounted to more than half her
marriage settlement, as Mrs Revel signed the papers laid before her without
examining their purport. When her dividends were become due, this treachery
was discovered; and Mrs Revel found herself reduced to a very narrow
income, and wholly deserted by her husband, who knew that he had no chance
of obtaining further means of carrying on his profligate career. His death
in a duel, which we have before mentioned, took place a few months after
the transaction, and Mrs Revel was attacked with that painful disease, a
cancer, so deeply seated as to be incurable. Still she was the same
frivolous, heartless being; still she sighed for pleasure, and to move in
those circles in which she had been received at the time of her marriage.
But, as her income diminished, so did her acquaintances fall off; and at
the period of Isabel's return, with the exception of Mr Heaviside and one
or two others, she was suffered to pine away in seclusion.
Isabel was greeted with querulous indifference until the explanation of the
first ten minutes; then, as an heiress, with the means as well as the
desire of contributing to her mother's comforts, all was joy and
congratulation. Her incurable disease was for the time forgotten; and
although pain would occasionally draw down the muscles of her face, as soon
as the pang was over, so was the remembrance of her precarious situation.
Wan and wasted as a spectre, she indulged in anticipation of again mixing
with the fashionable world, and talked of _chaperoning_ Isabel to private
parties and public amusements, when she was standing on the brink of
eternity. Isabel sighed as she listened to her mother, and observed her
attenuated frame; occasionally she would refer to her mother's state of
health, and attempt to bring her to that serious state of mind which her
awful situation demanded; but in vain: Mrs Revel would evade the subject.
Before a week had passed, she had set up an equipage, and called upon many
of her quondam friends to announce the important intelligence of her
daughter's wealth. Most of them had long before given orders not to be "at
home to Mrs Revel." The few to whom, from the remissness of their porters,
she obtained admittance, were satisfied at their servants' negligence when
they heard the intelligence which Mrs Revel had to communicate. "They were
so delighted; Isabel was always such a sweet girl; hoped that Mrs Revel
would not be such a recluse as she had been, and that they should prevail
upon her to come to their parties!" An heiress is of no little consequence
when there are so many younger brothers to provide for; and, before a short
month had flown away, Mrs Revel, to her delight, found that the cards and
invitations of no inconsiderable portion of the _beau monde_ covered the
table of her confined drawing-room. To Isabel, who perceived that her
mother was sinking every day under the exertion she went through, all this
was a source of deep regret. It occurred to her that to state her
engagements with Newton Forster would have some effect in preventing this
indirect suicide. She took an opportunity of confiding it to her mother,
who listened to her with astonishment.
"Isabel! what do I hear? What! that young man who calls here so often! You,
that can command a title, rank, and fashion, engage yourself to a captain
of an Indiaman! Recollect, Isabel, that now your poor father is dead, I am
your legal protector; and without my permission I trust you have too much
sense of filial duty to think of marrying. How you could venture to form an
engagement without consulting me is quite astonishing! Depend upon it, I
shall not give my consent; therefore, think no more about it."
How often do we thus see people, who make no scruples of neglecting their
duties, as eagerly assert their responsibility, when it suits their
Isabel might have retorted, but she did not. In few words, she gave her
mother to understand that she was decided, and then retired to dress for a
splendid ball, at which, more to please her mother than herself, she had
consented to be present.
It was the first party of any consequence to which Mrs Revel had been
invited. She considered it as her re-_entree_ into the fashionable world,
and the presentation of her daughter; she would not have missed it for any
consideration. That morning she had felt more pain than usual, and had been
obliged to have recourse to restoratives; but once more to join the gay and
fashionable throng--the very idea braced her nerves, rendered her callous
to suffering, and indifferent to disease.
"I think," said Mrs Revel to her maid--"I think," said she, panting, "you
may lace me a little closer, Martyn."
"Indeed, madam, the holes nearly meet; it will hurt your side."
"No, no, I feel no pain this evening--there, that will do."
The lady's-maid finished her task, and left the room.
Mrs Revel rouged her wan cheeks, and, exhausted with fatigue and pain,
tottered to an easy-chair, that she might recover herself a little before
she went downstairs.
In a quarter of an hour Isabel, who had waited for the services of Martyn,
entered her mother's room, to announce that she was ready. Her mother, who
was sitting in the chair, leaning backwards, answered her not. Isabel went
up to her, and looked her in the face--she was _dead_!
"My dearest wife was like this maid,
And such my daughter might have been."
The reader may be surprised at the positive and dictatorial language of Mr
John Forster, relative to Newton's marriage, as detailed in a former
chapter; but, as Mr John Forster truly observed, all the recompense which
he had to expect for a life of exertion was to dispose of the fruits of his
labour according to his own will. This he felt; and he considered it
unreasonable that what he supposed a boyish attachment on the part of
Newton was to overthrow all his preconcerted arrangements. Had Mr Forster
been able to duly appreciate the feelings of his nephew, he probably would
not have been so decided; but Love had never been able to establish himself
as an inmate of his breast. His life had been a life of toil. Love
associates with idleness and ease. Mr Forster was kind and cordial to his
nephew as before, and the subject was not again renewed; nevertheless, he
had made up his mind, and having stated that he would alter his will, such
was his intention, provided that his nephew did not upon mature reflection
accede to his wishes. Newton once more enjoyed the society of Isabel, to
whom he imparted all that had occurred. "I do not wish to play the prude,"
answered Isabel, "by denying that I am distressed at your uncle's decision;
to say that I will never enter into his family without having received his
consent, is saying more than my feelings will bear out; but I must and will
say that I shall be most unwilling so to do. We must, therefore, as Madame
de Fontanges did with the pirate captain, _temporise_, and I trust we shall
be as successful." Newton, more rational than most young men in love,
agreed with Isabel on the propriety of the measure, and, satisfied with
each other's attachment, they were by no means in a hurry to precipitate
It may be recollected that Newton Forster felt convinced that the contents
of the trunk which he picked up at sea, when mate of the coasting vessel,
was the property of the Marquis de Fontanges. During their passage home in
the _Windsor Castle_, he had renewed the subject to M. de Fontanges, and
from the description which he gave from memory, the latter appeared to be
of the same opinion. The conversation had not been revived until some time
after their arrival in England, when Newton, anxious to restore the
articles, desired M. de Fontanges to communicate with the marquis, and
request that he would appoint a day upon which he would call at his uncle's
and identify the property. The marquis, who had never been informed by M.
de Fontanges that any supposed relics of his lost wife remained, sighed at
the memory of his buried happiness--buried in that vast grave, which
defrauds the earth of its inherent rights--and consented to call upon the
ensuing day. When the marquis arrived, accompanied by M. and Madame de
Fontanges, he was received in the drawing-room by Mr John Forster, who had
brought from his chamber the packet in question, which had remained locked
up in the iron safe ever since Newton had first committed it to his charge.
After their introduction to each other, the marquis observed, in English--
"I am giving you a great deal of trouble; unavailing indeed; for, allowing
that the articles should prove to be mine, the sight of them must be a
source of renewed misery."
"Sir," replied Mr John Forster, "the property does not belong to my nephew,
and he has very properly reserved it until he could find out the legal
owner. If the property is yours, we are bound to deliver it into your
hands. There is an inventory attached to it," continued the old lawyer,
putting on his spectacles, and reading, "one diamond ring--but perhaps it
would be better that I should open the packet."
"Will you permit me to look at the diamond ring, sir?" observed M. de
Fontanges. "The sight of that will identify the whole."
"There it is, sir," replied Mr John Forster.
"It is, indeed, that of my poor sister-in-law!" said M. de Fontanges,
taking it up to the marquis. "My brother, it is Louise's ring!"
"It is," cried the marquis, passionately, "the ring that I placed in the
centre of her _corbeille de mariage_. Alas! where is the hand which graced
it?" and the marquis retreated to the sofa, and covered his face.
"We have no occasion then to proceed further," observed Mr John Forster,
with emotion. "The other articles you, of course, recognise?"
"I do," replied Monsieur de Fontanges. "My brother had taken his passage in
the same vessel, but was countermanded. Before he had time to select all
his own baggage, which was mixed with that of his wife, the ship was blown
out to sea, and proceeded on her voyage. These orders of merit were left
with her jewels."
"I observe," said the old lawyer, "which I did not when Newton entrusted
the packet to my charge, that the linen has not all the same marks; that of
the adult is marked L. de M., while that which belonged to the child is
marked J. de F. Was it the marquis's child?"
"It was; the linen of the mother was some belonging to her previous to her
marriage. The maiden name was Louise de Montmorenci; that of the child has
the initials of its name, Julie de Fontanges."
"Humph! I have my reasons for asking that question," replied the old
lawyer. "Newton, do me the favour to step to my chambers and open the safe.
You will find in it, on the right-hand side, another small bundle of linen:
bring it here. Stop, Newton, blow the dust out of the pipe of the key
before you put it in, and be careful that it is well inserted before you
turn it, or you may strain the wards. In all other points, you may be as
quick as you please. My lord Marquis', will you allow me to offer you some
refreshment?--a glass of wine will be of service. Brother Nicholas, do me
the favour to call Amber."
Newton and Nicholas both departed on their respective missions. Amber made
"Papa," said Amber, "do you want me?"
"Yes, my dear," said Mr Forster, handing her the keys; "go down to the
cellaret and bring up some wine. I do not wish the servants to come in just
Amber reappeared with a small tray. She first handed it to the marquis, who
was roused at her voice.
"Papa requests that you will take some wine, sir. It will be of service to
The marquis, who had looked earnestly in her face when she had spoken, took
the wine, and drinking it off, bowed as he replaced the glass. He then sunk
back on the sofa.
When the rap at the door announced the return of Newton, Mr John Forster
requested M. de Fontanges, in a low voice, to follow him, and directing
Newton, whom they met on the stairs, to return, they proceeded to the
"I have requested you to come down, sir," said Mr John Forster, "that I
might not, without being certain, raise hopes in your brother the marquis,
which, if not realised, would create bitter feelings of disappointment; but
I remarked the initials on the linen of the child; and if my memory, which
is not very bad, fails me not, we shall find corresponding ones in the
packet now before us;" and the old lawyer opened the bundle and displayed
the contents, which proved to be marked as he had surmised.
"Most true," replied Monsieur de Fontanges. "They are the same, and of
course part of the property which was picked up."
"Yes; but not picked up at the same time, or at the same spot, or by the
same person. Those above stairs were, as you know, picked up by my nephew;
these by a brother, who is since dead: and in these clothes an infant was
also washed upon the beach."
"His child!" exclaimed Monsieur de Fontanges. "Where was it buried?"
"The child was restored to life, and is still living."
"If it is," replied Monsieur de Fontanges, "it can be no other than the
young lady who just now called you father. The likeness to Madame la
Marquise is most astonishing."
"It is as you suppose, sir," replied Mr John Forster. "At my brother's
death, he bequeathed the little girl to my protection; and I trust I have
done justice to the deposit. Indeed, although an alien by blood, she is as
dear to me as if she were my own daughter: and," continued the old lawyer,
hesitating a little, "although I have the satisfaction of restoring her to
her father's arms, it will be a heavy blow to part with her! When my
brother spoke to me on the subject, I told him it was trouble and expense
enough to bring up a child of one's own begetting. I little thought at the
time how much more I should be vexed at parting with one of another's.
However, with the bundle, she must be returned to the lawful owner. I have
one more remark to make, sir. Do me the favour to look at that drawing of
my poor brother's, which hangs over the sideboard. Do you recognise the
"Triton!" cried Monsieur de Fontanges; "the dog which I gave my poor
"You are indebted to that dog for the life of your niece. He brought her on
shore, and laid her at my brother's feet; but I have all the documents,
which I will send for your perusal. The facts I consider so well
established as to warrant a verdict in any court of justice; and now, sir,
I must leave you to make the communication as soon, and, at the same time,
as cautiously as you please. Newton, send Amber down to me."
We will pass over the scenes which followed in the dining-parlour and
drawing-room. The Marquis de Fontanges discovered that he was blest with a
daughter, at the same time that Amber learnt her own history. In a few
minutes Amber was led upstairs to the arms of her father, whose tears of
sorrow at the loss of his wife were now mingled with those of delight, as
he clasped his daughter to his heart.
"What obligations do I owe to your whole family, my dear friend!" said the
Marquis to Newton.
"I will not deny it, sir," replied Newton; "but allow me to observe, that
for the recovery of your daughter you are equally indebted to the
generosity of your own relatives and your own feeling disposition. Had not
Monsieur and Madame de Fontanges protected and assisted me in my distress;
had not you, instead of throwing me into prison, set me at liberty, you
never would have known where your daughter was to be found. Had not one of
my uncles hastened to the relief of the vessel in distress, and the other
protected your little girl after his death, she would not have been now in
existence. My gratitude for your kindness induced me to remain by your
ship, and subsequently to rescue you from the pirate, or you would not have
now been a prisoner in this country--an evil which, under divine
Providence, has been changed to a blessing, by restoring to you your
daughter. We have all, I trust, done our duty, and this happy issue is our
"Humph!" observed the old lawyer.
"Thus far our chronicle--and now we pause,
Though not for want of matter, but 'tis time."
Amber, or Julie de Fontanges, as we must now call her, quitted the abode of
her kind protector in such distress, that it was evident she regretted the
discovery which had been made. She was too young to be aware of the
advantages of high birth, and her removal was for some time a source of
unfeigned regret. It appeared to her that nothing could compensate for the
separation from her supposed father, who doted on her, from Mrs Forster,
who had watched over her, from Nicholas, who amused her, and from Newton,
whom she loved as a brother. But the idea of going to a foreign country,
and never seeing them or William Aveleyn again, and, though last, not
least, to find that she was not an Englishwoman, and in future must not
rejoice at their victories over her own nation, occasioned many a burst of
tears when left alone to her own meditations. It was long before the
devotion of her father, and the fascinating attentions of M. and Madame de
Fontanges, could induce her to be resigned to her new condition. Mr John
Forster felt his bereavement more deeply than could have been supposed. For
many days after the departure of Julie, he seldom spoke, never made his
appearance, except at dinner-time, and as soon as the meal was finished,
hastened to his chambers, where he remained very late. Intense application
was the remedy which he had selected to dispel his care, and fill up the
vacuum created by the absence of his darling child.
"Newton," said he, one evening, as they discussed a bottle of port, "have
you considered what I proposed? I confess to you that I am more than ever
anxious for the match; I cannot part with that dear child, and you can
bring her back to me."
"I have reflected, sir; but the case must be viewed in a very different
light. You might affiance your adopted daughter at her early age, but the
Marquis de Fontanges may not be so inclined; nay, further, sir, it is not
impossible that he may dislike the proposed match. He is of a very noble
"I have thought on that subject," replied Mr John Forster; "but our family
is as well descended, and quite well enough for any Frenchman, let him be a
marquis, or even a duke. Is that the only obstacle you intend to raise
--or, if this is removed, will you again plead your attachment to another?"
"It is the only one which I mean to raise at present, sir. I acknowledge
Julie de Fontanges to be a sweet girl, and, as a relation, I have long been
much attached to her."
"Humph!" replied the old lawyer; "I always thought you a sensible lad--we
Now, be it observed, that there was a certain degree of the jesuitical on
the part of our friend Newton on this occasion,--excusable only from his
wish that the mortification of his uncle at the disappointment of his hopes
should not be occasioned by any further resistance on his part.
To M. de Fontanges, who was aware of Newton's attachment to Isabel, he had,
previous to the discovery which had taken place, communicated the obstacle
to his union, raised by the pertinacity of his uncle. After the removal of
Julie, M. de Fontanges acquainted his brother with the wishes of Mr John
Forster, and explained to him how much they were at variance with those of
The first time that Newton called upon the marquis, the latter, shaking him
warmly by the hand, said,--"I have been informed, my dear Newton, by my
brother, of the awkward predicament in which you are placed by the wish of
your uncle that you should marry my Julie when she grows up. Believe me,
when I say it, there is no man to whom I would sooner confide the happiness
of my daughter, and that no consideration would induce me to refuse you, if
you really sought her hand; but I know your wishes, and your attachment to
Miss Revel, therefore be quite easy on the subject. Your uncle made his
proposition when Julie had no father to be consulted: the case is now
different; and, for your sake, I intend, for a time, to injure myself in
the opinion of your good relation. I shall assume, I trust what, if ever I
had it, would be immediately sacrificed to gratitude,--I mean, high
aristocratical pride; and should your uncle make the proposal, refuse it
upon the grounds that you are not noble by _descent_. No one will deny your
nobility on any other point. Do you understand me, Newton? and will my so
doing be conformable to your wishes?"
"It will, Monsieur le Marquis, and I thank you most sincerely."
"Then make no objection when he proposes the match a second time; leave all
the obloquy on my shoulders," said the marquis, smiling.
This arrangement having been made, it was not surprising that Newton heard
his uncle's renewal of the proposition with such calmness and apparent
"We dine with the marquis to-morrow, Newton," observed Mr John Forster; "I
shall take an opportunity after dinner of requesting a few minutes'
interview, when I shall put the question to him."
"Certainly, sir, if you think right," replied Newton.
"Well, I'm glad the dear girl has changed that foolish name of Amber. What
could possess my brother? Julie is very fine, nevertheless; but then she
was christened by French people."
The next day the parties met at dinner. Isabel Revel had been asked; and,
having heard from Madame de Fontanges of the plan agreed upon, and anxious
to see the old lawyer, she had consented to join the party. The dinner
passed off as most dinners do when the viands and wines are good, and
everybody is inclined to be happy. Isabel was placed next to Mr Forster,
who, without knowing who she was, felt much pleased with the deference and
attention of so beautiful a young woman.
"Newton," said his uncle, when the ladies retired, and the gentlemen packed
up their chairs, "who was that young lady who sat next to me?"
"The young lady, my dear uncle, whom I did wish to introduce to you as my
intended wife--Miss Isabel Revel."
"Humph!--why, you never spoke to her before dinner, or paid her any common
"You forget, sir, your injunctions, and--"
"That's no reason, nephew, why you should forget common civility. I
requested that you would not marry the young lady; but I never desired you
to commit an act of rudeness. She is a very nice young person; and
politeness is but a trifle, although marriage is a very serious thing."
In pursuance of his plans, when the gentlemen rose, Mr John Forster
requested a few minutes' conversation with the marquis, who, bowing
politely, showed the way to a small study on the same floor.
Mr Forster immediately stated his wish that an engagement should be formed
between his nephew and Julie de Fontanges.
"Mr Forster," replied the marquis, drawing up proudly, "the obligations I
am under to your family are so great, that there are but few points in
which I could refuse you; and I therefore am quite distressed that of this
proposal I am obliged to decline the honour. You may be ignorant, Mr
Forster, that the family of the De Fontanges is one of the oldest in
France; and, with every respect for you and your nephew, and all gratitude
for your kindness, I cannot permit my daughter to form a _mesalliance_."
"A _mesalliance!_--humph! I presume, sir, in plain English, it means
marrying beneath her rank in life?"
The marquis bowed.
"I beg to observe, sir," said Mr John Forster, "that our family is a very
old one. I can show you our pedigree. It has lain for some years by the
side of your daughter's bundle in the iron safe."
"I have no doubt of the excellence of your family, Mr Forster. I can only
express my deep regret that it is not noble. Excuse me, Mr Forster; except
you can prove that--"
"Why, I could prove it by purchasing a dozen marquisates, if I thought
"Granted, Mr Forster. In our country they are to be purchased; but we make
a great difference between the parvenus of the present day and the
"Well, Mr Marquis, just as you please; but I consider myself quite as good
as a French marquis," replied Mr Forster, in a tone of irritation.
"Better than many, I have no doubt; but still, we draw the line. Noble
blood, Mr Forster."
"Noble fiddlestick! Monsieur le Marquis, in this country, and the
inhabitants are not fools, we allow money to weigh against rank. It
purchases that, as it does everything else, except heaven. Now, Monsieur le
"Excuse me, sir; no money will purchase the hand of Julie de Fontanges,"
replied the marquis.
"Well, then, Monsieur le Marquis, I should think that the obligations you
are under in restoring your daughter to your arms--"
"Warrants your asking for her back again, Mr Forster?" replied the marquis,
haughtily. "A labourer might find this diamond _solitaire_ that's now upon
my finger. Does it therefore follow that I am to make him a present of it?"
"Humph!" ejaculated Mr Forster, much affronted with the comparison.
"In short, my dear sir, anything which you or your family can think of,
which it is in our power to grant, will make us most happy; but to _sully_
the blood of the most ancient--"
John Forster would hear no more; he quitted the room and walked upstairs
before the marquis had completed his speech. When he entered the
drawing-room, his countenance plainly expressed his disappointment. Like
all men who have toiled for riches, he had formed plans, in which he
considered his wealth was to command success, and had overlooked every
obstacle which might present itself against the completion of his wishes.
"Newton," said he, as they stood apart near the window, "you have been a
good lad in not persisting to thwart my views, but that French marquis,
with his folly and his 'ancienne noblesse,' has overthrown all my plans.
Now, I shall not interfere with yours. Introduce me to Miss what's her
name; she is a very fine girl, and from what I saw of her during dinner, I
like her very much."
Isabel exerted herself to please, and succeeded.
Satisfied with his nephew's choice, flattered by his previous apparent
submission, and disgusted with the marquis, Mr John Forster thought no more
of Mademoiselle de Fontanges. His consent was voluntary, and in a short
time Isabel Revel changed her name.
It was about five months after Newton's marriage that he received a letter
from the Board, appointing him to the command of a ship. Newton handed the
letter over to Mr Forster.
"I presume, sir, it is your wish that I should accept the offer?"
"What offer?" said the old lawyer, who was reading through a case for
counsel's opinion. "_Melville_--for Madras and China.--Why, Newton, I
really do not see any occasion for your going afloat again. There is an old
proverb--'The pitcher that goes often to the well is broken at last.'
You're not tired of your wife already?"
"I hope not, sir; but I thought it might be your wish."
"It's my wish that you should stay at home. A poor man may go to sea,
because he stands a chance to come home rich; but a man who has money in
hand, and in prospect, if he goes to sea, he is a fool. Follow your
profession as long as you require it, but no longer."
"Why, then, do you work so hard, my dear sir," said Isabel, leaning over
the old gentleman, and kissing him, in gratitude for his decision. "Surely
you can afford to relax a little now?"
"Why do I work so hard, Isabel?" replied Mr Forster, looking up at her
through his spectacles. "Why, you expect to have a family, do you not?"
Isabel blushed; the expectation was undeniable.
"Well, then, I presume the children will have no objection to find a few
thousands more to be divided among them by-and-bye--will they, daughter?"
The conversation was interrupted by the entry of a servant with a letter;
Mr Forster broke the seal, and looked at the signature.
"Humph! from the proud old marquis. 'Very sorry, for a short period, to
have fallen in your good opinion--should have rejoiced to have called
Newton my son-in-law! '--Humph! 'Family pride all assumed--Newton's
happiness at stake--trust the deceit will be pardoned, and a renewal of
former intimacy.' Why, Newton, is all this true?"
"Ask Isabel, sir," replied Newton, smiling.
"Well, then, Isabel, is all this true?"
"Ask Newton, sir," replied Isabel, kissing him. "The fact is, my dear sir,
I could not afford to part with Newton, even to please you, so we made up a
"Humph!--made up a little plot--well--I sha'n't alter my will,
nevertheless;" and Mr Forster recommenced the reading of his brief.
Such is the history of Newton Forster, which, like most novels or plays,
has been wound up with marriage. The last time that I appeared before my
readers, they were dissatisfied with the termination of my story; they
considered I had deprived them of "a happy marriage," to which, as an
undoubted right, they were entitled, after wading through three tedious
volumes. As I am anxious to keep on good terms with the public, I hasten to
repair the injury which it has sustained, by stating that about three years
after the marriage of Newton Forster, the following paragraph appeared in
the several papers of the metropolis:
"Yesterday, by special license, the Right Honourable William Lord Aveleyn
to Mademoiselle Julie de Fontanges, only daughter of the Marquis de
Fontanges, late Governor of the Island of Bourbon. The marriage was to have
been solemnised in December last, but was postponed, in consequence of the
death of the late Lord Aveleyn. After the ceremony, the happy couple," &c.
* * * * *
And now, most arbitrary public, I consider that I have made the _amende
honorable_, and that we are quits; for, if you were minus a happy marriage
in the last work, you have a couple to indemnify you in the present.