Part 11 out of 12
"'Pray, sir, may I then inquire what portion of the year is not, with
"'Why, uncle, next April, now--I think that would do.'
"'Next April. Eleven months, and a winter between. Suppose Miss Percival
was to take a cold, and die.'
"'I should be excessively obliged to her,' thought William.
"'No! no!' continued Mr Ponsonby: 'there is nothing certain in this
"'Well, then, uncle, suppose we arrange it for the first _hard frost_.'
"'We have had no hard frosts lately, William.--We may wait for years.--
The sooner it is over the better.--Go back to town, buy your horse, and
then come down here--my dear William, to oblige your uncle--never mind
"'Well, sir, if I am to make a sacrifice, it shall not be done by
halves; out of respect for you I will even marry in July, without any
regard to the thermometer.'
"'You are a good boy, William.--Do you want a cheque?'
"'I have had one to-day,' thought William, and was almost at fault. 'I
shall be most thankful, sir--they sell horse-flesh by the
"'And you pay in pounds.--There, William.'
"'Thank you, sir, I'm all obedience; and I'll keep my word, even if
there should be a comet. I'll go and buy the horse, and then I shall be
ready to take the ring-fence as soon as you please.'
"'Yes, and you'll get over it cleverly, I've no doubt.--Five thousand
acres, William, and--a pretty wife!'
"'Have you any further commands, uncle?' said William, depositing the
cheque in his pocket-book.
"'Now, my dear boy, are you going?'
"'Yes, sir; I dine at the Clarendon.'
"'Well, then, good-bye.--Make my compliments and excuses to your friend
Seagrove.--You will come on Tuesday or Wednesday.'
"Thus was concluded the marriage between William Ponsonby and Emily
Percival, and the junction of the two estates, which formed together the
great desideratum,--_five thousand acres in a ring-fence_."
Mr Seagrove finished, and he looked round for approbation.
"Very good, indeed, Seagrove," said his lordship, "you must take a glass
of wine after that."
"I would not give much for Miss Percival's chance of happiness,"
observed the elder Miss Ossulton.
"Of two evils choose the least, they say," observed Mr Hautaine. "Poor
Ponsonby could not help himself."
"That's a very polite observation of yours, Mr Hautaine--I thank you in
the name of the sex," replied Cecilia Ossulton.
"Nay, Miss Ossulton; would you like to marry a person whom you never
"Most certainly not; but when you mentioned the two evils, Mr Hautaine,
I appeal to your honour, did you not refer to marriage or beggary?"
"I must confess it, Miss Ossulton; but it is hardly fair to call on my
honour to get me into a scrape."
"I only wish that the offer had been made to me," observed Vaughan; "I
should not have hesitated as Ponsonby did."
"Then I beg you will not think of proposing for me," said Mrs Lascelles,
laughing;--for Mr Vaughan had been excessively attentive.
"It appears to me, Vaughan," observed Seagrove, "that you have slightly
committed yourself by that remark."
Vaughan, who thought so too, replied: "Mrs Lascelles must be aware that
I was only joking."
"Fie! Mr Vaughan," cried Cecilia Ossulton; "you know it came from your
"My dear Cecilia," said the elder Miss Ossulton, "you forget yourself--
what can you possibly know about gentlemen's hearts?"
"The Bible says, 'that they are deceitful and desperately wicked,'
"And cannot we also quote the Bible against your sex, Miss Ossulton?"
"Yes, you could, perhaps, if any of you had ever read it," replied Miss
"Upon my word, Cissy, you are throwing the gauntlet down to the
gentlemen," observed Lord B.; "but I shall throw my warder down, and not
permit this combat _a l'outrance_.--I perceive you drink no more wine,
gentlemen, we will take our coffee on deck."
"We were just about to retire, my lord," observed the elder Miss
Ossulton, with great asperity: "I have been trying to catch the eye of
Mrs Lascelles for some time, but--"
"I was looking another way, I presume," interrupted Mrs Lascelles,
"I am afraid that I am the unfortunate culprit," said Mr Seagrove. "I
was telling a little anecdote to Mrs Lascelles--"
"Which, of course, from its being communicated in an undertone, was not
proper for all the company to hear," replied the elder Miss Ossulton;
"but if Mrs Lascelles is now ready--" continued she, bridling up, as she
rose from her chair. "At all events, I can hear the remainder of it on
deck," replied Mrs Lascelles. The ladies rose, and went into the cabin,
Cecilia and Mrs Lascelles exchanging very significant smiles, as they
followed the precise spinster, who did not choose that Mrs Lascelles
should take the lead, merely because she had once happened to have been
married.--The gentlemen also broke up, and went on deck.
"We have a nice breeze now, my lord," observed Mr Stewart, who had
remained on deck, "and we lie right up Channel."
"So much the better," replied his lordship; "we ought to have been
anchored at Cowes a week ago. They will all be there before us."
"Tell Mr Simpson to bring me a light for my cigar," said Mr Ossulton to
one of the men.
Mr Stewart went down to his dinner; the ladies and the coffee came on
deck; the breeze was fine, the weather (it was April) almost warm; and
the yacht, whose name was the _Arrow_, assisted by the tide, soon left
the Mewstone far astern.
CUTTER THE SECOND
Reader, have you ever been at Portsmouth? If you have, you must have
been delighted with the view from the saluting battery; and, if you have
not, you had better go there as soon as you can. From the saluting
battery you may look up the harbour, and see much of what I have
described at Plymouth; the scenery is different; but similar arsenals
and dockyards, and an equal portion of our stupendous navy, are to be
found there.--And you will see Gosport on the other side of the harbour,
and Sally Port close to you; besides a great many other places, which,
from the saluting battery, you cannot see. And then there is Southsea
Beach to your left. Before you, Spithead, with the men-of-war, and the
Motherbank, crowded with merchant vessels;--and there is the buoy where
the _Royal George_ was wrecked, and where she still lies, the fish
swimming in and out of her cabin windows; but that is not all; you can
also see the Isle of Wight,--Ryde, with its long wooden pier, and Cowes,
where the yachts lie. In fact, there is a great deal to be seen at
Portsmouth as well as at Plymouth; but what I wish you particularly to
see, just now, is a vessel holding fast to the buoy, just off the
saluting battery. She is a cutter; and you may know that she belongs to
the Preventive Service by the number of gigs and galleys which she has
hoisted up all round her. She looks like a vessel that was about to sail
with a cargo of boats. Two on deck, one astern, one on each side of her.
You observe that she is painted black, and all her boats are white. She
is not such an elegant vessel as the yacht, and she is much more
lumbered up. She has no haunches of venison over the stern; but I think
there is a leg of mutton, and some cabbages hanging by their stalks. But
revenue-cutters are not yachts.--You will find no turtle or champagne;
but, nevertheless, you will, perhaps, find a joint to carve at, a good
glass of grog, and a hearty welcome.
Let us go on board.--You observe the guns are iron, and painted black,
and her bulwarks are painted red; it is not a very becoming colour; but
then it lasts a long while, and the dock-yard is not very generous on
the score of paint--or lieutenants of the navy troubled with much spare
cash. She has plenty of men, and fine men they are; all dressed in red
flannel shirts, and blue trousers; some of them have not taken off their
canvas or tarpaulin petticoats, which are very useful to them, as they
are in the boats night and day, and in all weathers. But we will at once
go down into the cabin, where we shall find the lieutenant who commands
her, a master's mate, and a midshipman. They have each their tumbler
before them, and are drinking gin-toddy, hot, with sugar--capital gin,
too, 'bove proof; it is from that small anker, standing under the table.
It was one that they forgot to return to the custom-house when they made
their last seizure. We must introduce them.
The elderly personage, with grizzly hair and whiskers, a round pale
face, and a somewhat red nose (being too much in the wind will make the
nose red, and this old officer is very often "in the wind," of course,
from the very nature of his profession), is a Lieutenant Appleboy. He
has served in every class of vessel in the service, and done the duty of
first lieutenant for twenty years; he is now on promotion--that is to
say, after he has taken a certain number of tubs of gin, he will be
rewarded with his rank as commander. It is a pity that what he takes
inside of him does not count, for he takes it morning, noon, and night.
--He is just filling his fourteenth glass: he always keeps a regular
account, as he never exceeds his limited number, which is seventeen;
then he is exactly down to his bearings.
The master's mate's name is Tomkins; he has served his six years three
times over, and has now outgrown his ambition; which is fortunate for
him, as his chances of promotion are small. He prefers a small vessel to
a large one, because he is not obliged to be so particular in his dress
--and looks for his lieutenancy whenever there shall be another charity
promotion. He is fond of soft bread, for his teeth are all absent
without leave; he prefers porter to any other liquor, but he can drink
his glass of grog, whether it be based upon rum, brandy, or the liquor
now before him.
Mr Smith is the name of that young gentleman, whose jacket is so out at
the elbows; he has been intending to mend it these last two months, but
is too lazy to go to his chest for another. He has been turned out of
half the ships in the service for laziness; but he was born so--and
therefore it is not his fault.--A revenue-cutter suits him, she is half
her time hove to; and he has no objection to boat-service, as he sits
down always in the stern-sheets, which is not fatiguing. Creeping for
tubs is his delight, as he gets over so little ground. He is fond of
grog, but there is some trouble in carrying the tumbler so often to his
mouth; so he looks at it, and lets it stand. He says little, because he
is too lazy to speak. He has served more than _eight years; _but as for
passing--it has never come into his head. Such are the three persons who
are now sitting in the cabin of the revenue-cutter, drinking hot
"Let me see, it was, I think, in ninety-three or ninety-four. Before you
were in the service, Tomkins.--"
"Maybe, sir; it's so long ago since I entered, that I can't recollect
dates,--but this I know, that my aunt died three days before."
"Then the question is, when did your aunt die?"
"Oh! she died about a year after my uncle."
"And when did your uncle die?"
"I'll be hanged if I know!"
"Then, d'ye see, you've no departure to work from. However, I think you
cannot have been in the service at that time. We were not quite so
particular about uniform as we are now."
"Then I think the service was all the better for it. Now-a-days, in your
crack ships, a mate has to go down in the hold or spirit-room, and after
whipping up fifty empty casks, and breaking out twenty full ones, he is
expected to come on quarter-deck as clean as if he was just come out of
"Well, there's plenty of water alongside, as far as the outward man
goes, and iron dust is soon brushed off. However, as you say, perhaps a
little too much is expected; at least, in five of the ships in which I
was first-lieutenant, the captain was always hauling me over the coals
about the midshipmen not dressing properly, as if I was their dry-nurse.
I wonder what Captain Prigg would have said, if he had seen such a
turn-out as you, Mr Smith, on his quarter-deck."
"I should have had one turn-out more," drawled Smith.
"With your out-at-elbows jacket, there, heh!" continued Mr Appleboy.
Smith turned up his elbows, looked at one and then at the other: after
so fatiguing an operation, he was silent.
"Well, where was I? Oh! it was about ninety-three or ninety-four, as I
said, that it happened--Tomkins, fill your glass, and hand me the sugar
--how do I get on? This is No. 15," said Appleboy, counting some white
lines on the table by him; and taking up a piece of chalk, he marked one
more line on his tally. "I don't think this is so good a tub as the
last, Tomkins, there's a twang about it--a want of juniper--however, I
hope we shall have better luck this time. Of course, you know we sail
"I presume so, by the leg of mutton coming on board."
"True--true--I'm regular--as clock-work.--After being twenty years a
first-lieutenant, one gets a little method--I like regularity. Now the
admiral has never omitted asking me to dinner once, every time I have
come into harbour, except this time--I was so certain of it, that I
never expected to sail; and I have but two shirts clean in consequence."
"That's odd, isn't it? and the more so, because he has had such great
people down here, and has been giving large parties every day."
"And yet I made three seizures, besides sweeping up those thirty-seven
"I swept them up," observed Smith.
"That's all the same thing, _younker_.--When you've been a little longer
in the service, you'll find out that the commanding officer has the
merit of all that is done--but you're _green_ yet. Let me see, where was
I? Oh!--It was about ninety-three or ninety-four, as I said. At that
time I was in the Channel fleet--Tomkins, I'll trouble you for the hot
water; this water's cold.--Mr Smith, do me the favour to ring the bell.
--Jem, some more hot water."
"Please, sir," said Jem, who was barefooted as well as bare-headed,
touching the lock of hair on his forehead, "the cook has capsized the
kettle--but he has put more on."
"Capsized the kettle! Ha!--very well--we'll talk about that to-morrow.
Mr Tomkins, do me the favour to put him in the report, I may forget it.
And pray, sir, how long is it since he has put more on?"
"Just this moment, sir, as I came aft."
"Very well, we'll see to that to-morrow:--You bring the kettle aft as
soon as it is ready. I say, Mr Jem, is that fellow sober?"
"Yees, sir, he be sober as you be."
"It's quite astonishing what a propensity the common sailors have to
liquor. Forty odd years have I been in the service, and I've never found
any difference: I only wish I had a guinea for every time that I have
given a fellow seven-water grog during my servitude as first-lieutenant,
I wouldn't call the king my cousin. Well, if there's no hot water, we
must take lukewarm--it won't do to heave to. By the Lord Harry! who
would have thought it?--I'm at number sixteen! Let me count--yes!--
surely I must have made a mistake. A fact, by Heaven!" continued Mr
Appleboy, throwing the chalk down on the table. "Only one more glass,
after this--that is, if I have counted right--I may have seen double."
"Yes," drawled Smith.
"Well, never mind--let's go on with my story.--It was either in the year
ninety-three or ninety-four, that I was in the Channel fleet--we were
then abreast of Torbay--"
"Here be the hot water, sir," cried Jem, putting the kettle down on the
"Very well, boy--by-the-bye, has the jar of butter come on board?"
"Yes, but it broke all down the middle; I tied him up with a ropeyarn."
"Who broke it, sir?"
"Coxswain says as how he didn't."
"But who did, sir?"
"Coxswain handed it up to Bill Jones, and he says as how he didn't."
"But who did, sir?"
"Bill Jones gave it to me, and I'm sure as how I didn't."
"Then who did, sir, I ask you?"
"I think it be Bill Jones, sir, 'cause he's fond of butter, I know, and
there be very little left in the jar."
"Very _well_, we'll see to that to-morrow morning. Mr Tomkins, you'll
oblige me by putting the butter-jar down in the report, in case it
should slip my memory. Bill Jones, indeed, looks as if butter wouldn't
melt in his mouth--never mind. Well, it was, as I said before--it was in
the year ninety-three or ninety-four, when I was in the Channel fleet;
we were then off Torbay, and had just: taken two reefs in the top-sails.
Stop, before I go on with my story, I'll take my last glass--I think
it's the last: let me count--yes, by heavens I make out sixteen, well
told. Never mind, it shall be a stiff one. Boy, bring the kettle, and
mind you don't pour the hot water into my shoes, as you did the other
night. There, that will do. Now, Tomkins, fill up yours; and you, Mr
Smith: let us all start fair, and then you shall have my story--and a
very curious one it is, I can tell you; I wouldn't have believed it
myself if I hadn't seen it. Hilloa! what's this? confound it! what's the
matter with the toddy? Heh, Mr Tomkins?"
Mr Tomkins tasted, but, like the lieutenant, he had made it very stiff;
and, as he had also taken largely before, he was, like him, not quite so
clear in his discrimination: "It has a queer _twang_, sir: Smith, what
Smith took up his glass, tasted the contents.
"_Salt water" _drawled the midshipman.
"Salt water! so it is, by heavens!" cried Mr Appleboy.
"Salt as Lot's wife!--by all that's infamous!" cried the master's mate.
"Salt water, sir!" cried Jem in a fright, expecting a _salt_ eel for
"Yes, sir," replied Mr Appleboy, tossing the contents of the tumbler in
the boy's face, "salt water. Very well, sir,--very well!"
"It warn't me, sir," replied the boy, making up a piteous look.
"No, sir, but you said the cook was sober."
"He was not so _very_ much disguised, sir," replied Jem.
"Oh! very well--never mind. Mr Tomkins, in case I should forget it, do
me the favour to put the kettle of salt water down in the report. The
scoundrel! I'm very sorry, gentlemen, but there's no means of having any
more gin-toddy,--but never mind, we'll see to this to-morrow. Two can
play at this; and if I don't salt-water their grog, and make them drink
it, too, I have been twenty years a first-lieutenant for nothing--that's
all. Good night, gentlemen; and," continued the lieutenant, in a severe
tone, "you'll keep a sharp look-out, Mr Smith--do you hear, sir?"
"Yes," drawled Smith, "but it's not my watch; it was my first watch,
and, just now, it struck one bell."
"You'll keep the middle watch, then, Mr Smith," said Mr Appleboy, who
was not a little put out; "and, Mr Tomkins, let me know as soon as it's
daylight. Boy, get my bed made. Salt water, by all that's blue! However,
we'll see to that to-morrow morning."
Mr Appleboy then turned in; so did Mr Tomkins; and so did Mr Smith, who
had no idea of keeping the middle watch because the cook was drunk and
had filled up the kettle with salt water. As for what happened in
ninety-three or ninety-four, I really would inform the reader if I knew,
but I am afraid that that most curious story is never to be handed down
The next morning, Mr Tomkins, as usual, forgot to report the cook, the
jar of butter, and the kettle of salt water; and Mr Appleboy's wrath had
long been appeased before he remembered them. At daylight the lieutenant
came on deck, having only slept away half of the sixteen, and a taste of
the seventeenth salt-water glass of gin-toddy. He rubbed his grey eyes,
that he might peer through the grey of the morning; the fresh breeze
blew about his grizzly locks, and cooled his rubicund nose. The
revenue-cutter, whose name was the _Active_, cast off from the buoy;
and, with a fresh breeze, steered her course for the Needles' passage.
CUTTER THE THIRD
Reader! have you been to St Maloes? If you have, you were glad enough to
leave the hole; and, if you have not, take my advice, and do not give
yourself the trouble to go and see that, or any other French port in the
Channel. There is not one worth looking at. They have made one or two
artificial ports, and they are no great things; there is no getting out,
or getting in. In fact, they have no harbours in the Channel, while we
have the finest in the world; a peculiar dispensation of Providence,
because it knew that we should want them, and France would not. In
France, what are called ports are all alike, nasty narrow holes, only to
be entered at certain times of tide and certain winds; made up of basins
and back-waters, custom-houses, and cabarets; just fit for smugglers to
run into, and nothing more; and, therefore, they are used for very
Now, in the dog-hole called St Maloes there is some pretty land,
although a great deficiency of marine scenery. But never mind that: stay
at home, and don't go abroad to drink sour wine, because they call it
Bordeaux, and eat villanous trash, so disguised by cooking that you
cannot possibly tell which of the birds of the air, or beasts of the
field, or fishes of the sea, you are cramming down your throat. "If all
is right, there is no occasion for disguise," is an old saying; so
depend upon it, that there is something wrong, and that you are eating
offal, under a grand French name. They eat everything in France, and
would serve you up the head of a monkey who has died of the smallpox, as
_singe au petite verole_--that is, if you did not understand French; if
you did, they would call it, _Tete d'amour a l'Ethiopique,_ and then you
would be even more puzzled. As for their wine, there is no disguise in
that--it's half vinegar. No, no! stay at home; you can live just as
cheaply, if you choose; and then you will have good meat, good
vegetables, good ale, good beer, and a good glass of grog--and what is
of more importance, you will be in good company. Live with your friends,
and don't make a fool of yourself.
I would not have condescended to have noticed this place, had it not
been that I wish you to observe a vessel which is lying along the
pier-wharf, with a plank from the shore to her gunnel. It is low water,
and she is aground, and the plank dips down at such an angle that it is
a work of danger to go either in or out of her. You observe that there
is nothing very remarkable in her. She is a cutter, and a good sea-boat,
and sails well before the wind. She is short for her breadth of beam,
and is not armed. Smugglers do not arm now--the service is too
dangerous; they effect their purpose by cunning, not by force.
Nevertheless, it requires that smugglers should be good seamen, smart,
active fellows, and keen-witted, or they can do nothing. This vessel has
not a large cargo in her, but it is valuable. She has some thousand
yards of lace, a few hundred pounds of tea, a few bales of silk, and
about forty ankers of brandy--just as much as they can land in one boat.
All they ask is a heavy gale or a thick fog, and they trust to
themselves for success.
There is nobody on board except a boy; the crew are all up at the
cabaret, settling their little accounts of every description--for they
smuggle both ways, and every man has his own private venture. There they
are all, fifteen of them, and fine-looking fellows, too, sitting at that
long table. They are very merry, but quite sober, as they are to sail
The captain of the vessel (whose name, by-the-bye is the
"_Happy-go-lucky_,"--the captain christened her himself) is that
fine-looking young man, with dark whiskers, meeting under his throat.
His name is Jack Pickersgill. You perceive, at once, that he is much
above a common sailor in appearance. His manners are good, he is
remarkably handsome, very clean, and rather a dandy in his dress.
Observe, how very politely he takes off his hat to that Frenchman, with
whom he has just settled accounts; he beats Johnny Crapeau at his own
weapons. And then there is an air of command, a feeling of conscious
superiority about Jack; see how he treats the landlord, _de haut en
bas_, at the same time that he is very civil. The fact is, that Jack is
of a very good, old family, and received a very excellent education; but
he was an orphan, his friends were poor, and could do but little for
him: he went out to India as a cadet, ran away, and served in a schooner
which smuggled opium into China, and then came home. He took a liking to
the employment, and is now laying up a very pretty little sum: not that
he intends to stop: no, as soon as he has enough to fit out a vessel for
himself, he intends to start again for India, and with two cargoes of
opium, he will return, he trusts, with a handsome fortune, and re-assume
his family name. Such are Jack's intentions; and, as he eventually means
to reappear as a gentleman, he preserves his gentlemanly habits: he
neither drinks, nor chews, nor smokes. He keeps his hands clean, wears
rings, and sports a gold snuff-box; notwithstanding which, Jack is one
of the boldest and best of sailors, and the men know it. He is full of
fun, and as keen as a razor. Jack has a very heavy venture this time--
all the lace is his own speculation, and if he gets it in safe, he will
clear some thousands of pounds. A certain fashionable shop in London has
already agreed to take the whole off his hands.
That short, neatly-made young man is the second in command, and the
companion of the captain. He is clever, and always has a remedy to
propose when there is a difficulty, which is a great quality in a second
in command. His name is Corbett. He is always merry--half-sailor,
half-tradesman; knows the markets, runs up to London, and does business
as well as a chapman--lives for the day, and laughs at to-morrow.
That little punchy old man, with long gray hair and fat face, with a
nose like a note of interrogation, is the next personage of importance.
He ought to be called the sailing-master, for, although he goes on shore
in France, off the English coast he never quits the vessel. When they
leave her with the goods, he remains on board; he is always to be found
off any part of the coast where he may be ordered; holding his position
in defiance of gales, and tides, and fogs: as for the revenue-vessels,
they all know him well enough, but they cannot touch a vessel in
ballast, if she has no more men on board than allowed by her tonnage. He
knows every creek, and hole, and corner, of the coast; how the tide runs
in--tide, half-tide, eddy, or current. That is his value. His name is
You observe that Jack Pickersgill has two excellent supporters in
Corbett and Morrison; his other men are good seamen, active, and
obedient, which is all that he requires. I shall not particularly
"Now you may call for another _litre_, my lads, and that must be the
last; the tide is flowing fast, and we shall be afloat in half an hour,
and we have just the breeze we want. What d'ye think, Morrison, shall we
"I've been looking just now, and if it were any other month in the year
I should say, yes; but there's no trusting April, captain. Howsomever,
if it does blow off, I'll promise you a fog in three hours afterwards."
"That will do as well. Corbett, have you settled with Duval?"
"Yes, after more noise and _charivari_ than a panic in the Stock
Exchange would make in England. He fought and squabbled for an hour, and
I found that, without some abatement, I never should have settled the
"What did you let him off?"
"Seventeen sous," replied Corbett, laughing.
"And that satisfied him?" inquired Pickersgill.
"Yes--it was all he could prove to be a _surfaire_: two of the knives
were a little rusty. But he will always have something off; he could not
be happy without it. I really think he would commit suicide, if he had
to pay a bill without a deduction."
"Let him live," replied Pickersgill. "Jeannette, a bottle of Volnay, of
1811, and three glasses."
Jeannette, who was the _fille de cabaret_, soon appeared with a bottle
of wine, seldom called for, except by the captain of the
"You sail to-night?" said she, as she placed the bottle before him.
Pickersgill nodded his head.
"I had a strange dream," said Jeannette; "I thought you were all taken
by a revenue cutter, and put in a _cachot_. I went to see you, and I did
not know one of you again--you were all changed."
"Very likely, Jeannette--you would not be the first who did not know
their friends again when in misfortune. There was nothing strange in
"_Mais, mon Dieu! je ne suis pas comme ca moi_."
"No, that you are not, Jeannette; you are a good girl, and some of these
fine days I'll marry you," said Corbett.
"_Doit etre bien beau ce jour la, par exemple_," replied Jeannette,
laughing; "you have promised to marry me every time you have come in,
these last three years."
"Well, that proves I keep to my promise, any how."
"Yes; but you never go any further."
"I can't spare him, Jeannette, that is the real truth," said the
captain: "but wait a little--in the meantime, here is a five-franc piece
to add to your _petite fortune_."
"_Merci bien, monsieur le capitaine; bon voyage!_" Jeannette held her
finger up to Corbett, saying, with a smile, "_mechant!_" and then
quitted the room.
"Come, Morrison, help us to empty this bottle, and then we will all go
"I wish that girl wouldn't come here with her nonsensical dreams," said
Morrison, taking his seat; "I don't like it. When she said that we
should be taken by a revenue cutter, I was looking at a blue and a white
pigeon sitting on the wall opposite; and I said to myself, now, if that
be a warning, I will see: if the _blue_ pigeon flies away first, I shall
be in jail in a week; if the _white,_ I shall be back here."
"Well?" said Pickersgill, laughing.
"It wasn't well," answered Morrison, tossing off his wine, and putting
the glass down with a deep sigh; "for the cursed _blue_ pigeon flew away
"Why, Morrison, you must have a chicken-heart to be frightened at a blue
pigeon," said Corbett, laughing, and looking out of the window; "at all
events, he has come back again, and there he is sitting by the white
"It's the first time that ever I was called chicken-hearted," replied
Morrison, in wrath.
"Nor do you deserve it, Morrison," replied Pickersgill; "but Corbett is
"Well, at all events, I'll try my luck in the same way, and see whether
I am to be in jail: I shall take the blue pigeon as my bad omen, as you
The sailors and Captain Pickersgill all rose and went to the window, to
ascertain Corbett's fortune by this new species of augury. The blue
pigeon flapped his wings, and then he sidled up to the white one; at
last, the white pigeon flew off the wall and settled on the roof of the
adjacent house. "Bravo, white pigeon!" said Corbett; "I shall be here
again in a week." The whole party, laughing, then resumed their seats;
and Morrison's countenance brightened up. As he took the glass of wine
poured out by Pickersgill, he said, "Here's your health, Corbett; it was
all nonsense, after all--for, d'ye see, I can't be put in jail without
you are. We all sail in the same boat, and when you leave me, you take
with you everything that can condemn the vessel--so here's success to
"We will all drink that toast, my lads, and then on board," said the
captain; "here's success to our trip."
The captain rose, as did the mates and men, drank the toast, turned down
the drinking-vessels on the table, hastened to the wharf, and, in half
an hour, the _Happy-go-lucky_ was clear of the port of St Maloes.
The _Happy-go-lucky_ sailed with a fresh breeze and a flowing sheet from
St Maloes, the evening before the _Arrow_ sailed from Barn Pool. The
_Active_ sailed from Portsmouth the morning after.
The yacht, as we before observed, was bound to Cowes, in the Isle of
Wight. The _Active_ had orders to cruise wherever she pleased within the
limits of the admiral's station; and she ran for West Bay, on the other
side of the Bill of Portland. The _Happy-go-lucky_ was also bound for
that bay to land her cargo.
The wind was light, and there was every appearance of fine weather, when
the _Happy-go-lucky_, at ten o'clock on the Tuesday night, made the
Portland lights; as it was impossible to run her cargo that night, she
At eleven o'clock, the Portland lights were made by the revenue cutter
_Active_. Mr Appleboy went up to have a look at them, ordered the cutter
to be hove to, and then went down to finish his allowance of gin-toddy.
At twelve o'clock, the yacht _Arrow_ made the Portland lights, and
continued her course, hardly stemming the ebb tide.
Day broke, and the horizon was clear. The first on the look-out were, of
course, the smugglers; they, and those on board the revenue cutter, were
the only two interested parties--the yacht was neuter.
"There are two cutters in sight, sir," said Corbett, who had the watch;
for Pickersgill, having been up the whole night, had thrown himself down
on the bed with his clothes on.
"What do they look like?" said Pickersgill, who was up in a moment.
"One is a yacht, and the other may be; but I rather think, as far as I
can judge in the gray, that it is our old friend off here."
"What! old Appleboy?"
"Yes, it looks like him; but the day has scarcely broke yet."
"Well, he can do nothing in a light wind like this; and before the wind
we can show him our heels; but are you sure the other is a yacht?" said
Pickersgill, coming on deck.
"Yes; the king is more careful of his canvas."
"You're right," said Pickersgill, "that is a yacht; and you're right
there again in your guess--that is the stupid old _Active_, which creeps
about creeping for tubs. Well, I see nothing to alarm us at present,
provided it don't fall a dead calm, and then we must take to our boat as
soon as he takes to his; we are four miles from him at least. Watch his
motions, Corbett, and see if he lowers a boat. What does she go now?
Four knots?--that will soon tire their men."
The positions of the three cutters were as follows:--
The _Happy-go-lucky_ was about four miles off Portland Head, and well
into West Bay. The revenue cutter was close to the Head. The yacht was
outside of the smuggler, about two miles to the westward, and about five
or six miles from the revenue cutter.
"Two vessels in sight, sir," said Mr Smith, coming down into the cabin
to Mr Appleboy.
"Very well," replied the lieutenant, who was _lying_ down in his
"The people say one is the _Happy-go-lucky,_ sir," drawled Smith.
"Heh? what! _Happy-go-lucky?_ Yes, I recollect; I've boarded her twenty
times--always empty. How's she standing?"
"She stands to the westward now, sir; but she was hove to, they say,
when they first saw her."
"Then she has a cargo in her;" and Mr Appleboy shaved himself, dressed,
and went on deck.
"Yes," said the lieutenant, rubbing his eyes again and again, and then
looking through the glass, "it is her sure enough. Let draw the fore
sheet--hands make sail. What vessel's the other?"
"Don't know, sir,--she's a cutter."
"A cutter? yes; may be a yacht, or may be the new cutter ordered on the
station. Make all sail, Mr Tomkins; hoist our pendant, and fire a gun--
they will understand what we mean then; they don't know the
_Happy-go-lucky_ as well as we do."
In a few minutes the _Active_ was under a press of sail; she hoisted her
pendant, and fired a gun. The smuggler perceived that the _Active_ had
recognised her, and she also threw out more canvas, and ran off more to
"There's a gun, sir," reported one of the men to Mr Stewart, on board of
"Yes; give me the glass--a revenue cutter; then this vessel in shore,
running towards us, must be a smuggler."
"She has just now made all sail, sir."
"Yes, there's no doubt of it; I will go down to his lordship--keep her
as she goes."
Mr Stewart then went down to inform Lord B. of the circumstance. Not
only Lord B., but most of the gentlemen came on deck; as did soon
afterwards the ladies, who had received the intelligence from Lord B.,
who spoke to them through the door of the cabin.
But the smuggler had more wind than the revenue cutter, and increased
"If we were to wear round now, my lord," observed Mr Stewart, "she is
just abreast of us and in shore, we could prevent her escape."
"Round with her, Mr Stewart," said Lord B.; "we must do our duty, and
protect the laws."
"That will not be fair, papa," said Cecilia Ossulton; "we have no
quarrel with the smugglers: I'm sure the ladies have not, for they bring
us beautiful things."
"Miss Ossulton," observed her aunt, "it is not proper for you to offer
The yacht wore round, and, sailing so fast, the smuggler had little
chance of escaping her; but to chase is one thing--to capture, another.
"Let us give her a gun," said Lord B., "that will frighten her; and he
dare not cross our hawse."
The gun was loaded, and not being more than a mile from the smuggler,
actually threw the ball almost a quarter of the way.
The gentlemen, as well as Lord B., were equally excited by the ardour of
pursuit; but the wind died away, and at last it was nearly calm. The
revenue cutter's boats were out, and coming up fast.
"Let us get our boat out, Stewart," said his lordship; "and help them;
it is quite calm now."
The boat was soon out: it was a very large one, usually stowed on, and
occupied a large portion of, the deck. It pulled six oars; and when it
was manned, Mr Stewart jumped in, and Lord B. followed him.
"But you have no arms," said Mr Hautaine.
"The smugglers never resist now," observed Stewart.
"Then you are going on a very gallant expedition, indeed," observed
Cecilia Ossulton; "I wish you joy."
But Lord B. was too much excited to pay attention. They shoved off, and
pulled towards the smuggler.
At this time, the revenue boats were about five miles astern of the
_Happy-go-lucky_, and the yacht about three-quarters of a mile from her
in the offing. Pickersgill had, of course, observed the motions of the
yacht; had seen her wear on chase, hoist her ensign and pendant, and
fire her gun.
"Well," said he, "this is the blackest ingratitude; to be attacked by
the very people whom we smuggle for. I only wish she may come up with
us; and, let her attempt to interfere, she shall rue the day: I don't
much like this, though."
As we before observed, it fell nearly calm, and the revenue boats were
in chase. Pickersgill watched them as they came up.
"What shall we do," said Corbett,--"get the boat out?"
"Yes," replied Pickersgill, "we will get the boat out, and have the
goods in her all ready; but we can pull faster than they do, in the
first place; and, in the next, they will be pretty well tired before
they come up to us. We are fresh, and shall soon walk away from them; so
I shall not leave the vessel till they are within half a mile. We must
sink the ankers, that they may not seize the vessel, for it is not worth
while taking them with us. Pass them along ready to run them over the
bows, that they may not see us and swear to it. But we have a good half
hour, and more."
"Ay, and you may hold all fast if you choose," said Morrison, "although
it's better to be on the right side and get ready; otherwise, before
half an hour, I'll swear that we are out of their sight. Look there,"
said he, pointing to the eastward at a heavy bank, "it's coming right
down upon us, as I said it would."
"True enough; but still there is no saying which will come first,
Morrison; the boats or the fog, so we must be prepared."
"Hilloa! what's this? why, there's a boat coming from the yacht!"
Pickersgill took out his glass.
"Yes, and the yacht's own boat, with the name painted on her bows. Well,
let them come--we will have no ceremony in resisting them; they are not
in the Act of Parliament, and must take the consequences. We have nought
to fear. Get stretchers, my lads, and hand-spikes; they row six oars,
and are three in the stern sheets--they must be good men if they take
In a few minutes Lord B. was close to the smuggler.
"Boat, ahoy! what do you want?"
"Surrender in the king's name."
"To what, and to whom, and what are we to surrender? We are an English
vessel coasting along shore."
"Pull on board, my lads," cried Stewart; "I am a king's officer--we know
The boat darted alongside, and Stewart and Lord B., followed by the men,
jumped on the deck.
"Well, gentlemen, what do you want?" said Pickersgill.
"We seize you--you are a smuggler; there's no denying it: look at the
casks of spirits stretched along the deck."
"We never said that we were not smugglers," replied Pickersgill; "but
what is that to you? You are not a king's ship, or employed by the
"No, but we carry a pendant, and it is our duty to protect the laws."
"And who are you?" said Pickersgill.
"I am Lord B."
"Then, my lord, allow me to say that you would do much better to attend
to the framing of laws, and leave people of less consequence, like those
astern of me, to execute them. 'Mind your own business,' is an old
adage. We shall not hurt you, my lord, as you have only employed words,
but we shall put it out of your power to hurt us. Come aft, my lads.
Now, my lord, resistance is useless; we are double your numbers, and you
have caught a Tartar."
Lord B. and Mr Stewart perceived that they were in an awkward
"You may do what you please," observed Mr Stewart, "but the revenue
boats are coming up, recollect."
"Look you, sir, do you see the revenue cutter?" said Pickersgill.
Stewart looked in that direction, and saw that she was hidden in the
"In five minutes, sir, the boats will be out of sight also, and so will
your vessel; we have nothing to fear from them."
"Indeed, my lord, we had better return," said Mr Stewart, who perceived
that Pickersgill was right.
"I beg your pardon, you will not go on board your yacht so soon as you
expect. Take the oars out of the boat, my lads, two or three of you, and
throw in a couple of our paddles for them to reach the shore with. The
rest of you knock down the first man who offers to resist. You are not
aware, perhaps, my lord, that you have attempted _piracy_ on the high
Stewart looked at Lord B. It was true enough. The men of the yacht could
offer no resistance; the oars were taken out of the boat, and the men
put in again.
"My lord," said Pickersgill, "your boat is manned--do me the favour to
step into it; and you, sir, do the same. I should be sorry to lay my
hands upon a peer of the realm, or a king's officer even on half pay."
Remonstrance was vain; his lordship was led to the boat by two of the
smugglers, and Stewart followed.
"I will leave your oars, my lord, at the Weymouth Custom-house; and I
trust this will be a lesson to you in future to 'mind your own
The boat was shoved off from the sloop by the smugglers, and was soon
lost sight of in the fog, which had now covered the revenue boats as
well as the yacht; at the same time, it brought down a breeze from the
"Haul to the wind, Morrison," said Pickersgill, "we will stand out to
get rid of the boats; if they pull on, they will take it for granted
that we shall run into the bay, as will the revenue cutter."
Pickersgill and Corbett were in conversation abaft for a short time,
when the former desired the course to be altered two points.
"Keep silence all of you, my lads, and let me know if you hear a gun or
a bell from the yacht," said Pickersgill.
"There is a gun, sir, close to us," said one of the men; "the sound was
"That will do, keep her as she goes. Aft here, my lads; we cannot run
our cargo in the bay, for the cutter has been seen to chase us, and they
will all be on the look-out at the preventive stations for us on shore.
Now, my lads, I have made up my mind that, as these yacht gentlemen have
thought proper to interfere, I will take possession of the yacht for a
few days. We shall then out-sail everything, go where we like
unsuspected, and land our cargo with ease. I shall run alongside of her
--she can have but few hands on board; and mind, do not hurt anybody,
but be civil and obey my orders. Morrison, you and your four men and the
boy will remain on board as before, and take the vessel to Cherbourg,
where we will join you."
In a short time another gun was fired from the yacht.
Those on board, particularly the ladies, were alarmed; the fog was very
thick, and they could not distinguish the length of the vessel. They had
seen the boat board, but had not seen her turned adrift without oars, as
the fog came on just at that time. The yacht was left with only three
seamen on board, and, should it come on bad weather, they were in an
awkward predicament. Mr Hautaine had taken the command, and ordered the
guns to be fired that the boat might be enabled to find them. The fourth
gun was loading, when they perceived the smuggler's cutter close to them
looming through the fog.
"Here they are," cried the seamen; "and they have brought the prize
along with them! Three cheers for the _Arrow_!"
"Hilloa! you'll be on board of us?" cried Hautaine.
"That's exactly what I intended to be, sir," replied Pickersgill,
jumping on the quarter-deck, followed by his men.
"Who the devil are you?"
"That's exactly the same question that I asked Lord B. when he boarded
us," replied Pickersgill, taking off his hat to the ladies.
"Well, but what business have you here?"
"Exactly the same question which I put to Lord B.," replied Pickersgill.
"Where is Lord B., sir?" said Cecilia Ossulton, going up to the
smuggler; "is he safe?"
"Yes, madam, he is safe; at least he is in his boat with all his men,
and unhurt: but you must excuse me if I request you and the other ladies
to go down below while I speak to these gentlemen. Be under no alarm,
miss; you will receive neither insult nor ill-treatment--I have only
taken possession of this vessel for the present."
"Take possession," cried Hautaine, "of a yacht."
"Yes, sir, since the owner of the yacht thought proper to attempt to
take possession of me. I always thought that yachts were
pleasure-vessels, sailing about for amusement, respected themselves, and
not interfering with others; but it appears that such is not the case.
The owner of this yacht has thought proper to break through the
neutrality, and commence aggression, and under such circumstances I have
now, in retaliation, taken possession of her."
"And, pray, what do you mean to do, sir?"
"Simply for a few days to make an exchange. I shall send you on board of
my vessel as smugglers, while I remain here with the ladies and amuse
myself with yachting."
"Why, sir, you cannot mean--"
"I have said, gentlemen, and that is enough; I should be sorry to resort
to violence, but I must be obeyed. You have, I perceive, three seamen
only left: they are not sufficient to take charge of the vessel, and
Lord B. and the others you will not meet for several days. My regard for
the ladies, even common humanity, points out to me that I cannot leave
the vessel in this crippled condition. At the same time, as I must have
hands on board of my own, you will oblige me by going on board and
taking her safely into port. It is the least return you can make for my
kindness. In those dresses, gentlemen, you will not be able to do your
duty; oblige me by shifting, and putting on these." Corbett handed a
flannel shirt, a rough jacket and trousers, to Messrs Hautaine,
Ossulton, Vaughan, and Seagrove. After some useless resistance they were
stripped, and having put on the smugglers' attire, they were handed on
board of the _Happy-go-lucky_.
The three English seamen were also sent on board and confined below, as
well as Ossulton's servant, who was also equipped like his master, and
confined below with the seamen. Corbett and the men then handed up all
the smuggled goods into the yacht, dropped the boat, and made it fast
astern; and, Morrison having received his directions, the vessels
separated--Morrison running for Cherbourg, and Pickersgill steering the
yacht along shore to the westward. About an hour after this exchange had
been effected, the fog cleared up, and showed the revenue cutter hove to
for her boats, which had pulled back and were close on board of her; and
the _Happy-go-lucky_, about three miles in the offing. Lord B. and his
boat's crew were about four miles in shore, paddling and drifting with
the tide towards Portland. As soon as the boats were on board, the
revenue cutter made all sail after the smuggler, paying no attention to
the yacht, and either not seeing or not caring about the boat which was
drifting about in West Bay.
"Here we are, Corbett, and now I only wish my venture had been double,"
observed Pickersgill; "but I shall not allow business to absorb me
wholly--we must add a little amusement. It appears to me, Corbett, that
the gentleman's clothes which lie there will fit you, and those of the
good-looking fellow who was spokesman will, I am sure, suit me well.
Now, let us dress ourselves, and then for breakfast."
Pickersgill then exchanged his clothes for those of Mr Hautaine, and
Corbett fitted on those of Mr Ossulton. The steward was summoned up, and
he dared not disobey; he appeared on deck, trembling.
"Steward--you will take these clothes below," said Pickersgill, "and,
observe, I now command this yacht; and, during the time that I am on
board, you will pay me the same respect as you did Lord B.: nay, more,
you will always address me as Lord B. You will prepare dinner and
breakfast, and do your duty just as if his lordship was on board, and
take care that you feed us well, for I will not allow the ladies to be
entertained in a less sumptuous manner than before.--You will tell the
cook what I say,--and now that you have heard me, take care that you
obey; if not, recollect that I have my own men here, and if I but point
with my finger, _overboard you go_.--Do you perfectly comprehend me?"
"Yes,--sir," stammered the steward.
"Yes, _sir_!--What did I tell you, sirrah?--Yes, my lord.--Do you
"Pray, steward, whose clothes has this gentleman put on?"
"Mr--Mr Ossulton's, I think--sir--my lord, I mean."
"Very well, steward; then recollect, in future you always address that
gentleman as _Mr Ossulton_."
"Yes, my lord," and the steward went down below, and was obliged to take
a couple of glasses of brandy, to keep himself from fainting.
"Who are they, and what are they! Mr Maddox?" cried the lady's-maid, who
had been weeping.
"Pirates!--_bloody, murderous, stick-at-nothing_ pirates!" replied the
"Oh!" screamed the lady's-maid, "what will become of us, poor
unprotected females?" And she hastened into the cabin, to impart this
The ladies in the cabin were not in a very enviable situation. As for
the elder Miss Ossulton (but, perhaps, it will be better in future to
distinguish the two ladies, by calling the elder simply Miss Ossulton,
and her niece, Cecilia), she was sitting with her salts to her nose,
agonised with a mixture of trepidation and wounded pride. Mrs Lascelles
was weeping, but weeping gently. Cecilia was sad, and her heart was
beating with anxiety and suspense--when the maid rushed in.
"O madam! O miss! O Mrs Lascelles! I have found it all out!--they are
murderous, bloody, do-everything pirates!!!"
"Mercy on us!" exclaimed Miss Ossulton; "surely they will never dare--?"
"Oh, ma'am, they dare anything!--they just now were throwing the steward
overboard--and they have rummaged all the portmanteaus, and dressed
themselves in the gentlemen's best clothes--the captain of them told the
steward that he was Lord B.--and that if he dared to call him anything
else, he would cut his throat from ear to ear--and if the cook don't
give them a good dinner, they swear that they'll chop his right hand
off, and make him eat it, without pepper or salt!"
Miss Ossulton screamed, and went off into hysterics. Mrs Lascelles and
Cecilia went to her assistance; but the latter had not forgotten the
very different behaviour of Jack Pickersgill, and his polite manners,
when he boarded the vessel. She did not, therefore, believe what the
maid had reported, but still her anxiety and suspense were great,
especially about her father. After having restored her aunt, she put on
her bonnet, which was lying on the sofa.
"Where are you going, dear?" said Mrs Lascelles.
"On deck," replied Cecilia. "I must and will speak to these men."
"Gracious heaven, Miss Ossulton going on deck! have you heard what
"Yes, aunt, I have; but I can wait here no longer."
"Stop her! stop her!--she will be murdered!--she will be--she is mad!"
screamed Miss Ossulton; but no one attempted to stop Cecilia, and on
deck she went. On her arrival, she found Jack Pickersgill and Corbett
walking the deck; one of the smugglers at the helm, and the rest
forward, and as quiet as the crew of the yacht. As soon as she made her
appearance, Jack took off his hat, and made her a bow.
"I do not know whom I have the honour of addressing, young lady! but I
am flattered with this mark of confidence. You feel, and I assure you,
you feel correctly, that you are not exactly in lawless hands."
Cecilia looked with more surprise than fear at Pickersgill; Mr
Hautaine's dress became him, he was a handsome, fine-looking man, and
had nothing of the ruffian in his appearance; unless, like Byron's
Corsair, he was _half savage, half soft_. She could not help thinking
that she had met many with less pretensions, as far as appearance went,
to the claims of a gentleman, at Almack's, and other fashionable
"I have ventured on deck, sir," said Cecilia, with a little
tremulousness in her voice, "to request, as a favour, that you will
inform me what your intentions may be, with regard to the vessel, and
with regard to the ladies!"
"And I feel much obliged to you, for so doing, and I assure you, I will,
as far as I have made up my own mind, answer you candidly: but you
tremble--allow me to conduct you to a seat. In few words, then, to
remove your present alarm, I intend that the vessel shall be returned to
its owner, with every article in it, as religiously respected as if they
were church property. With respect to you, and the other ladies on
board, I pledge you my honour, that you have nothing to fear; that you
shall be treated with every respect; your privacy never invaded; and
that, in a few days, you will be restored to your friends. Young lady, I
pledge my hopes of future salvation to the truth of this; but, at the
same time, I must make a few conditions, which, however, will not be
"But, sir," replied Cecilia, much relieved, for Pickersgill had stood by
her in the most respectful manner, "you are, I presume, the captain of
the smuggler? Pray, answer me one question more--What became of the
boat, with Lord B.,--he is my father?"
"I left him in his boat, without a hair of his head touched, young lady;
but I took away the oars."
"Then he will perish!" cried Cecilia, putting her handkerchief to her
"No, young lady, he is on shore probably by this time; although I took
away his means of assisting to capture us, I left him the means of
gaining the land. It is not every one who would have done that, after
his conduct to us."
"I begged him not to go," said Cecilia; "I told him that it was not
fair, and that he had no quarrel with the smugglers."
"I thank you even for that," replied Pickersgill. "And now, Miss--I have
not the pleasure of recollecting his lordship's family name--"
"Ossulton, sir," said Cecilia, looking at Pickersgill with surprise.
"Then, with your permission, Miss Ossulton, I will now make you my
confidant: excuse my using so free a term, but it is because I wish to
relieve your fears; at the same time, I cannot permit you to divulge all
my intentions to the whole party on board; I feel that I may trust you,
for you have courage, and where there is courage, there generally is
truth; but you must first tell me whether you will condescend to accept
Cecilia demurred a moment--the idea of being the confidant of a smuggler
rather startled her; but still, her knowledge of what his intentions
were, if she might not reveal them, might be important; as, perhaps, she
might dissuade him. She could be in no worse position than she was now,
and she might be in a much better. The conduct of Pickersgill had been
such, up to the present, as to inspire confidence; and, although he
defied the laws, he appeared to regard the courtesies of life. Cecilia
was a courageous girl, and at length she replied:--
"Provided what you desire me to keep secret will not be injurious to any
one, or compromise me, in my peculiar situation, I consent."
"I would not hurt a fly, Miss Ossulton, but in self-defence, and I have
too much respect for you, from your conduct during our short meeting, to
compromise you. Allow me now to be very candid; and then, perhaps, you
will acknowledge that, in my situation, others would do the same; and,
perhaps, not show half so much forbearance. Your father, without any
right whatever, interferes with me, and my calling: he attempts to make
me a prisoner, to have me thrown in jail; heavily fined, and, perhaps,
sent out of the country. I will not enter into any defence of smuggling,
it is sufficient to say, that there are pains and penalties attached to
the infraction of certain laws, and that I choose to risk them--but Lord
B. was not empowered by Government to attack me; it was a gratuitous
act--and had I thrown him, and all his crew into the sea, I should have
been justified, for it was in short, an act of piracy on their part.
Now, as your father has thought to turn a yacht into a revenue cutter,
you cannot be surprised at my retaliating, in turning her into a
smuggler; and as he has mixed up looking after the revenue with
yachting, he cannot be surprised if I retaliate, by mixing up a little
yachting with smuggling. I have dressed your male companions as
smugglers, and have sent them in the smuggling vessel to Cherbourg,
where they will be safely landed; and I have dressed myself, and the
only person whom I could join with me in this frolic, as gentlemen, in
their places. My object is twofold: one is, to land my cargo, which I
have now on board, and which is very valuable; the other is, to
retaliate upon your father and his companions, for their attempt upon
me, by stepping into their shoes, and enjoying, for a day or two, their
luxuries. It is my intention to make free with nothing, but his
lordship's wine and eatables,--that you may be assured of; but I shall
have no pleasure, if the ladies do not sit down to the dinner-table with
us, as they did before with your father and his friends."
"You can hardly expect that, sir," said Cecilia.
"Yes, I do; and that will be not only the price of the early release of
the yacht and themselves, but it will also be the only means by which
they will obtain anything to eat. You observe, Miss Ossulton, the sins
of the fathers are visited on the children. I have now told you what I
mean to do, and what I wish. I leave you to think of it, and decide
whether it will not be the best for all parties to consent. You have my
permission to tell the other ladies, that whatever may be their conduct,
they are as secure from ill-treatment or rudeness, as if they were in
Grosvenor Square; but I cannot answer that they will not be hungry, if,
after such forbearance in every point, they show so little gratitude, as
not to honour me with their company."
"Then I am to understand that we are to be starved into submission?"
"No, not starved, Miss Ossulton; but recollect that you will be on bread
and water, and detained until you do consent, and your detention will
increase the anxiety of your father."
"You know how to persuade, sir," said Cecilia. "As far as I am
concerned, I trust I shall ever be ready to sacrifice any feelings of
pride, to spare my father so much uneasiness. With your permission, I
will now go down into the cabin, and relieve my companions from the
worst of their fears. As for obtaining what you wish, I can only say,
that, as a young person, I am not likely to have much influence with
those older than myself, and must inevitably be overruled, as I have not
permission to point out to them reasons which might avail. Would you so
far allow me to be relieved from my promise, as to communicate all you
have said to me, to the only married woman on board? I think I then
might obtain your wishes, which, I must candidly tell you, I shall
attempt to effect, _only_ because I am most anxious to rejoin my
"And be relieved of my company," replied Pickersgill, smiling,
ironically,--"of course you are; but I must and will have my petty
revenge: and although you may, and probably will detest me, at all
events you shall not have any very formidable charge to make against me
Before you go below, Miss Ossulton, I give you my permission to add the
married lady to the number of my confidants; and you must permit me to
introduce my friend, Mr Ossulton;" and Pickersgill waved his hand in the
direction of Corbett, who took off his hat, and made a low obeisance.
It was impossible for Cecilia Ossulton to help smiling.
"And," continued Pickersgill, "having taking the command of this yacht,
instead of his lordship, it is absolutely necessary that I also take his
lordship's name. While on board I am Lord B.; and allow me to introduce
myself under that name--I cannot be addressed otherwise. Depend upon it,
Miss Ossulton, that I shall have a most paternal solicitude to make you
happy and comfortable."
Had Cecilia Ossulton dared to have given vent to her real feelings at
that time, she would have burst into a fit of laughter, it was too
ludicrous. At the same time, the very burlesque reassured her still
more. She went into the cabin with a heavy weight removed from her
In the meantime, Miss Ossulton and Mrs Lascelles remained below, in the
greatest anxiety at Cecilia's prolonged stay; they knew not what to
think, and dared not go on deck. Mrs Lascelles had once determined at
all risks to go up; but Miss Ossulton and Phoebe had screamed, and
implored her so fervently not to leave them, that she unwillingly
consented to remain. Cecilia's countenance, when she entered the cabin,
reassured Mrs Lascelles, but not her aunt, who ran to her, crying and
sobbing, and clinging to her, saying, "What have they done to you, my
poor, poor Cecilia?"
"Nothing at all, aunt," replied Cecilia, "the captain speaks very
fairly, and says he shall respect us in every possible way, provided
that we obey his orders, but if not--"
"If not--what, Cecilia?" said Miss Ossulton, grasping her niece's arm.
"He will starve us, and not let us go!"
"God have mercy on us!"--cried Miss Ossulton, renewing her sobs.
Cecilia then went to Mrs Lascelles, and communicated to her, apart, all
that had passed. Mrs Lascelles agreed with Cecilia, that they were in no
danger of insult; and as they talked over the matter, they at last began
to laugh; there was a novelty in it, and there was something so
ridiculous in all the gentlemen being turned into smugglers. Cecilia was
glad that she could not tell her aunt, as she wished her to be so
frightened, as never to have her company on board of the yacht again;
and Mrs Lascelles was too glad to annoy her for many and various insults
received. The matter was, therefore, canvassed over very satisfactorily,
and Mrs Lascelles felt a natural curiosity to see this new Lord B. and
the second Mr Ossulton. But they had had no breakfast and were feeling
very hungry, now that their alarm was over. They desired Phoebe to ask
the steward for some tea or coffee. The reply was, that, "Breakfast was
laid in the cabin, and Lord B. trusted that the ladies would come to
partake of it."
"No, no," replied Mrs Lascelles, "I never can, without being introduced
to them first."
"Nor will I go," replied Cecilia, "but I will write a note, and we will
have our breakfast here." Cecilia wrote a note in pencil as follows:--
"Miss Ossulton's compliments to Lord B., and, as the ladies feel rather
indisposed after the alarm of this morning, they trust that his lordship
will excuse their coming to breakfast; but hope to meet his lordship at
dinner, if not before that time, on deck."
The answer was propitious, and the steward soon appeared with the
breakfast in the ladies' cabin.
"Well Maddox," said Cecilia, "how do you get on with your new master?"
The steward looked at the door to see if it was closed, shook his head,
and then said with a look of despair, "He has ordered a haunch of
venison for dinner, miss, and he has twice threatened to toss me
"You must obey him, Maddox, or he certainly will. These pirates are
dreadful fellows; be attentive, and serve him just as if he was my
"Yes, yes, ma'am, I will, but our time may come; it's _burglary_ on the
high seas, and I'll go fifty miles to see him hanged."
"Steward!" cried Pickersgill, from the cabin.
"O lord! he can't have heard me--d'ye-think he did, miss?"
"The partitions are very thin, and you spoke very loud," said Mrs
Lascelles; "at all events, go to him quickly."
"Good-bye, miss; good-bye, ma'am; if I shouldn't see you any more," said
Maddox, trembling with fear, as he obeyed the awful summons--which was
to demand a tooth-pick.
Miss Ossulton would not touch the breakfast; not so Mrs Lascelles and
Cecilia, who ate very heartily.
"It's very dull to be shut up in this cabin," said Mrs Lascelles; "come,
Cecilia, let's go on deck."
"And leave me," cried Miss Ossulton.
"There is Phoebe here, aunt; we are going up to persuade the pirates to
put us all on shore."
Mrs Lascelles and Cecilia put on their bonnets and went up. Lord B. took
off his hat, and begged the honour of being introduced to the pretty
widow. He handed the ladies to a seat, and then commenced conversing
upon various subjects, which, at the same time, possessed great novelty.
His lordship talked about France, and described its ports; told now and
then a good anecdote; pointed out the different headlands, bays, towns,
and villages, which they were passing rapidly, and always had some
little story connected with each. Before the ladies had been two hours
on deck, they found themselves, to their infinite surprise, not only
interested, but in conversation with the captain of the smuggler, and
more than once they laughed outright. But the _soi-disant_ Lord B. had
inspired them with confidence; they fully believed that what he had told
them was true, and that he had taken possession of the yacht to smuggle
his goods, to be revenged, and to have a laugh. Now none of these three
offences are capital in the eyes of the fair sex; and Jack was a
handsome, fine-looking fellow, of excellent manners, and very agreeable
conversation, at the same time, neither he nor his friend were in their
general deportment and behaviour otherwise than most respectful.
"Ladies, as you are not afraid of me, which is a greater happiness than
I had reason to expect, I think you may be amused to witness the fear of
those who accuse your sex of cowardice. With your permission, I will
send for the cook and steward, and inquire about the dinner."
"I should like to know what there is for dinner," observed Mrs Lascelles
demurely; "wouldn't you, Cecilia?"
Cecilia put her handkerchief to her mouth.
"Tell the steward and the cook both to come aft immediately," cried
In a few seconds they both made their appearance.
"Steward!" cried Pickersgill, with a loud voice.
"Yes, my lord," replied Maddox, with his hat in his hand.
"What wines have you put out for dinner?"
"Champagne, my lord; and claret, my lord; and Madeira and sherry, my
"No Burgundy, sir?"
"No, my lord; there is no Burgundy on board."
"No Burgundy, sir! do you dare to tell me that?"
"Upon my soul, my lord," cried Maddox, dropping on his knees, "there is
no Burgundy on board--ask the ladies."
"Very well, sir; you may go."
"Cook, what have you got for dinner?"
"Sir, a haunch of mutt--of venison, my lord," replied the cook, with his
white night-cap in his hand.
"What else, sirrah?"
"A boiled calf's head, my lord."
"A boiled calf's head! Let it be roasted, or I'll roast you, sir!" cried
Pickersgill in an angry tone.
"Yes, my lord; I'll roast it."
"And what else, sir?"
"Maintenon cutlets, my lord."
"Maintenon cutlets! I hate them--I won't have them, sir. Let them be
dressed _a l'ombre Chinoise_."
"I don't know what that is, my lord."
"I don't care for that, sirrah; if you don't find out by dinner-time,
you're food for fishes--that's all; you may go."
The cook walked off wringing his hands and his night-cap as well--for he
still held it in his right hand--and disappeared down the fore-hatchway.
"I have done this to pay you a deserved compliment, ladies; you have
more courage than the other sex."
"Recollect that we have had confidence given to us in consequence of
your pledging your word, my lord."
"You do me, then, the honour of believing me?"
"I did not until I saw you," replied Mrs Lascelles; "but now I am
convinced that you will perform your promise."
"You do, indeed, encourage me, madam, to pursue what is right," said
Pickersgill, bowing; "for your approbation I should be most sorry to
lose, still more sorry to prove myself unworthy of it."
As the reader will observe, everything was going on remarkably well.
THE SMUGGLING YACHT
Cecilia returned to the cabin, to ascertain whether her aunt was more
composed; but Mrs Lascelles remained on deck. She was much pleased with
Pickersgill; and they continued their conversation. Pickersgill entered
into a defence of his conduct to Lord B.; and Mrs Lascelles could not
but admit the provocation. After a long conversation, she hinted at his
profession, and how superior he appeared to be to such a lawless life.
"You may be incredulous, madam," replied Pickersgill, "if I tell you
that I have as good a right to quarter my arms as Lord B. himself; and
that I am not under my real name. Smuggling is, at all events, no crime;
and I infinitely prefer the wild life I lead at the head of my men, to
being spurned by society because I am poor. The greatest crime in this
country is poverty. I may, if I am fortunate, some day resume my name.
You may, perhaps, meet me, and, if you please, you may expose me."
"That I should not be likely to do," replied the widow; "but still I
regret to see a person, evidently intended for better things, employed
in so disreputable a profession."
"I hardly know, madam, what is and what is not disreputable in this
conventional world. It is not considered disreputable to cringe to the
vices of a court, or to accept a pension wrung from the industry of the
nation, in return for base servility. It is not considered disreputable
to take tithes, intended for the service of God, and lavish them away at
watering-places or elsewhere, seeking pleasure instead of doing God
service. It is not considered disreputable to take fee after fee to
uphold injustice, to plead against innocence, to pervert truth, and to
aid the devil. It is not considered disreputable to gamble on the Stock
Exchange, or to corrupt the honesty of electors by bribes, to doing
which the penalty attached is equal to that decreed to the offence of
which I am guilty. All these, and much more, are not considered
disreputable; yet, by all these are the moral bonds of society loosened,
while in mine we cause no guilt in others--"
"But still it is a crime."
"A violation of the revenue laws, and no more. Observe, madam, the
English Government encourage the smuggling of our manufactures to the
Continent, at the same time that they take every step to prevent
articles being smuggled into this country. Now, madam, can that be a
_crime_, when the head of the vessel is turned north, which becomes _no
crime_ when she steers the opposite way?"
"There is a stigma attached to it, you must allow."
"That I grant you, madam; and as soon as I can quit the profession I
shall. No captive ever sighed more to be released from his chains; but I
will not leave it, till I find that I am in a situation not to be
spurned and neglected by those with whom I have a right to associate."
At this moment, the steward was seen forward making signs to Mrs
Lascelles, who excused herself, and went to him.
"For the love of God, madam," said Maddox, "as he appears to be friendly
with you, do pray find out how these cutlets are to be dressed; the cook
is tearing his hair, and we shall never have any dinner; and then it
will all fall upon me, and I--shall be tossed overboard."
Mrs Lascelles desired poor Maddox to wait there while she obtained the
desired information. In a few minutes she returned to him.
"I have found it out. They are first to be boiled in vinegar; then fried
in batter, and served up with a sauce of anchovy and Malaga raisins!"
"First fried in vinegar; then boiled in batter, and served up with
almonds and raisins!"
"No--no!" Mrs Lascelles repeated the injunction to the frightened
steward; and then returned aft, and re-entered into a conversation with
Pickersgill, in which for the first time, Corbett now joined. Corbett
had sense enough to feel, that the less he came forward until his
superior had established himself in the good graces of the ladies, the
more favourable would be the result.
In the mean time Cecilia had gone down to her aunt, who still continued
to wail and lament. The young lady tried all she could to console her,
and to persuade her that if they were civil and obedient they had
nothing to fear.
"Civil and obedient, indeed!" cried Miss Ossulton, "to a fellow who is a
smuggler and a pirate! I, the sister of Lord B.! Never! The presumption
of the wretch!"
"That is all very well, aunt; but recollect, we must submit to
circumstances. These men insist upon our dining with them; and we must
go, or we shall have no dinner."
"I sit down with a pirate! Never! I'll have no dinner--I'll starve--I'll
"But, my dear aunt, it's the only chance we have of obtaining our
release; and if you do not do it Mrs Lascelles will think that you wish
to remain with them."
"Mrs Lascelles judges of other people by herself."
"The captain is certainly a very well-behaved, handsome man. He looks
like a nobleman in disguise. What an odd thing it would be, aunt, if
this should be all a hoax!"
"A hoax, child?" replied Miss Ossulton, sitting up on the sofa.
Cecilia found that she had hit the right nail, as the saying is; and she
brought forward so many arguments to prove that she thought it was a
hoax to frighten them, and that the gentleman above was a man of
consequence, that her aunt began to listen to reason, and at last
consented to join the dinner-party. Mrs Lascelles now came down below;
and when dinner was announced they repaired to the large cabin, where
they found Pickersgill and Corbett waiting for them.
Miss Ossulton did not venture to look up, until she heard Pickersgill
say to Mrs Lascelles, "Perhaps, madam, you will do me the favour to
introduce me to that lady, whom I have not had the honour of seeing
"Certainly, my lord," replied Mrs Lascelles. "Miss Ossulton, the aunt of
this young lady."
Mrs Lascelles purposely did not introduce _his lordship_ in return, that
she might mystify the old spinster.
"I feel highly honoured in finding myself in the company of Miss
Ossulton," said Pickersgill. "Ladies, we wait but for you to sit down.
Ossulton, take the head of the table and serve the soup."
Miss Ossulton was astonished; she looked at the smugglers, and perceived
two well-dressed gentlemanly men, one of whom was apparently a lord, and
the other having the same family name.
"It must be all a hoax," thought she; and she very quietly took to her
The dinner passed off very pleasantly; Pickersgill was agreeable,
Corbett funny, and Miss Ossulton so far recovered herself as to drink
wine with his lordship, and to ask Corbett what branch of their family
he belonged to.
"I presume it's the Irish branch," said Mrs Lascelles, prompting him.
"Exactly, madam," replied Corbett.
"Have you ever been to Torquay, ladies?" inquired Pickersgill.
"No, my lord," answered Mrs Lascelles.
"We shall anchor there in the course of an hour, and probably remain
there till to-morrow. Steward, bring coffee. Tell the cook these cutlets
were remarkably well dressed."
The ladies retired to the cabin. Miss Ossulton was now convinced that it
was all a hoax; but said she, "I shall tell Lord B. my opinion of their
practical jokes when he returns. What is his lordship's name who is on
"He won't tell us," replied Mrs Lascelles; "but I think I know; it is
"Lord Blaney you mean, I presume," said Miss Ossulton; "however, the
thing is carried too far. Cecilia, we will go on shore at Torquay, and
wait till the yacht returns with Lord B. I don't like these jokes; they
may do very well for widows, and people of no rank."
Now, Mrs Lascelles was sorry to find Miss Ossulton so much at her ease.
She owed her no little spite, and wished for revenge. Ladies will go
very far to obtain this. How far Mrs Lascelles would have gone, I will
not pretend to say; but this is certain, that the last innuendo of Miss
Ossulton very much added to her determination. She took her bonnet and
went on deck, at once told Pickersgill that he could not please her or
Cecilia more than by frightening Miss Ossulton, who, under the idea that
it was all a hoax, had quite recovered her spirits; talked of her pride
and ill-nature, and wished her to receive a useful lesson. Thus, to
follow up her revenge, did Mrs Lascelles commit herself so far, as to be
confidential with the smuggler in return.
"Mrs Lascelles, I shall be able to obey you, and, at the same time, to
combine business with pleasure."
After a short conversation, the yacht dropped her anchor at Torquay. It
was then about two hours before sunset. As soon as the sails were
furled, one or two gentlemen, who resided there, came on board to pay
their respects to Lord B.; and, as Pickersgill had found out from
Cecilia that her father was acquainted with no one there, he received
them in person; asked them down in the cabin; called for wine; and
desired them to send their boat away, as his own was going on shore. The
smugglers took great care, that the steward, cook, and lady's maid,
should have no communication with the guests; one of them, by Corbett's
direction, being a sentinel over each individual. The gentlemen remained
about half-an-hour on board, during which Corbett and the smugglers had
filled the portmanteaus found in the cabin with the lace, and they were
put in the boat. Corbett then landed the gentlemen in the same boat, and
went up to the hotel, the smugglers following him with the portmanteaus,
without any suspicion or interruption. As soon as he was there, he
ordered post-horses, and set off for a town close by, where he had
correspondents; and thus the major part of the cargo was secured.
Corbett then returned in the night, bringing with him people to receive
the goods; and the smugglers landed the silks, teas, &c., with the same
good fortune. Everything was out of the yacht except a portion of the
lace, which the portmanteaus would not hold. Pickersgill might easily
have sent this on shore; but, to please Mrs Lascelles, he arranged
The next morning, about an hour after breakfast was finished, Mrs
Lascelles entered the cabin pretending to be in the greatest
consternation, and fell on the sofa as if she were going to faint.
"Good heavens! what is the matter?" exclaimed Cecilia, who knew very
well what was coming.
"Oh, the wretch! he has made such proposals!"
"Proposals! what proposals? what! Lord Blaney?" cried Miss Ossulton.
"Oh, he's no lord! he's a villain and a smuggler! and he insists that we
shall both fill our pockets full of lace, and go on shore with him."
"Mercy on me! Then it is no hoax after all; and I've been sitting down
to dinner with a smuggler!"
"Sitting down, madam!--if it were to be no more than that--but we are to
take his arm up to the hotel. Oh, dear! Cecilia, I am ordered on deck,
pray come with me!"
Miss Ossulton rolled on the sofa, and rang for Phoebe; she was in a
state of great alarm.
A knock at the door.
"Come in," said Miss Ossulton, thinking it was Phoebe; when Pickersgill
made his appearance.
"What do you want, sir? Go out, sir! go out directly, or I'll scream!"
"It is no use screaming, madam; recollect that all on board are at my
service. You will oblige me by listening to me, Miss Ossulton. I am, as
you know, a smuggler, and I must send this lace on shore. You will
oblige me by putting it into your pockets, or about your person, and
prepare to go on shore with me. As soon as we arrive at the hotel, you
will deliver it to me, and I then shall reconduct you on board of the
yacht. You are not the first lady who has gone on shore with contraband
articles about her person."
"Me, sir! go on shore in that way? No, sir, never! What will the world
say? the Hon. Miss Ossulton walking with a smuggler! No, sir, never!"
"Yes, madam, walking arm-in-arm with a smuggler: I shall have you on one
arm, and Mrs Lascelles on the other; and I would advise you to take it
very quietly; for, in the first place, it will be you who smuggle, as
the goods will be found on your person, and you will certainly be put in
prison, for, at the least appearance of insubordination, we run and
inform against you; and, further, your niece will remain on board as a
hostage for your good behaviour, and if you have any regard for her
liberty, you will consent immediately."
Pickersgill left the cabin, and shortly afterwards Cecilia and Mrs
Lascelles entered, apparently much distressed. They had been informed of
all, and Mrs Lascelles declared, that, for her part, sooner than leave
her poor Cecilia to the mercy of such people, she had made up her mind
to submit to the smuggler's demands. Cecilia also begged so earnestly,
that Miss Ossulton, who had no idea that it was a trick, with much
sobbing and blubbering, consented.
When all was ready, Cecilia left the cabin; Pickersgill came down,
handed up the two ladies, who had not exchanged a word with each other
during Cecilia's absence; the boat was ready alongside--they went in,
and pulled on shore. Everything succeeded to the smuggler's
satisfaction. Miss Ossulton, frightened out of her wits, took his arm;
and, with Mrs Lascelles on the other, they went up to the hotel,
followed by four of his boat's crew. As soon as they were shown into a
room, Corbett, who was already on shore, asked for Lord B., and joined
them. The ladies retired to another apartment, divested themselves of
their contraband goods, and, after calling for some sandwiches and wine,
Pickersgill waited an hour, and then returned on board. Mrs Lascelles
was triumphant; and she rewarded her new ally, the smuggler, with one of
her sweetest smiles. Community of interest will sometimes make strange
We must now return to the other parties who have assisted in the acts of
this little drama. Lord B., after paddling and paddling, the men
relieving each other in order to make head against the wind which was
off shore, arrived about midnight at a small town in West Bay, from
whence he took a chaise on to Portsmouth, taking it for granted that his
yacht would arrive as soon as, if not before himself, little imagining
that it was in possession of the smugglers. There he remained three or
four days, when, becoming impatient, he applied to one of his friends
who had a yacht at Cowes, and sailed with him to look after his own.
We left the _Happy-go-lucky_ chased by the revenue cutter. At first the
smuggler had the advantage before the wind; but, by degrees, the wind
went round with the sun, and brought the revenue cutter to leeward: it
was then a chase on a wind, and the revenue cutter came fast up with
Morrison, perceiving that he had no chance of escape, let run the ankers
of brandy that he might not be condemned; but still he was in an awkward
situation, as he had more men on board than allowed by Act of
Parliament. He therefore stood on, notwithstanding the shot of the
cutter went over and over him, hoping that a fog or night might enable
him to escape; but he had no such good fortune,--one of the shot carried
away the head of his mast, and the _Happy-go-lucky's_ luck was all over.
He was boarded and taken possession of; he asserted that the extra men
were only passengers; but, in the first place, they were dressed in
seamen's clothes; and, in the second, as soon as the boat was aboard of
her, Appleboy had gone down to his gin-toddy, and was not to be
disturbed. The gentlemen smugglers therefore passed an uncomfortable
night; and the cutter going to Portland by daylight before Appleboy was
out of bed, they were taken on shore to the magistrate. Hautaine
explained the whole affair, and they were immediately released and
treated with respect; but they were not permitted to depart until they
were bound over to appear against the smugglers, and prove the brandy
having been on board. They then set off for Portsmouth in the seamen's
clothes, having had quite enough of yachting for that season, Mr
Ossulton declaring that he only wanted to get his luggage, and then he
would take care how he put himself again in the way of the shot of a
revenue cruiser, or of sleeping a night on her decks.
In the mean time Morrison and his men were locked up in the jail, the
old man, as the key was turned on him, exclaiming, as he raised his foot
in vexation, "That cursed blue pigeon!"
We will now return to the yacht.
About an hour after Pickersgill had come on board, Corbett had made all
his arrangements and followed him. It was not advisable to remain at
Torquay any longer, through fear of discovery; he, therefore, weighed
the anchor before dinner, and made sail.
"What do you intend to do now, my lord?" said Mrs Lascelles.
"I intend to run down to Cowes, anchor the yacht in the night; and an
hour before daylight have you in my boat with all my men. I will take
care that you are in perfect safety, depend upon it, even if I run a
risk. I should, indeed, be miserable, if, through my wild freaks, any
accident should happen to Mrs Lascelles or Miss Ossulton."
"I am very anxious about my father," observed Cecilia. "I trust that you
will keep your promise."
"I always have hitherto, Miss Ossulton; have I not?"
"Ours is but a short and strange acquaintance."
"I grant it; but it will serve for you to talk about long after. I shall
disappear as suddenly as I have come--you will neither of you, in all
probability, ever see me again."
The dinner was announced, and they sat down to table as before; but the
elderly spinster refused to make her appearance; and Mrs Lascelles and
Cecilia, who thought she had been frightened enough, did not attempt to
force her. Pickersgill immediately yielded to these remonstrances, and,
from that time she remained undisturbed in the ladies' cabin, meditating
over the indignity of having sat down to table, having drank wine, and
been obliged to walk on shore, taking the arm of a smuggler, and appear
in such a humiliating situation.
The wind was light, and they made but little progress, and were not
abreast of Portland till the second day, when another yacht appeared in
sight, and the two vessels slowly neared until in the afternoon they
were within four miles of each other. It then fell a dead calm--signals
were thrown out by the other yacht, but could not be distinguished, and,
for the last time, they sat down to dinner. Three days' companionship on
board of a vessel, cooped up together, and having no one else to
converse with, will produce intimacy; and Pickersgill was a young man of
so much originality and information, that he was listened to with
pleasure. He never attempted to advance beyond the line of strict
decorum and politeness; and his companion was equally unpresuming.
Situated as they were, and feeling what must have been the case had they
fallen into other hands, both Cecilia and Mrs Lascelles felt some degree
of gratitude towards him; and, although anxious to be relieved from so
strange a position, they had gradually acquired a perfect confidence in
him, and this had produced a degree of familiarity, on their parts,
although never ventured upon by the smuggler. As Corbett was at the
table, one of the men came down and made a sign. Corbett shortly after
quitted the table and went on deck. "I wish, my lord, you would come up
a moment, and see if you can make this flag out," said Corbett, giving a
significant nod to Pickersgill. "Excuse me, ladies, one moment," said
Pickersgill, who went on deck.
"It is the boat of the yacht coming on board," said Corbett; "and Lord
B. is in the stern-sheets with the gentleman who was with him."
"And how many men in the boat?--let me see--only four. Well, let his
lordship and his friend come: when they are on the deck, have the men
ready in case of accident; but if you can manage to tell the boat's crew
that they are to go on board again, and get rid of them that way, so
much the better. Arrange this with Adams, and then come down again--his
lordship must see us all at dinner."
Pickersgill then descended, and Corbett had hardly time to give his
directions and to resume his seat, before his lordship and Mr Stewart
pulled up alongside and jumped on deck. There was no one to receive them
but the seamen, and those whom they did not know. They looked round in
amazement; at last his lordship said to Adams, who stood forward,
"What men are you?"
"Belong to the yacht, ye'r honour."
Lord B. heard laughing in the cabin; he would not wait to interrogate
the men; he walked aft, followed by Mr Stewart, looked down the
skylight, and perceived his daughter and Mrs Lascelles with, as he
supposed, Hautaine and Ossulton.
Pickersgill had heard the boat rub the side, and the sound of the feet
on deck, and he talked the more loudly, that the ladies might be caught
by Lord B. as they were. He heard their feet at the skylight, and knew
that they could hear what passed; and at that moment he proposed to the
ladies that as this was their last meeting at table they should all take
a glass of champagne to drink to "their happy meeting with Lord B." This
was a toast which they did not refuse. Maddox poured out the wine, and
they were all bowing to each other, when his lordship, who had come down
the ladder, walked into the cabin, followed by Mr Stewart. Cecilia
perceived her father; the champagne-glass dropped from her hand--she
flew into his arms, and burst into tears.
"Who would not be a father, Mrs Lascelles?" said Pickersgill, quietly
seating himself, after having first risen to receive Lord B.
"And pray, whom may I have the honour of finding established here?" said
Lord B., in an angry tone, speaking over his daughter's head, who still
lay in his arms. "By heavens, yes?--Stewart, it is the smuggling captain
"Even so, my lord," replied Pickersgill. "You abandoned your yacht to
capture me; you left these ladies in a vessel crippled for want of men;
they might have been lost. I have returned good for evil by coming on
board with my own people, and taking charge of them. This night, I
expected to have anchored your vessel in Cowes, and have left them in
"By the--" cried Stewart.
"Stop, sir, if you please!" cried Pickersgill; "recollect you have once
already attacked one who never offended. Oblige me by refraining from
intemperate language; for I tell you I will not put up with it.
Recollect, sir, that I have refrained from that, and also from taking
advantage of you when you were in my power. Recollect, sir, also, that
the yacht is still in possession of the smugglers, and that you are in
no condition to insult with impunity. My lord, allow me to observe, that
we men are too hot of temperament to argue, or listen coolly. With your
permission, your friend, and my friend, and I, will repair on deck,
leaving you to hear from your daughter and that lady all that has
passed. After that, my lord, I shall be most happy to hear anything
which your lordship may please to say."
"Upon my word--" commenced Mr Stewart.
"Mr Stewart," interrupted Cecilia Ossulton, "I request your silence;
nay, more, if ever we are again to sail in the same vessel together, I
_insist_ upon it."
"Your lordship will oblige me by enforcing Miss Ossulton's request,"
said Mrs Lascelles.
Mr Stewart was dumbfounded, no wonder, to find the ladies siding with
"I am obliged to you ladies for your interference," said Pickersgill;
"for, although I have the means of enforcing conditions, I should be
sorry to avail myself of them. I wait for his lordship's reply."