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Peter Simple and The Three Cutters, Vol. 1 by Captain Frederick Marryat

Part 12 out of 12

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Lord B. was very much surprised. He wished for an explanation; he bowed
with _hauteur_. Everybody appeared to be in a false position; even he,
Lord B., somehow or another had bowed to a smuggler.

Pickersgill and Stewart went on deck, walking up and down, crossing each
other without speaking, but reminding you of two dogs who both are
anxious to fight, but have been restrained by the voice of their
masters. Corbett followed, and talked in a low tone to Pickersgill;
Stewart went over to leeward to see if the boat was still alongside, but
it had long before returned to the yacht. Miss Ossulton had heard her
brother's voice, but did not come out of the after-cabin; she wished to
be magnificent and, at the same time, she was not sure whether all was
right, Phoebe having informed her that there was nobody with her brother
and Mr Stewart, and that the smugglers still had the command of the
vessel. After a while, Pickersgill and Corbett went down forward, and
returned dressed in the smuggler's clothes, when they resumed their walk
on the deck.

In the mean time, it was dark; the cutter flew along the coast; and the
Needles' lights were on the larboard bow. The conversation between
Cecilia, Mrs Lascelles, and her father, was long. When all had been
detailed, and the conduct of Pickersgill duly represented, Lord B.
acknowledged that, by attacking the smuggler, he had laid himself open
to retaliation; that Pickersgill had shown a great deal of forbearance
in every instance; and, after all, had he not gone on board the yacht
she might have been lost, with only three seamen on board. He was amused
with the smuggling and the fright of his sister; still more with the
gentlemen being sent to Cherbourg, and much consoled that he was not the
only one to be laughed at. He was also much pleased with Pickersgill's
intention of leaving the yacht safe in Cowes harbour, his respect to the
property on board, and his conduct to the ladies. On the whole, he felt
grateful to Pickersgill; and where there is gratitude there is always
good will.

"But who can he be?" said Mrs Lascelles; "his name he acknowledges not
to be Pickersgill; and he told me confidentially that he was of good
family."

"Confidentially, my dear Mrs Lascelles!" said Lord B.

"Oh, yes! we are both his confidants. Are we not, Cecilia?"

"Upon my honour, Mrs Lascelles, this smuggler appears to have made an
impression which many have attempted in vain."

Mrs Lascelles did not reply to that remark, but said, "Now, my lord, you
must decide--and I trust you will to oblige us--treat him as he has
treated us, with the greatest respect and kindness."

"Why should you suppose otherwise?" replied Lord B.; "it is not only my
wish but my interest so to do. He may take us over to France to-night,
or anywhere else. Has he not possession of the vessel?"

"Yes," replied Cecilia; "but we flatter ourselves that we have _the
command_. Shall we call him down, papa?"

"Ring for Maddox. Maddox, tell Mr Pickersgill, who is on deck, that I
wish to speak with him, and shall be obliged by his stepping down into
the cabin."

"Who, my lord? What? _Him_?"

"Yes, _him_," replied Cecilia, laughing.

"Must I call him, my lord, now, miss?"

"You may do as you please, Maddox; but recollect, he is still in
possession of the vessel," replied Cecilia.

"Then, with your lordship's permission, I will; it's the safest way."

The smuggler entered the cabin; the ladies started as he appeared in his
rough costume, with his throat open, and his loose black handkerchief.
He was the _beau ideal_ of a handsome sailor.

"Your lordship wishes to communicate with me?"

"Mr Pickersgill, I feel that you have had cause of enmity against me,
and that you have behaved with forbearance. I thank you for your
considerate treatment of the ladies; and I assure you, that I feel no
resentment for what has passed."

"My lord, I am quite satisfied with what you have said; and I only hope
that, in future, you will not interfere with a poor smuggler, who may be
striving, by a life of danger and privation, to procure subsistence for
himself and, perhaps, his family. I stated to these ladies my intention
of anchoring the yacht this night at Cowes, and leaving her as soon as
she was in safety. Your unexpected presence will only make this
difference, which is, that I must previously obtain your lordship's
assurance that those with you will allow me and my men to quit her
without molestation, after we have performed this service."

"I pledge you my word, Mr Pickersgill, and I thank you into the bargain.
I trust you will allow me to offer some remuneration."

"Most certainly not, my lord."

"At all events, Mr Pickersgill, if, at any other time, I can be of
service, you may command me."

Pickersgill made no reply.

"Surely, Mr Pickersgill,--"

"Pickersgill! how I hate that name!" said the smuggler, musing. "I beg
your lordship's pardon--if I may require your assistance for any of my
unfortunate companions--"

"Not for yourself, Mr Pickersgill?" said Mrs Lascelles.

"Madam, I smuggle no more."

"For the pleasure I feel in hearing that resolution, Mr Pickersgill,"
said Cecilia, "take my hand and thanks."

"And mine," said Mrs Lascelles, half crying.

"And mine, too," said Lord B., rising up.

Pickersgill passed the back of his hand across his eyes, turned round,
and left the cabin.

"I'm so happy!" said Mrs Lascelles, bursting into tears.

"He's a magnificent fellow," observed Lord B. "Come, let us all go on
deck."

"You have not seen my aunt, papa."

"True; I'll go in to her, and then follow you."

The ladies went upon deck. Cecilia entered into conversation with Mr
Stewart, giving him a narrative of what had happened. Mrs Lascelles sat
abaft at the taffrail, with her pretty hand supporting her cheek,
looking very much _a la Juliette_.

"Mrs Lascelles," said Pickersgill, "before we part, allow me to observe,
that it is _you_ who have induced me to give up my profession--"

"Why me, Mr Pickersgill?"

"You said that you did not like it."

Mrs Lascelles felt the force of the compliment. "You said, just now,
that you hated the name of Pickersgill: why do you call yourself so?"

"It was my smuggling name, Mrs Lascelles."

"And now, that you have left off smuggling, pray what may be the name we
are to call you by?"

"I cannot resume it till I have not only left this vessel, but shaken
hands with, and bid farewell to, my companions; and by that time, Mrs
Lascelles, I shall be away from you."

"But I've a great curiosity to know it, and a lady's curiosity must be
gratified. You must call upon me some day, and tell it me. Here is my
address."

Pickersgill received the card with a low bow: and Lord B. coming on
deck, Mrs Lascelles hastened to meet him.

The vessel was now passing the Bridge at the Needles, and the smuggler
piloted her on. As soon as they were clear and well inside, the whole
party went down into the cabin, Lord B. requesting Pickersgill and
Corbett to join him in a parting glass. Mr Stewart, who had received the
account of what had passed from Cecilia, was very attentive to
Pickersgill, and took an opportunity of saying, that he was sorry that
he had said or done anything to annoy him. Every one recovered his
spirits; and all was good humour and mirth, because Miss Ossulton
adhered to her resolution of not quitting the cabin till she could quit
the yacht. At ten o'clock the yacht was anchored. Pickersgill took his
leave of the honourable company, and went in his boat with his men; and
Lord B. was again in possession of his vessel, although he had not a
ship's company. Maddox recovered his usual tone; and the cook flourished
his knife, swearing that he should like to see the smuggler who would
again order him to dress cutlets _a l'ombre Chinoise_.

The yacht had remained three days at Cowes, when Lord B. received a
letter from Pickersgill, stating that the men of his vessel had been
captured, and would be condemned, in consequence of their having the
gentlemen on board, who were bound to appear against them, to prove that
they had sunk the brandy. Lord B. paid all the recognisances, and the
men were liberated for want of evidence.

It was about two years after this that Cecilia Ossulton, who was sitting
at her work-table in deep mourning for her aunt, was presented with a
letter by the butler. It was from her friend Mrs Lascelles, informing
her that she was married again to a Mr Davenant, and intended to pay her
a short visit on her way to the Continent. Mr and Mrs Davenant arrived
the next day; and when the latter introduced her husband, she said to
Miss Ossulton, "Look, Cecilia, dear, and tell me if you have ever seen
Davenant before."

Cecilia looked earnestly: "I have, indeed," cried she at last, extending
her hand with warmth; "and happy am I to meet with him again."

For in Mr Davenant she recognised her old acquaintance, the captain of
the _Happy-go-lucky_, Jack Pickersgill, the smuggler.

THE END.

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