Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

. Most folks does that, when they ought to turn ends ’totherwise.' Bill Brown of Grimsby could see how things were going, though his power to aid was restricted by a double turn of rope around him; but a kind hand had given him a pipe, and his manner was to take things easily. Commander, or captain, or whatever you be, with your king's clothes, constructing a hole in they flints, never you fear, sir. 'Tis medical water; and your own wife wouldn't know you to-morrow. Your complexion will be like a hangel's.'

You d-drogue,' cried Nettlebones, striding up, with his sword flashing in the link-lights, if ever I had a mind to cut any man down

"Well, sir, do it then upon a roped man, if the honour of the British navy calleth for it. My will is made, and my widow will have action; and the executioner of my will is a Grimsby man, with a pile of money made in the line of salt fish, and such like.'

• Brown, you are a brave man. I would scorn to harm you. Now, upon your honour, are all your puncheons filled with that stuff, and nothing else ? '

• Upon my word of honour, sir, they are. Some a little weaker, some with more bilge-water in it, or a trifle of a dash from the midden. The main of it, however, in the very same condition as a' bubbleth out of what they call the spawses. Why, captain, you must a' lived long enough to know, partikkler if gifted with a family, that no sort of spirit as were ever stilled will fetch so much money by the gallon, duty paid, as the doctor's stuff doth by the phial bottle.'

That is true enough ; but no lies, Brown, particularly when upon your honour! If you were importing doctor's stuff, why did you lead us such a dance, and stand fire ?'

« Well, your honour, you must promise not to be offended, if I tell you of a little mistake we made. We heared a sight of talk about some pirate-craft as hoisteth his Majesty's flag upon their villainy. And when first you come up, in the dust of the night

• You are the most impudent rogue I ever saw. Show your bills of lading, sir. You know his Majesty's revenue cruisers as well as I know your smuggling tub.'

Ship’s papers are aboard of her, all correct, sir. Keys at your service, if you please to feel my pocket, objecting to let my hands loose.'

* Very well, I must go on board of her, and test a few of your puncheons and bales, Master Brown. Locker in the master's own cabin, I suppose ? '

Yes, sir, plain as can be on the starboard side just behind the cabin-door. Only your honour must be smart about it; the timefuse can't a' got three inches left.'

• Time-fuse? What do you mean, you Grimsby villain ?'

[graphic]
[ocr errors]

we were compelled to beach the old craft for fear of them scoundrelly pirates, it came into my head what a pity it would be to have her used illegal; for she do outsail a'most everything, as your honour can bear witness. So I just laid a half-hour fuse to three big powder-barrels as is down there in the hold; and I expect to see a blow-up almost every moment. But your honour might be in time yet, with a run, and good luck to your foot, you might

Back, lads, back every one of you this moment!' The first concern of Nettlebones was rightly for his men. • Under the cliff here! Keep well back. Push out those smuggler fellows into the middle. Let them have the benefit of their own inventions, and this impudent Brown the foremost. They have laid a train to their powder-barrels, and the lugger will blow up any moment.

No fear for me, commander, Bill Brown shouted through the hurry and jostle of a hundred runaways. “More fear for that poor man as lieth there a-lurching. She won't hit me when she bloweth up, no more than your honour could. But surely your duty demandeth of you to board the old bilander, and take samples.'

• Sample enough of you, my friend. But I haven't quite done with you yet. Simpson, here, bear a hand with poor Lieutenant Donovan.'

Nettlebones set a good example by lifting the prostrate Irishman; and they bore him into safety, and drew up there ; while the beachmen, forbidden the shelter at point of cutlass, made off right and left; and then with a crash, that shook the strand and drove back the water in a white turmoil, the Crown of Gold' flew into a fount of timbers, splinters, shreds, smoke, fire, and dust.

Gentlemen, you may come out of your holes,' the Grimsby man shouted from his mooring-post, as the echoes ran along the cliffs, and rolled to and fro in the distance. My old woman will miss a piece of my pigtail, but she hathn't hurt her old skipper else. She blowed up handsome, and no mistake! No more danger, gentlemen, and plenty of stuff to pick up afore next pay-day.'

• What shall we do with that insolent hound ? Nettlebones asked poor Donovan, who was groaning in slow convalescence.

. We have caught him in nothing. We cannot commit him; we cannot even duck him legally.'

Be jabers, let him drink his health in his own potheen.'

Capital! Bravo for old Ireland, my friend! You shall see it done and handsomely. Brown, you recommend these waters; so you shall have a dose of them.'

A piece of old truncate kelp was found, as good a drinking-horn as need be; and with this Captain Brown was forced to swallow half a bucketful of his own medical water;' and they left him fast at his moorings, to reflect upon this form of importation.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

· Most folks does that, when they ought to turn ends 'totherwise.' Bill Brown of Grimsby could see how things were going, though his power to aid was restricted by a double turn of rope around him; but a kind hand had given him a pipe, and his manner was to take things easily. Commander, or captain, or whatever you be, with your king's clothes, constructing a hole in they flints, never you fear, sir. 'Tis medical water; and your own wife wouldn't know you to-morrow. Your complexion will be like a hangel's.'

• You d-drogue, cried Nettlebones, striding up, with his sword flashing in the link-lights, 'if ever I had a mind to cut any man down

Well, sir, do it then upon a roped man, if the honour of the British navy calleth for it. My will is made, and my widow will have action; and the executioner of my will is a Grimsby man, with a pile of money made in the line of salt fish, and such like.'

Brown, you are a brave man. I would scorn to harm you. Now, upon your honour, are all your puncheons filled with that stuff and nothing else ? '

. Upon my word of honour, sir, they are. Some a little weaker, some with more bilge-water in it, or a trifle of a dash from the midden. The main of it, however, in the very same condition as a' bubbleth out of what they call the spawses. Why, captain, you must a' lived long enough to know, partikkler if gifted with a family, that no sort of spirit as were ever stilled will fetch so much money by the gallon, duty paid, as the doctor's stuff doth by the phial bottle.'

That is true enough ; but no lies, Brown, particularly when upon your honour! If you were importing doctor's stuff, why did you lead us such a dance, and stand fire ?'

*Well, your honour, you must promise not to be offended, if I tell you of a little mistake we made. We heared a sight of talk about some pirate-craft as hoisteth his Majesty's flag upon their villainy. And when first you come up, in the dusk of the

[ocr errors]

night

[ocr errors]

• You are the most impudent rogue I ever saw. Show your bills of lading, sir. You know his Majesty's revenue cruisers as well as I know your smuggling tub.'

Ship's papers are aboard of her, all correct, sir. Keys at your service, if you please to feel my pocket, objecting to let my hands loose.

• Very well, I must go on board of her, and test a few of your puncheons and bales, Master Brown. Locker in the master's own cabin, I suppose ?'

• Yes, sir, plain as can be on the starboard side just behind the cabin-door. Only your honour must be smart about it; the timefuse can't a' got three inches left.'

• Time-fuse? What do you mean, you Grimsby villain ?'

we were compelled to beach the old craft for fear of them scoundrelly pirates, it came into my head what a pity it would be to have her used illegal; for she do outsail a'most everything, as your honour can bear witness. So I just laid a half-hour fuse to three big powder-barrels as is down there in the hold; and I expect to see a blow-up almost every moment. But your honour might be in time yet, with a run, and good luck to your foot, you might

* Back, lads, back every one of you this moment!' The first concern of Nettlebones was rightly for his men. Under the cliff here! Keep well back. Push out those smuggler fellows into the middle. Let them have the benefit of their own inventions, and this impudent Brown the foremost. They have laid a train to their powder-barrels, and the lugger will blow up any moment.'

'No fear for me, commander, Bill Brown shouted through the hurry and jostle of a hundred runaways. More fear for that poor man as lieth there a-lurching. She won't hit me when she bloweth up, no more than your honour could. But surely your duty demandeth of you to board the old bilander, and take samples.'

• Sample enough of you, my friend. But I haven't quite done with you yet. Simpson, here, bear a hand with poor Lieutenant Donovan.

Nettlebones set a good example by lifting the prostrate Irishman; and they bore him into safety, and drew up there ; while the beachmen, forbidden the shelter at point of cutlass, made off right and left; and then with a crash, that shook the strand and drove back the water in a white turmoil, the Crown of Gold' flew into a fount of timbers, splinters, shreds, smoke, fire, and dust.

. Gentlemen, you may come out of your holes,' the Grimsby man shouted from his mooring-post, as the echoes ran along the cliffs, and rolled to and fro in the distance. • My old woman will miss a piece of my pigtail, but she hathn't hurt her old skipper else. She blowed up handsome, and no mistake! No more danger, gentlemen, and plenty of stuff to pick up afore next pay-day.'

• What shall we do with that insolent hound ?' Nettlebones asked poor Donovan, who was groaning in slow convalescence. “We have caught him in nothing. We cannot commit him ; we cannot even duck him legally.'

• Be jabers, let him drink his health in his own potheen.'

Capital! Bravo for old Ireland, my friend! You shall see it done and handsomely. Brown, you recommend these waters; so you shall have a dose of them.'

A piece of old truncate kelp was found, as good a drinking-horn as need be; and with this Captain Brown was forced to swallow half a hucketful of his own medical water;' and they left him fast

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

CHAPTER XXXIII.

6

BEARDED IN HIS DEX. • What do you think of it by this time, Bowler ?' Commander Nettlebones asked his second, who had been left in command afloat, and to whom they rowed back in a wrathful mood, with a good deal of impression that the fault was his : “You have been taking it easily out here. What do

you

think of the whole of it?' “I have simply obeyed your orders, sir; and if I am to be blamed for that, I had better offer no opinion.'

“No, no, I am finding no fault with you. Don't be so tetchy, Bowler. I seek your opinion, and you are bound to give it.'

Well, then, sir, my opinion is that they have made fools of the lot of us, excepting, of course, my superior officer.'

You think so, Bowler ? Well, and so do I-and myself the biggest fool of any. They have charged our centre with a dummy cargo, while they run the real stuff far on either flank. Is that your opinion?'

“To a nicety, that is my opinion, now that you put it so clearly, sir.'

The trick is a clumsy one, and never should succeed. Carroway ought to catch one lot, if he has a haporth of sense in him. What is the time now; and how is the wind ?'

I hear a church clock striking twelve; and by the moon it niust be that. The wind is still from the shore, but veering, and I felt a flaw from the east just now.'

• If the wind works round, our turn will come. Is Donovan fit for duty yet?'

Ten times fit, sir—to use his own expression. He is burning to have at somebody. His eyes work about like the binnacle's card.'

* Then board him, and order him to make all sail for Burlington, and see what old Carroway is up to. You be off for Whitby, and as far as Teesmouth, looking into every cove you pass.

I shall stand off and on from this to Scarborough, and as far as Filey. Short measures, mind, if you come across them! If I nab that fellow Lyth, I shall go near to hanging him as a felon-outlaw. His trick is a little too outrageous.'

"No fear, commander. If it is as we suppose, it is high time to make a strong example.'

Hours had been lost, as the captains of the cruisers knew too well by this time. Robin Lyth's stratagem had duped them all, while the contraband cargoes might be landed safely, at either extremity of their beat. By the aid of the fishing-boats, he had learned their manœuvres clearly, and outmanæuvred them.

Now, it would have been better for him, perhaps, to have been content with a lesser triumph, and to run his own schooner, the

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« НазадПродовжити »