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vessel, our Captain lowered and manned our jolly boat, and went off to them.
After an absence of some hours, he returned with the passengers, consisting of an elderly person in the garb of a catholic priest, a sick gentleman, a young lady, apparently daughter of the latter, and a female black slave. With the utmost difficulty, and writhing under some excruciating pain, the invalid was got on board, and carried down to the cabin, where he was laid on a bed on the floor. To the tender of my professional services, the invalid returned his thanks, and would have declined them, expressing his conviction of being past human aid; but the young lady, eagerly catching at even a remote hope of success, implored him with tears to accept my offer. On examination, I found his fears were but too well grounded. In his endeavours to assist the crew during the gale, he had been standing near the mast, part of which, or the rigging, having fallen on him, had dislocated several of his ribs, and injured his spine beyond remedy. All that could now be done, was to afford a little temporary aid, which I did; and, leaving him to the care of the young lady and the priest, I left the cabin.
On deck I found all bustle and confusion. The ship was still lying-to, and the boats employed in bringing the goods out of the felucca, both of which were the property of the wounded gentleman. The body of the old man, Gemmel, had been removed somewhere out of sight; no trace of blood was visible, and Captain Mahone seemed desirous to banish all recollections both of our quarrel and its origin.
As the invalid was lying in the cabin, and my state room occupied by the lady and her female attendant, I got a temporary birth in the steerage made up for myself for the night. I had not long thrown myself down on my cot, which was only divided from the maincabin by a bulk-head, when I was awakened by the deep groans of the Spaniard. The violence of his pain had again returned; and between the spasms, I heard the weeping and gentle voice of the lady soothing his agony, and trying to impart hopes, prospects to him, which her own hysterical sobs told plainly she did not herself feel. The priest also frequently joined, and urged him to confess. To this advice, he remained silent for awhile, but at length he addressed the lady: “ The Padre says true, Isabella! Time wears apace, and I feel that I shall soon be beyond its limits, and above its concerns ! But ere I go, I would say that which it would impart peace to my mind to disclose— I would seek to leave you at least one human being to befriend and protect you in your utter helplessness. Alas! that Diego di Montalde's daughter should ever be thus destitute! Go, my love, I would be alone a little while with the father," An agony of
tears and sobs was the only return made by the poor girl, while the priest, with gentle violence, led her into the state-room.
" Now," continued the dying man, “listen to me while I have strength. You have only known me as a merchant in Cuba : but such I have not been always. Mine is an ancient and noble family in Catalonia ; though I unhappily disgraced it, and have been estranged from it long. I had the misfortune to have weak and indulgent parents, who idolized me as the heir of their house, and did not possess resolution enough to thwart me in any of my wishes or desires, however unreasonable. My boyhood being thus spoiled, it is no matter of wonder that my youth should have proved wild and dissolute. My companions were as dissipated as myself, and much of our time was spent in gambling and other extravagances. One evening at play I quarrelled with a young nobleman of high rank and influence; we were both of us hot and passionate, so we drew on the spot and fought, and I had the misfortune to run him through the heart and leave him dead. Not daring to remain longer at home, I fled in disguise to Barcelona, where I procured a passage in a ves sel for the Spanish Main. On our voyage, we were taken by buccanneers; and the roving and venturous mode of life of these bold and daring men suiting both my inclinations and finances, I agreed to make one of their number. For many months we were successful in our enterprises; we ranged the whole of these seas, and made a number of prizes, some of which were rich ships of our own colonies. In course of time, we amassed such a quantity of specie as to make us unwilling to venture it in one bottom; so we agreed to hide it ashore, and divide it on our return from our next expedition. But our good fortune forsook us at this time. During a calm, the boats of the Guarda-costa came on us, overpowered the ship, and made all the crew, except myself and two others, prisoners. We escaped with our boat, and succeeded in gaining the island of Cuba, where both of my comrades died of their wounds. Subsequent events induced me to settle at St Juan de Buenavista, where I married, and as a merchant prospered and became a rich man. But my happiness lasted not ! My wife caught the yellow fever and died, leaving me only this one child. I now loathed the scene of my departed happiness, and felt all the longings of an exile to revisit my native country. For this purpose, I converted all my effects into money; and am thus far on my way to the hidden treasure, with which I intended to return to Spain. But the green hills of Catalonia will never more gladden mine eyes! My hopes and wishes were only for my poor girl. Holy father! you know not a parent's feelings—its anxieties and its fears! The thoughts of leaving my child to the mercy of strangers; or, it may be, to their barbarities, in this lawless country, is far mora dreadful than the anguish of my personal sufferings. With you rests my only hope._Promise me your protection towards her, and the half of all my wealth is yours
“ Earthly treasures,” replied the priest, " avail not with one whose desires are fixed beyond the little handful of dust which perishethmy life is devoted to the service of my Creator; and the conversion of ignorant men, men who have never heard of his salvation. On an errand of mercy came I to this land; and if the heathen receive it, how much more a daughter of our most holy church? I therefore, in behalf of our community, accept of your offer, and swear on this blessed emblem to fulfil all your wishes to the best of my poor abilities,”
“ Enough, enough!” said Montaldo, “ I am satisfied! Among that archipelago of desert islands, known by the name of the Roccas, situated on the coast of the province of Venezuela, in New Granada, there is one called the Wolf-rock : it is the longest and most northern of the group, and lies the most to seaward. At the eastern point, which runs a little way into the sea, there stands an old vanilla, blasted and withered, and retaining but a single solitary branch. On the eve of the festival of St Jago, the moon will be at her full in the west. At twenty minutes past midnight she will attain to her highest altitude in the heavens, and then the shadow of the tree will be thrown due east. Watch till the branch and stem unite and form only one line of shademark its extremity—for there, ten feet below the surface, the cask containing the gold is buried. That gold, father, was sinfully got; but fasts and penances have been done, masses without number have been said, and I trust that the blessed Virgin has interceded for the forgiveness of that great wickedness? I have now confessed all, and confide in your promise; and as you perform your oath, so will the blessing or curse of a dying man abide with you. I feel faint, dying-Oh! let me clasp my child once more to my heart before I "
Here the rest of the sentence became indistinct from the deathrattle in his throat. I leaped off my cot, and sprang up the hatchway, and had my foot on the top of the companion-ladder, when a piercing shriek from below making me quicken my steps, I missed my hold, and fell on some person stationed on the outside of the cabin door. The person, without uttering a single word, rose and ascended the steps; but as he emerged into the faint light which still lingered in the horizon, I fancied that I could distinguish him to be the Captain. On my entering I found the Spaniard dead, and his daughter lying in a state of insensibility by his side ; while the female slave was howling and tearing her hair like one in a frenzy. The priest was entirely absorbed in his devotions; so without disturb
ing him, I lifted the lady and bore her into the state-room. The greater part of the night was passed in trying to restore her to sensation. Fit after fit followed each other in such quick succession that I began to apprehend the result; but at length the hysterical paroxysm subsided, and tears coming to her relief, she became somewhat composed, when I left her in charge of her attendant.
The next day was spent in taking out the remainder of the felucca's cargo. There seemed now no anxiety on the Captain's part to proceed on his voyage—he appeared to have forgot the necessity, expressed on a former occasion, of being in port within a limited time. He was often in a state of inebriety; for the wine and spirits of the Spaniards were lavishly served out to the whole ship's company, with whom he also mixed more; and banished that haughtiness of bearing which had marked his conduct hitherto.
In the evening the body of Don Diego was brought upon deck, where his crew, under the superintendence of the priest, prepared it for its commitment to the deep. The corpse was, as is usual in such cases, wrapped up in the blankets and sheets in which it had lain, and a white napkin was tied over the face and head. In its right hand, which was crossed over the breast, was placed a gold doubloon. Its left held a small bag containing a book, a hammer, and a candle, while on the bosom was laid the little crucifix worn by the deceased. It was next enveloped in a hammock, with a couple of eight-pound shots, and a bag of ballast at the feet to sink it—the hammock was then carefully and closely sewed up, and the whole operation finished by leaving the sailneedle thrust transversely through the nose. At midnight the vessel was hove-to, and all the ship's company assembled at the lee gangway. The Spaniards and negroes bore each a burning torch in his hand; the blaze of which, as they held them elevated above their heads, cast a strange and fearful light through the deep darkness, and illumined the ocean far and wide with a supernatural refulgency. When all was ready, the priest, accompanied by Isabellit, came up from the cabin, and the Spaniards lifting up the body carried it forward to the waist, where one of the ship’s gratings had been put projecting over the side, and on this the corpse was laid, with its feet to the water. Around this the torch-bearers formed a circle, and the priest, standing at the head, began the funeral service for the dead at sea. The wind had now subsided into a gentle breeze; and nothing disturbed the profound silence of the crew during mass, save the slight splashing of the waves against the windward side of the ship, and the deep-drawn, convulsive sobs of the young lady as she stood enveloped in her mantillo, in the obscurity of the main rigging. Mass being concluded, the priest solemnly chanted the fun
eral anthem :-"May the angels conduct thee into Paradise ; may the martyrs receive thee at thy coming ; and mayest thou have eternal rest with Lazarus, who was formerly poor!” He then sprinkled the body with holy water, and continued ;%" as it hath pleased God to take the soul of our dear brother here departed unto himself, we, therefore, commit his body to the deep, in the sure and certain hope of a joyful resurrection on that day when the sea shall give up its dead. Let him rest in peace!" The Spaniards responded " Amen!" and the priest repeating, “ May his soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peaceAmen!" made the sign of the cross; and the bow-chaser, which had been loaded and made ready for the occasion, firing, the end of the grating was gently elevated, and the corpse heavily plunged into the water. The waves parted heaving and foaming round the body as it disappeared,—when to our horror and astonishment we beheld it, the next minute, slowly return to the surface, deprived of the canvas covering in which it had been sewed. The dead man came up as he had gone down, in an upright position, and floated a little time with his back to the vessel ; but the motion of the water turned him round by degrees till we distinctly saw his face. The head was thrown back, and the eyes wide open; and under the strong stream of light poured on them from the torches, they seemed to glare ghastly and fearfully upwards. His gray hairs, long and dishevelled, floated about his face, at times partially obscuring it; and one arm, stretched forth, and agitated by the action of the waves, appeared as if in the act of threatening us. When the first burst of horror had subsided, I caught hold of Isabella to prevent her seeing the body, and was leading her off, when some of the men, lowering their torches from the main-chains, whispered that it was the murdered man, old James Gemmel. The Captain had been hitherto looking on with the rest without having apparently recognized him; but when the name struck his ear, he shrank back and involuntarily exclaimed, “ It's a liexit's an infamous lie! Who dares to say he was murdered ? He went overboard two days ago.
But don't let him on board : for God's sake keep him down, or he'll take us with him to the bottom. Will nobody keep him down ? Will nobody shove him off? Helma-lee!” he bawled out, waving the steersman; but the man had deserted his post, eager to see what was going on; he, therefore, ran to the wheel himself, and again issued his commands, “Let go the main top-sail weather-braces, and bring round the yard ! Let them go, I say?" His orders were speedily executed. The vessel gathered way and we quickly shot past the body of the old man.
For several days after this, we pursued our course with a favourable wind which drove us swiftly forward on our voyage. The cap