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to debate in his own mind, whether he should flog Jemmy in harbour,
ne had sailed ; and feeling that if there was any serious disrbance on the part of the men, they might quit the vessel if in
he decided that he would wait until he had them in blue
His thoughts then reverted to the widow, and, as he turned and turned again, he clenched his fists in his great coat pockets, and was heard by those near him to grind his teeth.
ne mean time, the news had bcen imparted by the marine, who
up into the galley for more warm water, that the dog had had one is eyes put out, and it was strange the satisfaction which this inelligence appeared to give to the ship's company. It was passed round like wildfire, and, when communicated, a beam of pleasure was
apparent throughout the whole cutter, and for this simple reason,
the accident removed the fear arising from the supposition of the hos being supernatural, for the men argued, and with some reason, at if you could put out his eve, you could kill him altogether ; for
could destroy a part, you could destroy the whole. No one
heard of the devil's eye being put out-ergo, the dog could not be a devil, or one of his imps: so argued a knot of the men in conclave, and Jansen wound up by observing, “ Dat de tog was only a tog after all.”
Vanslyperken returned to his cabin and stated his intentions to his rac totum and confidant, Corporal Van Spitter. Now, in this instance, the corporal did not adhere to that secrecy to which he was bound, and the only reason we can give is, that he had as great a dislike to Jemmy Ducks as his lieutenant--for the corporal obeyed orders 80 exactly, that he considered it his duty not to have even an opinion or a feeling contrary to those of his superior officer. He was delighted at the idea of flogging Jemmy, and communicated the lieutenant's in. tention to the most favoured of his marines, who also told the secret to another, and thus in five minutes, it was known throughout the cutter, that as soon as they were in blue water, the little boatswain was to be tied up for having damned the admiral in a snow storm. The consequence was, as the evening was clear, that there was a very no. merous assemblage upon the forecastle of the cutter Yungfrau.
“Flog Jemmy," said Bill Spurey. « Why, Jemmy's a hofficer."
"To be sure he is," observed another ; " and quite as good a on as Vanslyperken himself, though he don't wear brass on his hat.”
“D-n it-what next-heh, Coble?”
Coble hitched up his trowsers. “It's my opinion he'll be for A. ging us next, Short,” said the old man.
“Yes,” replied Short.
“ If it warn't for them ere marines, and the lumpy beggar of poral,” observed one of the seamen.
« Pish,” quoth Jemmy, who was standing among them.
“ But Jemmy can't stand against the fat corporal and the six marines,” observed Bill Spurey.
“One up and t'other down, I'll take them all,” observed Jemmy, expanding his chest.
“ Yes, but they'll all be down upon you at once, Jemmy.”
“ If they lays their hands upon an officer,” observed Coble, “it will be mutiny; and then Jemmy calls in the ship's company to protect him,” said Coble.
“ Exactly," observed Jemmy. “ And den, mein Gott, I zettle for de corporal,” observed Jansen. “I'll play him a trick yet.”
“ But now, it's no use palavering,” observed Spurey : “ let's come to some settlement. Obadiah, give us your opinion as to what's best to be done."
Hereupon Coble squirted out a modicum of 'baccy juice, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and said, “ It's my opinion, that the best way of getting one man out of a scrape, is to get all the rest in it. Jemmy, d’ye see, is to be hauled up, for singing an old song, in which a wench very properly damns the admiral for sending a ship out on a Christmas Day, which, let alone the unchristian-like act, as you may know, my lads, always turns up on a Friday, a day on which nothing but being blown out from your anchors can warrant any vessel sailing on. Now, d’ye see, it may be mutiny to damn a live admiral, with his flag hoisted—I won't say but what it is—but this here admiral as Jemmy damned, is no more alive than a stock fish ; and, moreover, it is not Jemmy as damns him, but Poll; therefore it can be no mutiny. Now, what I consider best is this, if so be it be against the articles--well, then, let's all be in for it together, and then Vanslyperken will be puzzled, and, moreover, it will give him a hint how matters stand, and he may think better of it; for although we must not have Jemmy touched, still it's quite as well not to have a regular breeze with the jollies; for if so be that the Scarborough, or any other king's ship, be in port when we arrive, Vanslyperken may run under the guns, and then whip the whole boiling of us off to the Ingies, and glad to get us, too, and that's no joke. Now, that's my idea of the matter.”
“ Well, but you've not told us how we are all to get into it, Coble."
“ More I have—well, that's funny; left out the whole burden of my song. Why, I consider that we had better now directly sing the song over again, all in chorus, and then we shall have damned the admiral a dozen times over ; and Vanslyperken will hear us, and say to himself, • They don't sing that song for nothing. What do you say, Dick Short, you're first hofficer ?”.
“ Yes," replied Short.
“Hurrah, my lads, then,” cried Bill Spurey; “now then, strike up, Jemmy, and let us give it lots of mouth."
The song which our readers have already heard from the lips of Jemmy Ducks, was then sung by the whole of the men, con animo e strepito, and two verses had been roared out, when Corporal Van Spitter in great agitation presented himself at the cabin-door, where he found Mr. Vanslyperken very busy summing up his accounts.
“ Mein Gott, sar! dere is de mutiny in de Yungfrau,” cried the corporal.
“Mutiny,” cried Vanslyperken, catching at his sword, which hung up on the bulkhead. “ Yaw, mynbeer-de mutiny-hear now de ship's company."
Vanslyperken lent his ears, when the astounding chorus came rolling aft through the door of the cabin.
“ I'll give you a bit of my mind, old Hunks,
Port admiral-you be d- d.” “ Bow, wow, wow," barked Snarleyyow. “ Why, it's the whole ship's company!" cried Vanslyperken.
“ All but de Corporal Vanspitter, and de six marines,” replied the corporal, raising his hand up to his head à la militaire.
* Shut the door, corporal. This is indeed mutiny and defiance," cried Vanslyperken, jumping up from his chair.
“ It is von tyfel of a song,” replied the corporal.
“I must find out the ringleaders, corporal; do you think that you could contrive to overhear what they say after the song is over; they will be consulting together, and we might find out something."
“ Mynheer, I'm not very small for to creep in and listen,” replied the corporal, casting his eyes down upon his huge carcase.
" Are they all forward ?” inquired the lieutenant. “ Yes, mynheer-not one soul baft.”
“ There is the small boat astern ; do you think you could get softly into it, haul it up to the bows, and lie there quite still ? You would then hear what they said, without their thinking of it, now that it is dark?"
“I will try, mynheer,” replied the corporal, who quitted the cabin.
But there were others who condescended to listen as well as the corporal, and in this instance, every word which had passed, had been overheard by Smallbones, who had been for some hours out of his hammock. When the corporal's hand touched the lock of the door, Smallbones made a hasty retreat.
Corporal Van Spitter went on the quarter-deck, which he found vacant; he hauled up the boat to the counter, and by degrees lowered into it his unwieldy carcase, which almost swamped the little conveyance. He then waited a little, and with difficulty forced the boat up against the strong flood tide that was running, till at last he gained the chesstree of the cutter, when he shortened in the painter, (or rope that held the boat,) made it fast to a ring-bolt without being perceived, and there he lay concealed, not daring to move, for fear of making a noise.
Smallbones had, however, watched him carefully, and as the corporal sat in the middle thwart, with his face turned aft, catching but imperfectly the conversation of the men, the lad separated the painter wit!: a sharp knife, and at the same time dropping his foot down, gave the bow of the boat a shove off, which made it round with the stream. The tide was then running five or six miles an hour, and before the corporal, in the utter darkness, could make out what had occurred, or raise his heavy carcase to assist him, he was whirled
away by the current clear of the vessel, and soon disappeared from the sight of Smallbones, who was watching his progress.
It is true that the corporal shouted for assistance when he found himself astern, and also that he was heard by the men, but Smalloones had leaped among them, and in a few words told them what he had done, so, of course, they took no notice, but rubbed their hands with delight at the idea of the corporal being adrift like a bear in a washing-tub, and they all prayed for a gale of wind to come on that he might be swamped, and most of them remained on deck to hear what Mr. Vanslyperken would say and do when the corporal's absence was discovered. Mr. Vanslyperken remained nearly two hours without sending for the corporal ; at last, surprised at not seeing him return, he went on deck. The men on the forecastle perceiving this, immediately disappeared gently down the fore-hatchway. Mr. Vanslyperken walked forward and found that every one was, as he supposed, either in bed or below, for in harbour the corporal kept one of the watches, and this night it was his first watch. "Vanslyperken looked over the side all round the cutter, and could see no boat and no Corporal Vanspitter, and it immediately occurred to him that the corporal must have gone adrift, and he was very much puzzled how to act. It would be flood tide for two hours more, and then the whole ebb would run before it was daylight. Corporal Vanspitter would traverse the whole Zuyder Zee before they might find him. Unless he had the fortune to be picked up by some small craft, he might perish with cold and hunger. He could not sail without him ; for what could he do without Corporal Vanspitter, his protection, his factotum, his distributer of provisions, &c. The loss was irreparable, and Mr. Vanslyperken, when he thought of the loss of the widow's favour and the loss of his favourite, acknowledged with bitterness that his star was not in the ascendant. After some reflection, Mr. Vanslyperken thought that as nothing could be gained by making the fact known, the wisest thing that he could do was to go to bed and say nothing about it, leaving the whole of the ulterior proceedings until the loss of the boat should be reported to him in the morning. Having arranged this in his mind, Mr. Vanslyperken took two or three turns more, and then went down and turned in.
CHAPTER XIV. In which some new characters appear on the stage, although the Corporal is not to
be heard of. The loss of the boat was reported by Obadiah Coble at daylight, and Mr. Vanslyperken immediately went on deck with his spy-glass to ascertain if he could distinguish the corporal coming down with the last of the ebb-tide, but he was nowhere to be seen. Mr. Vanslyperken went to the mast-head and surveyed in every direction, but he could neither see anything like the boat or Corporal Vanspitter. His anxiety betrayed to the men that he was a party to the corporal's proceedings, and they whispered among themselves. At last Mr. Vanslyperken came down on deck, and desired Corporal Vanspitter to be sent to him. Of course, it was soon reported to him that Corporal Vanspitter was nowhere to be found, and Mr. Vanslyperken pretended to be much astonished. As the lieutenant took it for granted that the boat had been swept out with the ebb, he determined to get under weigh in pursuance of his orders, pick up the corporal if he could find him, and then proceed to Portsmouth, which was the port of his destination. Smallbones attended his master, and was so unusually active that the suspicious Mr. Vanslyperken immediately decided that he had had a finger in the business; but he took no notice, resolving in his own mind that Smallbones should some day or another be adrift himself as the corporal was, but with this difference, that there should be no search made after him. As soon as the men had finished their breakfasts, the cutter was got under weigh and proceeded to sea. During the whole day Vanslyperken cruised in the Zuyder Zee looking for the boat, but without success, and at last he unwillingly shaped his course for England much puzzled and perplexed, as now he had no one to act as his steward to whom he could confide or by whose arrangements he could continue to defraud the ship's company; and, farther, he was obliged to put off for the present all idea of punishing Jemmy Ducks, for, without the corporal, the marines were afraid to move a step in defiance of the ship's company. The consequence was, that the three days that they were at sea Mr. Vanslyperken confined himself altogether to his cabin, for he was not without some fears for his own safety. On his arrival at Portsmouth, he delivered his letters to the admiral, and received orders to return to his cruising ground after the smugglers as soon as he had replaced his lost boat.
We have observed that Mr. Vanslyperken had no relations on this side of the water ; but in saying that, we referred to the epoch that he was in the service previous to the accession of King William. Since that and about a year from the time we are now writing about, he had brought over his mother, whom he had not till the peace seen for years, and had established her in a small apartment in that part of the town now known by the name of the Halfway Houses. The old woman lived upon a sinall pension allowed by the Dutch court, having been employed for many years in a subordinate capacity in the king's household. She was said to have once been handsome, and when young prodigal of her favours; at present she was a palsied old woman, bent double with age and infirmity, but with all her faculties as complete as if she was in her prime. Nothing could escape her little twinkling bloodshot eyes or her acute ear; she could scarcely hobble fifty yards, but she kept no servant to assist her, for, like her son, she was avaricious in the extreme. What crime she had committed was not known, but that something lay heavy on her conscience was certain; but if there was guilt, there was no repentance, only fear of future punishment. Cornelius Vanslyperken was her only living child : she had been twice married. The old woman did not appear to be very fond of him, although she treated him still as a child, and executed her parental authority as if he were still in petticoats. Her coming over was a sort of mutual convenience. She had saved money, and Vanslyperken wished to secure that, and also have a home and a person to whom he could trust, and she was so abhorred, and the reports against her so shocking where she resided,