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that she was glad to leave a place where every one, as she passed, would get out of her way, as if to avoid contamination. Yet these reports were vague, although hinting at some horrid and appalling crimes. No one knew what they exactly were, for the old woman had outlived her contemporaries, and the tradition was imperfect, but she had been handed down to the next generation as one to be avoided as a basilisk.
It was to his mother's abode, one room on the second floor, to which Mr. Vanslyperken proceeded as soon as he had taken the necessary steps for the replacing of the boat. As he ascended the stairs the quick ear of the old woman heard his footstep, and recognised it. It must be observed, that all the conversation between Vanslyperken and his mother was carried on in Dutch, of which we, of course, give the translation.
“ There you come, Cornelius Vanslyperken ; I hear you, and by your hurried tread you are vexed. Well, why should you not be vexed as well as your mother, in this world of devils ?"
This was a soliloquy of the old woman's before that Vanslyperken had entered the room, where he found his mother sitting over a few cinders half ignited in a very small grate. Parsimony would not allow her to use more fuel, although her limbs trembled as much from cold as palsy; her nose and chin nearly met, her lips were like old scars, and of an ashy white, and Irer sunken hollow mouth reminded you of a small, deep, dark sepulchre ; teeth she had none.
“ How fare you, mother ?” said Vanslyperken, on entering the room.
« I'm alive.” “ And long may you live, dear mother." “Ah,” replied the woman, as if doubting. “ I am here but for a short time,” continued Vanslyperken. '
“Well, child, so much the better; when on board you save money, on shore you must spend some. Have you brought any with you ?"
“ I have, mother, which I must leave to your care.” “ Give it me then.”
Vanslyperken pulled out a bag and laid it on the lap of his mother, whose trembling hands counted it over.
“ Gold, and good gold-while you live, my child, part not with gold. I'll not die yet--no, no, the devils may pull at me, and grin at me, but I'm not their's yet."
Here the old woman paused, and rocked herself in her chair.
“ Cornelius, lock this money up and give me the key:- there now, that is safe, you may talk, if you please, child, I can hear well enough,”
Vanslyperken obeyed; he mentioned all the events of the last cruise, and his feelings against the widow, Smallbones, and Jemmy Ducks. The old woman never interrupted him, but sat with her arms folded up in her apron.
“ Just so, just so," said she at last, when he had done speaking ; “ I felt the same, but then you have not the soul to act as I did. I could do it, but you—you are a coward ; no one dared cross my path, or if they did -ah, well, that's years ago, and I'm not dead yet."
All this was muttered by the old woman in a sort of half soliloquy; she paused and continued, “ Better leave the boy alone,-get nothing by it;---the woman there's work there, for there's money."
" But she refuses, mother, if I do not destroy the dog."
* Refuses--ah, well-let me see :-can't you ruin her character, blast her reputation ; she is yours and her money too ;-- then, thenthere will be money and revenge—both good ;—but money—10-yes, money's best. The dog must live, to gnaw the Jezebel-gnaw her bones--but you, you are a coward-you dare do nothing."
* What do I fear, mother ?”
“ Man the gallows, and death. I fear the last, but I shall not die yet: no, no, I will live--I will not die. Ay, the corporal—lost in Zuyder Zee-dead men tell no tales; and he could tell many of you, my child. Let the fish fatten on him." “ I cannot do without him, mother."
A hundred thousand devils !” exclaimed the old mother, “ that I should have suffered such throes for a craven. Cornelius Vanslyperken, you are not like your mother:-your father, indeed
“ Who was my father"
“ Silence, child, -there, go away-I wish to be alone with memory."
Vanslyperken, who knew that resistance or remonstrance would be useless, and only lead to bitter cursing and imprecation on the part of the old woman, rose and walked back to the sallyport, where he slipped into his boat and pulled on board of the Yungfrau, which lay at anchor in the harbour about a cable's length from the shore.
“ Here he comes,” cried a tall bony woman, with nothing on her head but a cap with green faded ribbons, who was standing on the forecastle of the cutter. “Here he comes ;-che, the willain, as would have flogged my Jemmy.” This was the wife of Jemmy Ducks, who lived at Portsmouth, and who, having heard what had taken place, vowed revenge.
“ Silence, Moggy," said Jemmy, who was standing by her.
“ Yes, I'll hold my tongue till the time comes, and then I'll sarve him out, the cheating wagabond.”
“ Silence, Moggy."
" And as for that peaching old Corporal Blubber, I'll Wan Spitter him if ever he turns up again to blow the gaff against my own dear Jemmy.”
“ Silence, Moggy-there's rowed of all, and a marine at your elbow."
“Let him take that for his trouble,” cried Moggy, turning round, and delivering a swinging box of the ear upon the astonished marine, who not -liking to encounter such an Amazon, made a hasty retreat down the fore-hatchway.
“ So there you are, are you?” continued Moggy, as Vanslyperken stepped on the deck.
* Silence, Moggy."
“ You, that would fog my own dear darling duck-my own Jemmy."
“ Silence, Moggy, will you ?” said Jemmy Ducks, in an angry tone, “ or I'll smash your peepers.'
“ You must climb on the gun to reach them, my little man," re. plied his wife. “Well, the more I holds my tongue now, the more for him when I gets hold on him. Oh! he's gone to his cabin, has he, to kiss his Snarley yow :-I'll make smallbones of that beast afore I'm done with him. Flog my Jemmy—my own dear darling Jemmy-a nasty lean
" Go down below, Moggy,” said Jemmy Ducks, pushing her towards the hatchway.
“ Snivelling, great-coated "
“ Go down below, will you ?" cried Jemmy, pushing her near to the hatchway.
“ Herring-gutted, bare-poled ”. “ Confound it, go below.”
“ Cheating rip of a wagabond ! Lord, Jemmy, if you a'nt a shoved me down the hatchway! Well, never mind, my darling, let's go to supper ;” and Moggy caught hold of her husband as she was going down, and with surprising strength lifted him off his legs and carried him down in her arms as she would have done a child, much to the amusement of the men who were standing on the forecastle.
When it was dusk, a boat dropped alongside of the cutter, and a man stepped out of it on the deck, when he was met by Obadiah Coble, who asked him, “ What's your pleasure ?"
“ I must speak with the commander of this vessel directly."
“ Wait a moment, and I'll tell him what you say,” replied Coble, who reported the message to Mr. Vanslyperken.
“ What sort of a person is he?" demanded the lieutenant. “ Oh, I don't know,--sort of half-bred, long-shore chap-looks something between a bumbailey and a bumboatman.”
“ Well, you may show him down.”
The man, who shortly after entered the cabin, was a short, paunchy little fellow, with a red waistcoat, knee breeches, and round jacket of green cloth. His face was covered with carbuncles, some of them so large that his small pug nose was nothing more in appearance than a larger blotch than the others. His eyes were small and keen, and his whiskers of a deep red. As soon as he entered the cabin, he very deliberately locked the door after him.
“ Nothing like making sure,” observed he.
“ Why, what the devil do you want?” exclaimed Vanslyperken, rather alarmed, while Snarleyyow walked round and round the thick calves of the man's legs, growling, and in more than two minds to have a bite through his blue worsted stockings; and the peculiar obliquity with which he carried his head, now that he surveyed with only one eye, was by no means satisfactory.
“ Take your cur away, and let us proceed to business, for there is no time to lose," said the man coolly, taking a chair. “ Now there can be no eaves dropping, I trust, for my life may be forfeited, if I'm discovered."
“ I cannot understand a word of all this,” replied Vanslyperken, much surprised.
“ In few words, do you want to put some five thousand pounds in your pocket ?"
At this question Vanslyperken became attentive. He beat off the dog, and took a chair by the side of the stranger.
Ah! interest will always bring civility; so now to the point. You command this cutter, do you not ?".
“ I do," replied Vanslyperken.
“ I can give information of a cargo to be landed on a certain night worth ten thousand pounds or more."
“ Indeed,” replied Vanslyperken.
“ Yes, and put your boats in such a position that they must seize the whole."
“ I'm very much obliged to you. Will you take something, sir, any scheedam ?" said Vanslyperken, unlocking one of his cupboards, and producing a large stone bottle, and a couple of glasses, which he filled.
“ This is very good stuff,” observed the man ; “ I'll trouble you for another glass."
This was one more than Mr. Vanslyperken intended; but on second thoughts, it would make his new acquaintance more communicative, so another was filled, and as soon as it was filled, it was emptied.
« Capital stuff !” said he of the rubicund face, shoving his glass towards Vanslyperken, by way of hint; but the lieutenant would not take the hint, as his new guest had already swallowed as much as lasted himself for a week. -- " But now," observed Vanslyperken, “ where is this cargo to be seen, and when?"
That's tellings,” replied the man. “ I know that; but you have come to tell, or what the devil else ?" replied Vanslyperken, who was getting angry.
« That's according," replied the man.
“We'll see to that afterwards ; something handsome, depend upon it."
“ That won't do. Wish you good evening, sir. Many thanks for the scheedam-capital stuff!” and the man rose from his chair.
But Mr. Vanslyperken had no intention to let him go; his avarice induced him at first to try if the man would be satisfied with his promise to reward him-a promise which would certainly never have been adhered to.
“ Stop, my dear sir, do not be in such a hurry. Take another glass."
“ With pleasure," replied the man, reseating himself, and drinking off the scheedam. “ That's really prime; I like it better every time I taste it. Now, then, shall we go to business again? I'll be plain with you. Half is my conditions, or I don't inform.”
“ Half!” exclaimed Vanslyperken; “ half of ten thousand pounds ? What, five thousand pounds ?"
“ Exactly so; half of ten is five, as you say.” “ What, give you five thousand pounds ?"
“ I rather think it is I who offer you five thousand, for the devil a penny will you get without me. And that I will have, and this bond you must sign to that effect, or I'm off. You're not the only vessel in the harbour.”
Vanslyperken tried for some time to reduce the terms, but the man was positive. Vanslyperken then tried if he could not make the man intoxicated, and thus obtain better terms; but fifteen glasses of his prime scheedam had no effect further than extorting unqualified praise as it was poured down, and at last Mr. Vanslyperken unwillingly consented to the terms, and the bond was signed.
“ We must weigh at the ebb," said the man, as he put the bond in his pocket. I shall stay on board; we have a moonlight night, and if we had not, I could find my way out in a yellow fog. Please to get your boats all ready, manned, and armed, for there may be a sharp tussle."
“ But when do they run, and where ?" demanded Vanslyperken.
“ To-morrow night at the back of the Isle. Let me see,” continued the man," taking out his watch; “ mercy on me, how time has flown-that's the scheedam. In a couple of hours we must weigh. I'll go up and see if the wind holds in the same quarter. If you pleasé, lieutenant, we'll just drink success to the expedition. Well, that's prime stuff, I do declare."
CHAPTER XV. In which the crew of the Yungfrau lose a good prize, and Snarleyyow loses his
The next morning the Yungfrau was clear of St. Helens, and sounding the eastern part of the Isle of Wight, after which, she made sail into the offing, that she might not be suspected by those on shore waiting to receive the cargo. The weather was fine, and the water smooth, and as soon as she was well out, the cutter was hove to. In the hurry of weighing, Mr. Vanslyperken had not thought, or had not known perhaps, that the wife of Jemmy Ducks was still on board, and as he was turning up and down on the quarter-deck, he perceived her on the forecastle, laughing and talking with the men. !
“ What woman is that ?" said he to Jansen, who was at the wheel. “ De frau, mynheer. Dat is de frau of Shimmy Duk.” “ How dare she come on board ? Send her aft here, marine."