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denote wealth. He was soon in an interesting conversation, and by degrees found out that the lady was a young widow of the name of Malcolm, whose husband had been factor to the new company, called the East India Company; that she had come down to Portsmouth expecting him home, and that she had learnt that he had died on shore a few days before his intended embarkation for England. Since which, as she liked the place and the society, she had thoughts of remaining here.
“ They say that gold in India is to be had for nothing."
“ It must be very plentiful,” replied the widow, “ if I am to judge by the quantity my poor husband sent me home, and he was not out more than three years. He left me a week after our marriage.”
Here the lovely widow put her handkerchief up to her eyes, and Mr. Vanslyperken attempted to console her.
" It's so very unpleasant to be left without any one to advise you, and exposed to be cheated so dreadfully. What can a poor lone woman do ? Did you ever see me before, sir ?"
“I never did,” replied our lieutenant. « May I ask the same question, for I thought you appeared to know me?" .
“ O yes! I've seen you very often, and wished to know who you were, but I was ashamed to ask. One cannot be too particular in my situation.”
Mr. Vanslyperken was much pleased, but he had remained some time, and he thought it right to depart, so he rose and made his adieus.
“I hope I shall see you again,” cried the widow earnestly. “ You will call again, sir, won't you?"
“ Most certainly, and with the greatest pleasure,” replied Vanslyperken.
The lady extended her gloved hand, and as it was closed in that of Vanslyperken, he thought he felt a slight, a very slight pressure, which made his heart leap. And then, as he shut the door, she gave him such a look-0 those eyes !—they pierced right through the heart of Vanslyperken.
The reader may not, perhaps, be aware who this gay widow might be. It was Nancy Corbett, who had, by the advice of Lady Alice, taken this step to entrap Mr. Vanslyperken. Nancy had obtained from Moggy all the particulars of the lieutenant's wooing of the widow Vandersloosh, and his character as a miser and a coward. Had he been a miser only, she would have attacked by gold alone, but being a coward, it was decided that he should have some further stimulus to betray his country, and enlist himself among the partisans of King James.
Beauty, joined with wealth, the chance of possessing both, with the attractive arts of Nancy, were considered necessary to sway him. Indeed they were so far right, that had any one made the bold proposal to Vanslyperken of joining the other party, and offered him at the same time ample remuneration, he would have been too suspicious or too timorous to run the risk. It was necessary to win him over by means which appeared accidental rather than otherwise. The difficulty of correspondence was very great; and as the cutter constantly was despatched to the Hague, and the French had agents there, not only letters, but even messengers, might be sent over without risk and without suspicion ; for open boats being then the only means of communication, during the wintry part of the year, the correspondence was very precarious, and at long intervals.
Thus was Nancy Corbett changed into a buxom widow, all for the good cause, and well did she perform her part; for there was no lack of money when such services were required. Vanslyperken left the house quite enchanted. “ This will do,” thought he," and if I succeed, Frau Vandersloosh may go to the devil.” He returned on board, unlocked his cabin, where Snarley yow had been secured from the machinations of Smallbones and other malcontents, and sat down to enjoy the castle-building which he had commenced after he left the house. He patted his dog, and apostrophised it. “ Yes, my poor brute," said Vanslyperken, “ your master will get a rich widow, without it being necessary that you should be laid dead at her porch. D- n Frau Vandersloosh.”
The widow was more enchanting when Vanslyperken called on the ensuing day, than she was on the first. Her advances to the lieutenant were no longer doubtful to him. She entered freely into the state of her affairs, asked his advice upon money matters, and fully proved to his satisfaction that, independent of her beauty, she would be a much greater catch than Frau Vandersloosh. She spoke about her family; said that she expected her brother over, but that he must come incog. as he was attached to the court of the exiled king, lamented the difficulty of receiving letters from him, and openly expressed her adherence to the Stuart family. Vanslyperken appeared to make very little objection to her political creed; in fact, he was so fascinated that he fell blindly into the snare ; he accepted an invitation to dine with her on that very day, and went on board to dress himself as fine for her as he had for the widow Vandersloosh. The lovely widow admired his uniform, and gave him many gentle hints upon which he might speak: but this did not take place until a tête-à-tête after dinner, when he was sitting on a sofa with her ; (not on such a fubsy sofa as that of Frau Vandersloosh, but one worked in tapestry,) much in the same position as we once introduced him in to the reader, to wit, with the lady's hand in his. Vanslyperken was flushed with wine, for Nancy had pushed the bottle, and, at last, he spoke out clearly what his aspirations were. The widow blushed, laughed, wiped her eyes as if to brush away a falling tear, and eventually, with a slight pressure of the hand, stammered that she did not know what to say, the acquaintance was so short-it was so unexpectedshe must reflect a little : at the same time, she could not but acknowledge, that she had been taken with him when she first saw him; and then she laughed and said, that she did really begin to believe that there was such a thing as love at first sight, and then-he had better go now, she wished to be alone-she really had a headache. Oh! Nancy Corbett! you were, indeed, an adept in the art of seductionno wonder that your name has been handed down to posterity. Mr. Vanslyperken perceived his advantage, and pressed still more, until the blushing widow declared that she would really think seriously about the matter, if on further acquaintance she found that her good opinion of him was not overrated.
Vanslyperken returned on board intoxicated with his success. On his arrival, he was informed that a messenger had been sent for him, but no one knew where to find him, and that he must be at the admiral's early the next morning, and have all ready for immediate sailing. This was rather annoying, but there was no help for it. The next day Vanslyperken went to the admiral's, and received orders to sail immediately to the Hague with despatches of consequence, being no less than an answer from King William to the States General. Mr. Vanslyperken proceeded from the admiral's to the charming widow, to whom he imparted this unwelcome intelligence. She, of course, was grave and listened to his protestations with her little finger in her mouth, and a pensive, cast-down eye.
“ How long will you be away?" inquired she.
“ But a week or ten days at the farthest. I shall fly back to see you again."
“ But, tell me the truth, have you no acquaintances there?- now, tell the truth-1 don't mean men.”
“Upon my honour, fair widow, I don't know a single woman there," replied Vanslyperken, pleased with this little appearance of jealousy ; “ but I'm afraid that I must leave you, for the admiral is very severe.
“ Will you do me one favour, Mr. Vanslyperken ?". “ Anything :-ask what you will.”
“I want this letter forwarded to my brother-I am very anxious about it. The French agent there will send it on ;-it is inclosed to him. Will you do me that favour, my dear sir ?-I'm sure you will if - "
“ If what?"
“ If you love me," replied the widow, laying her hand upon Vanslyperken.
“ I will most certainly,” said Vanslyperken, taking the letter and putting it in his pocket.
“ Then I shall ask you another,” said the widow. “You will think me very foolish, but there may be an opportunity—will you write to me—just a few lines-only to tell me that you have given the letter, that's all — and to say how you are-don't you think me very foolish?"
“ I will write, dearest, since you wish it—and now, good-bye.”
Vanslyperken took the widow round the waist, and after a little murmuring and reluctance, was permitted to snatch a kiss. Her eyes followed him mournfully till he shut the door and disappeared, and then Nancy Corbett gave way to unbounded mirth.
“ So the fool has bit already,” thought she; “now if he only writes to me, and I get his acknowledgment of having delivered the letter, the beast is in my power, and I can hang him any day I please. Upon his honour, he did not know a single woman there :--Lord have mercy !--what liars men are—but we can sometimes beat them with their own weapons.” And Nancy's thoughts reverted to her former life, which she now dwelt upon with pain and sorrow.
Mr. Vanslyperken returned on board; the anchor was weighed immediately that the boats had been hoisted up, and the Yungfrau ran out with a fair wind, which lasted until the evening, when it fell almost calm, and the cutter made but little way through the water. Many of the men were conversing on the forecastle as usual, and the subject of their discourse was the surmising what had become of Corporal Van Spitter. In one point they all appeared to agree, which was, that they hoped he would never return to the cutter.
“ If he does I owe him one," observed Jemmy Ducks. “It's all through him that my wife was turned out of the vessel.”
“ And a little bit from her tongue, Jemmy,” observed Coble.
“ Why, perhaps so,” replied Jemmy; “ but what was it set her tongue loose but the threat of him to flog me, and what made him threaten that but the 'peaching of that fat marine ?"
“Very good arguments, Jemmy. Well, I will say that for your wife, Jemmy, she does love you, and there's no sham about it.”
“ Never mind Jemmy's wife, let's have Jemmy's song," said Spurey ; “ he hasn't piped since he was pulled up by the corporal."
“ No: he put my pipe out, the hippopotamus. Well, I'll give it you—it shall be about what we were talking of, Obadiah.” Jemmy perched himself on the fore-end of the booms, and sung as follows:
“I suppose that you think 'cause my trousers are tarry,"
And because that I ties my long hair in a tail,
With breast-pins and cravats as white as old sail ;
But fit for the planks for to walk in foul weather;
Lord love you!!
" I know that this life is but sbort at the best on't;
That Time it flies fast, and that work must be done;
'Twill be but the lighter felt when it do come:
Of a heaven above, with its mercy in store,
Lord love you!!
“ If because I don't splice with some true-hearted woman,
Who'd doat on my presence, and sob when I sail,
With a fist that can strike, and a tongue that can rail;
If I marry to moor by my wife, and not leave her,
Lord love you!!
" I suppose that you think 'cause I'm free with my money,
Which others would hoard and lock up in their chest,
Are as gospel to me while you hang on my breast :
But no, Polly, no ;-you may take every guinea,
They'd burn in my pocket, if I took them to sea;
Lord love you!!” “ Well, that's a good song, Jemmy, and he can't pull you up for that any how."
Mr. Vanslyperken appeared to think otherwise, for he sent a marine forward to say, that no singing would be permitted in future, and that they were immediately to desist.
" I suppose we shall have a song considered as mutiny soon," observed Coble. “ Ah, well, it's a long lane that has no turning."
“ Yes," replied Jemmy, in an under tone, “and for every rogue there's a rope laid up. Never mind, let us go below."
Mr. Vanslyperken's dreaming thoughts of the fair widow were nevertheless occasionally interrupted by others not quite so agreeable. Strange to say, he fully believed what Smallbones had asserted about his being carried out by the tide to the Ower's light, and he canvassed the question in his mind, whether there was not something supernatural in the affair, a sort of interposition of Providence in behalf of the lad, which was to be considered as a warning to himself not to attempt anything further. He was frightened, although his feeling for revenge was still in all its force. As for any one suspecting him of having attempted the boy's life, he had recovered from that feeling; even if they did, who dare say a word ? There was another point which also engrossed the moody Vanslyperken, which was, how he should behave relative to the widow Vandersloosh. Should he call or should he not ?--he cared nothing for her, and provided he could succeed with the Portsmouth lady, he would pitch her to the devil; but still he remembered the old proverb, “ You should never throw away dirty water before you are sure of clean.” After some cogitation he determined upon still pressing his suit, and hoped at the same time that the widow would not admit him into her presence. Such were the different resolves and decisions which occupied the mind of Mr. Vanslyperken until he dropped his anchor at Amsterdam, when he ordered his boat to go on shore, and gave positive directions to Dick Short that no one was to leave the cutter on any pretence, for he was determined that as the widow would not have his company, she should neither have the profits arising from his men spending their money at her house.
“ So," cried Coble, after the boat shoved off, “ liberty's stopped as well as singing. What next, I wonder ? I sha'n't stand this long."
“ No," replied Short.
“ Stop till he makes friends with the widow," observed Bill Spurey; “ she'll get us all leave.”
“ Mein Gott, he nebber say any ting before," observed Jansen.
“ No; we might almost go and come as we wished. We must not stand this."
“We won't,” replied Jemmy Ducks. “ No," replied Short. While the crew of the cutter were in this incipient state of mutiny,