Puslapio vaizdai


ally shut everything out of sight a ship's length away, including her jib-boom and foretopmast ahead, requiring a constant, careful lookout, with and top-gallant mast, so that she seemed to be in frequent blowing of the fog-horn. But they kept quite a forlorn condition. While the investigadriving the bark on her course, although she tion as to the damage done was going on forrolled heavily in the immense seas heaving under ward, a voice was heard in the fore-chains, and the quarter; and the rattling and crashing of tin it was found that one of the schooner's crew was pans and crockery below, and the faint gleams clinging there, who had managed to get a hold, of lightning in the southwest, indicated the grow- but, spraining his ankle, was unable to climb ing severity of the storm. But Captain Baker, farther. He was at once rescued and brought judging from the barometer and certain signs aft in a half-drowned condition. significant to the experienced eye, inferred that • What schooner was that?" inquired Capthere would be a shift of the wind ahead before tain Baker. morning, and was anxious to make all the longi- “She was the Gentle Annie, of—" tude possible before the change.

“What! the Gentle Annie, John Baker skipIt had just struck eight bells. There is some- per ? ” exclaimed the Captain, shaking like a leaf. thing peculiarly solemn in the toll of a ship's “Yes, sir." bell on a dark, stormy night, when the wind is “My God ! O my God!” groaned the poor chanting a shrill, weird wail in the rigging, and Captain, leaning against the rail for support in the melancholy swash of the waves seems to the extremity of his emotion. “O my boy! my shut out the lonely vessel and the isolated beings poor boy!" on her deck from all the rest of creation.

But when the first paroxysm of sudden grief “Mr. Partridge,” said the Captain to the mate, and despair was over, Captain Baker, like all men whose watch it was on deck—“Mr. Partridge, of action of his stamp, nerved himself to his you'll keep a good lookout, and, if there's any duty, and, controlling the outward expression of sign of a change of weather, give me a call. If his feelings, went about the ship to see that all the wind hasn't shifted when they change the was made snug and secure. To put a boat over watch, we'll heave to, as we don't want to run in in that sea and mist, in search of the schooner's too close while it continues thick like this." crew, was a hopeless task, and would only need

Captain Baker then turned to go below, and lessly risk other lives. He therefore gave orders had just reached the companion-way, when the to keep the bark as near as possible to the polookout on the forecastle sang out:

sition of the catastrophe until daybreak; and, “Vessel dead ahead, close aboard of us!" having assured himself that his vessel was in no

“Port! hard-a-port!" rang out the thunder- present danger from the collision, he went below tones of Captain Baker's voice, and like an echo to pass the saddest night of his life. of his own voice came back the cry from the A long and earnest search on the following unknown ship, “Port!” and the bark, suddenly morning brought no relief to the hopeless father. arrested in her course, swung to windward, reel- The wind had shifted and “scoffed” the fog ing over on her side, and her foretopmast snap- away, but nothing was to be seen except here ping off even with the cap as she broached too. and there a distant sail. About mid-day a pilot But it was too late. At the same instant she rose was taken on board, and in twenty-four hours, on a sea and rushed down with a tremendous with the aid of a tug, the Jennie Lane was alongcrash into the vessel ahead; and as she swung side of Long Wharf. back, stunned by the shock, and then surged on The news of the collision, being in the nature again, a schooner loomed up out of the gloom, of bad tidings, and involving the fate of three ranged alongside, and went down with a last men at Captain Baker's home—the rest of the smothered cry of agony rising from her deck lost men were from other places—it reached the blending with the howling of the gale. Hen- place without delay one evening after candlecoops, spars, and life-preservers were thrown light. As usual, when the mail arrived, there over from the bark, if haply some poor soul was a knot of loafers collected inside of the store, might lay hold of one ; but, obviously, the first with such more reputable and industrious villaduty was to see whether the Jennie Lane had gers as expected letters. The postmaster's paper suffered such damage as would place her own was seized by one of those most greedy for news, existence in danger. The pumps were sounded, and if any item of interest occurred he read it and a slight increase of water was found, indi- aloud. The audience being largely composed of cating that she had started some of her forward seafaring people, the column of ship-news was timbers; but, most fortunately, the water did not naturally the first to receive attention. On this rush in so fast as to be an object of immediate occasion Jerry Fuller, a lank-limbed specimen of concern, proving under control of the pumps. the Cape Cod race, had the newspaper, and, with But some of her upper works had been carried his slouched hat on the back of his head and his


feet on the rung of the old chair which was tilted “I can't live this way, mother; I must take against a barrel of potatoes, was leisurely going another v'yge, even ef I don't never come back over the items, when, with a start, he vehemently here again." exclaimed:

Not only did Mrs. Baker not hinder his go“My good gracious, if this don't beat all !” ing, but she decided to go with him; whatever Why, what is it


be the fate before him, she would share it, and, Just look a-here-just listen to this, boys! great as was her sorrow, she knew that his was The Gentle Annie's been run down and sunk in in some sort increased by the shadow of selfa gale of wind by the bark Jennie Lane." accusing remorse, a self-blame not wholly un

Every one in the store immediately crowded natural for a calamity which it was out of his around Jerry while he read aloud the account of power to prevent. Leaving their daughter and the calamity, which, although briefly and simply Lucy May in their house with a maiden aunt told, came home to them all with terrible em- who had been invited to make her home there phasis.

during their absence, the faithful pair, at an age “ There was the Widow Fisher's boy and when most people are laying aside the burdens Tommy Sloane and Johnnie Baker, all from this of life, sailed out once more on the rough, treachplace, all as likely fellows as ever grasped a mar- erous ocean which so emphatically symbolizes linspike, and they've all gone to ‘Davy Jones,' the troublous life of man. The gossips of the said Bill Tucker, heaving a sigh and moistening Cape, with a knowing shake of the head and the fireless stove with tobacco-juice.

pursed-up lips, acknowledged to a presentiment " I'm thinkin' it's mighty hard lines for the that he would never return, that this was desold man,” said Joey Greene.

tined too truly to be his last voyage, notwith“A drowning of his own boy! It's blamed standing that he asserted with a grim smile that hard luck now, I tell you,” muttered Jerry. he was heading for the Cape of Good Hope this

Derned if I don't think so," echoed Bill time, which was true enough; for, as if to reTucker,

new the days of early manhood, Captain Baker “ Well, it's the Lord's doing," solemnly ejacu- now took command of the Dhulep Singh for lated Mr. Plympton, the minister, who with sal- Calcutta, the port to which his first voyages were low, hatchet face was standing on the edge of the made. crowd.

The voyage out was unattended by any unu“Maybe 'tis, maybe 'tain't,” growled one sual incidents. The ship reached the Hooghly who never went to meeting, and was reputed to in safety, and, having discharged her cargo and believe in neither God nor devil.

reloaded, she started for home. If the outward Anyway, it's mighty rough on him, you voyage had often seemed monotonously melanbet," answered old Captain Si Jones.

choly to the old sailor and his wife, oppressed by But the minister, realizing the fearful import the weight of their loss and the blasting of their of the fatal tidings when it should reach Mrs. hopes, the homeward voyage was more hopeless, Baker, and touched with anxious sympathy, hast- for they felt, if they did not shape their thoughts ened home to inform his wife, who immediately in words, that the blank dreariness of their home put on her hood and stepped over to the Captain's on their return to it would tend to reopen the house to break the news to the afflicted wife and heart-wounds but partially healed. Gradually mother.

the Dhulep Singh plowed her way across the InIt is not for us to intrude upon that stricken dian Ocean toward the Cape of Good Hope. She household, or to reveal the sorrowful meeting of had escaped the violent gales which accompany the parents of the lost Johnnie, or the despair of the change of the monsoons, and was running his betrothed, Lucy May, to whom it now seemed before a very fresh but favorable and seemingly as if the light had gone out of the world. steady breeze on the quarter, and it was hoped

But if it was hard for Captain Baker to re- that she would weather the Cape and take the main at home before this tragedy had overtaken southeast trades without meeting any heavy him, it was still harder now. Everything re- gales. But it was otherwise ordained. Having minded him of his lost son, and of the blasted taken his afternoon nap, Captain Baker got up hopes which had centered around him. Al- and took a look at the barometer. The result was though ten years seemed to have been added to so unsatisfactory that he rubbed his eyes and his age, and a slight uncertainty seemed to some gave another glance at the mercury, which only to have altered the firm tread of his massive confirmed his first observation. He went on frame, yet to the outside world he preserved a deck without delay. A great change was imsteady, almost cheerful demeanor. But the sea pending. A terrific gloom was overspreading drew him again with a strange, irresistible influ- the heavens, reaching up from the horizon across ence, with the glamour of a witch.

the zenith in ragged, livid streaks like the arms


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of demons stretching out to clutch their victims. sky. The weather was fine, the ship jogging The sea under this pall rolled black and ominous, along under royals, and the crew engaged in boding no good, while ever and anon the dark repairing such damages as had occurred to the curtain of mist which was rapidly approaching rigging in the late storm. Two of the men, squatfrom the southwest was rent by appalling flashes ted on the deck in the gangway, were mending a of lightning, now white bolts riving the skies in topsail ; Mrs. Baker was seated by the compantwain, now in vivid sheets which circled the whole ion-way sewing and chatting with the Captain, offing and rimmed the sea with a ring of fire. who, spy-glass in hand, scanned the offing from The distant but ceaseless roll of thunder, every time to time. Neptune, their white Newfoundmoment growing louder, was of a character to land dog, was standing on the taffrail snuffing impress the stoutest heart with awe and appre- the land, and gazing at the sea with an expreshension.

sion truly human. It sometimes does seem as The officer of the deck had already begun to if, with their other gifts, some dogs may be pertake precautions to meet the storm, and most of mitted to claim a certain dim, far-off sense of the watch were aloft furling the light sails; but the poetic feeling. It was, in a word, one of Captain Baker, who was better acquainted with those average days between the repose of a calm the weather of those seas than the mate, saw and the excitement of a storm such as come in that not a moment was to be lost while the ship the life of a ship as in the life of man. still had whole topsails and courses set.

To-day is our John's birthday. Had you “Come down from there !” he roared to the thought of it, Abijah ? He would have been men aloft ; " don't wait to furl the top-gallant twenty-eight years old,” said Mrs. Baker. sails ! " then, turning to the mate, he bade him !

“Yes, mother, it was the first thing I thought call the watch below. The words were scarcely of when I woke up." out of his mouth when the ship was taken aback "Well, one thing is sure-he's where he'll by a fierce squall right in her teeth. The tre- have no more hurricanes to fight.” Although mendous pressure on the topsails made it useless she had been heroically calm throughout the late to let go the halyards or start the sheets, and, storm, it had naturally made a lasting impression driven stern foremost, the ship began to bury her upon her, and, being the least bit superstitious, taffrail under the combers; the water boiled over like most people, or call it belief in Providence if like a sluice, rushing forward into the cabin and you prefer, she sincerely believed it was for some the waist ; she was apparently entirely beyond purpose she had been “spared,” when others human control, and in another minute would were overwhelmed by the winds and waves never have gone down, as lightning, thunder, darkness, more to see their homes. wind, and rain burst with a sublime, confused, “I suppose that's so; we don't know much and irresistible roar and fury over the devoted about it; still, I'd be glad to see him back again, ship. But at that supreme moment the crew, by and I don't believe but what, to please his old almost superhuman effort, succeeded in lowering parents and his poor girl mourning for him on the spanker and bracing the foreyard. The noble the Cape, he'd be willing to come back for a ship, writhing and wrestling for life, fell off in the while." trough of the sea, lying over almost on her beam- “You know the Bible says, 'He shall come ends, while the sails were blown out of the bolt- back no more to me, but I shall go to him,'” reropes and flew off to leeward like scraps of vapor. peated the good lady in a low tone. For the time she was saved, but how long could “I wish I had your faith, mother, not because she live in that position was the question, espe- believing a thing makes it any more true, but cially if the storm settled down into a continuous then one feels better and takes life easier." hurricane. By skillful management they finally Thus the pair gossiped to themselves in the got the ship paying off before the wind, scudding commonplaces characteristic of those whose lifewith a rag of canvas in the fore-rigging. By the work is action rather than speech. After a while next morning the Dhulep Singh had run out of one of the men aloft reported a sail in sight. the vortex of the cyclone, and they were able to “Where away?" heave to, although a sea absolutely mountainous а

“On the lee-beam; looks like a wreck, sir." rolled up from the south pole in a manner that Everybody immediately sprang to his feet and sometimes threatened to ingulf the ship.

scanned the offing, but, as the strange sail was The sun set that day in a clear offing, festooned not visible from the deck, Captain Baker went with the pageantry of crimson and golden clouds, aloft with his glass, and discovered it to be a ship

wind having shifted and greatly moder- apparently in a sinking condition, her fore- and ated, they were able to make sail. Two days main-masts gone by the board, and a flag of disafter the Cape of Good Hope was sighted, like a tress in the mizzen-rigging; she had evidently gray cloud against the pale green of the horizon been dismantled by the late hurricane.


Square the main-yard !” was the order forward, and gazed earnestly into the eyes of the that now rang through the ship, and she was maimed seaman, who at the instant looked up. then kept away for the wreck, which very soon As he caught the gaze of the Captain, a change became visible from the deck. As they drew came over his sunken features; reaching forward nearer they could see that she was settling fast, his arms and exclaiming, “ Father!” he fell back and that the crew (her boats having been carried apparently dead; it was this circumstance which away) were rapidly constructing a raft alongside. aided to prevent the parents from yielding to the The Dhulep Singh was hove-to a short distance emotions caused by the violence of the shock from the wreck, which proved to be the Rothsay, received from this most extraordinary event. tea-clipper of London, and a boat was lowered Descending into the boat, the Captain found that and sent off to her. The Rothsay was almost his son was only in a syncope, resulting from down to her scuppers, wallowing helplessly in excitement from physical exhaustion. With the the sea, and her end was fast approaching. Help greatest tenderness and sympathy, in which every had come to her crew just as she was about to one of the crew joined—and it may be said to go from under them and leave them adrift on the their credit that more than one of them drew waste of ocean ; nor was it safe for the boat to his rough fist across his eyes, John Baker was linger alongside, lest it should be sucked down hoisted out of the boat and carried into the cabin, by the whirling vortex caused by the death-throes where the usual remedies applied in such cases of the foundering ship, liable to occur at any soon restored him to consciousness. moment. A number of the Rothsay's crew had John Baker's story is soon told; hair-breadth been washed off in the hurricane, and one, who as was his escape, it is at any rate no more rehad been maimed by falling spars, was already markable than the adventures which are encounlying on the raft, and was gently transferred to tered by most seafaring men some time in the the boat, which then shoved off. When it was course of their adventurous lives. On the night midway between the two ships the Rothsay, of the collision he was on deck; the schooner lurching convulsively, buried her bow in a sea, was lying-to, and, as she was directly in the track and the waves closed over her as she went down, of inward-bound vessels, anxiety was felt, and a locked in their embrace till the sea give up her sharp lookout maintained. He discovered the dead. There is no more solemn or impressive bark at the same instant that the schooner was sight in this world than the sinking of a ship at perceived. Conscious at a glance that a collisea. When a man dies the body continues for sion was unavoidable, he at once took thought a while to give the semblance of reality, and only for his personal safety. As is common on our by degrees wastes away to nothingness. When fishing schooners, there was a nest of dories a house burns down, it is only gradually, and the amidships. He made a dive at this and lifted ashes remain. When an earthquake fells a city, the upper one out of its bed' just as the two vesthe fragments are still there. But when one mo- sels came together, and held fast to it by the ment we see the strong and mighty fabric of a painter. By great good luck it floated when the ship actually before us, and the next can discern schooner went down, and he contrived to get absolutely not a vestige or sign or semblance or into it. It glided over the seas before the wind, shadow of it existing, we come very near to form- its very lightness giving it buoyancy, and helping ing a conception of what annihilation is, if there to keep it clear of the combers. But it was only be any such thing.

by the greatest management-may not one also The Rothsay having disappeared, the atten- add, by the aid of Providence ?-that dory and tion of all on board the Dhulep Singh was di- crew of one man lived till morning. He was rected to the returning boat, and the haggard then sighted by a ship outward bound; she faces of those who had been so opportunely res- altered her course, and flung a rope to him as cued from a watery grave were eagerly scanned. she swept by: he caught it and was saved. The But when it arrived alongside, and the features vessel was bound to China, and the Captain was of the wounded man became distinctly visible, loath to put back to land him, but promised to Mrs. Baker, shuddering as if with cold, pale as transfer him to some homeward-bound vessel if death, and with tongue almost paralyzed with convenient. No such opportunity seemed to ocoverpowering emotion, clutched her husband's cur: either the sea was too high to launch a boat arm: “Abijah, don't he look like our Johnnie?" when they met such a ship, or they did not care

" Elizabeth, what—you don't mean to say, to lose a fair wind; something always prevented. My God, it can't be !—and yet—if only the dead In mean time John was given a berth in the could come to life, I should say it was our forecastle, and worked his passage. At Shanghai

he secured the place of second mate in the RothThus gasping and staggering, rather than say, and started for home via England. The walking, Captain Baker took two or three steps Rothsay was overtaken by the hurricane de


scribed above, and hove on her beam-ends; her the happiness that succeeds adversity and sorrow captain was washed overboard with several of is dearly purchased at that rate. Probably, if we the crew; it was then found necessary to cut had the choosing of our destiny, we should shrink away the masts to right her, and John had his from such a valuation of good fortune. But leg broken in two places by a falling spar. After Providence, which lays down the laws for man, the ship righted it was discovered that she had has otherwise ordained, and decrees that as in started a butt, caused perhaps by the pounding art so in life the strangest effects of light shall of a mast-head before the wrecked stuff was be gained by a deep, contrasting shade; that cleared away, and the water gained rapidly on repose shall come as a relief from toil and pain; the pumps.

that rapture shall be rapture because it is the John had suffered greatly from the severe revulsion from overpowering anguish of soul. accident which had befallen him, which had been Hard is the law, terrible the price we pay for aggravated by exposure and lack of surgical aid. what happiness we have in life, but there is only And, although the tender care of his mother and one philosophy that is of any practical value here the glad face of his father did much to relieve below, and that is to accept the inevitable. his pain, it was decided to put into Cape Town to This train of thought received a practical exprocure the medical advice he so much needed. emplification when Captain Baker, with his good At the Cape of Good Hope they remained seve wife and son, arrived at home on a certain eveneral days, and then under propitious auspices ing some years ago. The wedding which folhoisted the topsails once more for home. Past lowed before many weeks needs little comment; St. Helena's rocky isle, across the line, and the it was one of unusual solemnity and happiness; Gulf Stream, the Dhulep Singh sped as if im- and the chubby, blue-eyed, dimple-cheeked little pelled by a consciousness of the glad tidings she girl, who appeared in due season thereafter, was bore to the forlorn heart on the Cape, gazing regarded with peculiar feelings. It was a warm with despair along the far-off verge of ocean for welcome indeed which she received from Grandthe sail of one who would never return to cheer mother Baker, who at one time had given up all her life again.

prospect of ever seeing this little granddaughter. It was a glad moment for all an board when “Ah, little one, you little know how near you the bare, yellow sand-hills of Cape Cod and the came to never having a father!” said Captain Highland Lighthouse hove in sight. “ My coun- Baker, as for the first time he gazed entranced try!” exclaimed Captain Baker with exultation, on his first grandchild. as he proudly gazed on the rising shores of his “One may truly say that she was brought to native land, while Neptune, wagging his bushy us out of the depths,” said Mr. Plympton, the tail with becoming dignity, evidently regarded minister; “out of the depths of the sea, out of the scene with similar sentiments, and hailed ev- the depths of despair, she comes to us, bearing ery passing vessel with a sonorous, good-natured consolation and the smile of God reflected on bark.

her brow." A question which often arises in life is whether



wildly excitable, miserable Brontë! No history PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTË.

records your many struggles after the goodSOON OON after I came to Halifax I made the ac- your wit, brilliance, attractiveness, eagerness for.

quaintance of a genius of the highest order, excitement—all the qualities which made you Patrick Branwell Brontë, who was at least as such “good company,” and dragged you down talented as any member of that wonderful fam- to an untimely grave. But you have had a most ily. Much my senior, Brontë took an unusual unnecessary scandal heaped upon you by the fancy to me, and I continued, perhaps, his most author of your sister's “ Biography,” which that confidential friend through good and ill until his scandal does its best to spoil. death. Poor, brilliant, gay, moody, moping,

This generous gentleman in all his ideas, this * From "Pictures of the Past: Memoirs of Men I madman in many of his acts, died at twentyhave met and Places I have seen," by Francis H. Grun- eight of grief for a woman. But at twenty-two, dy, C. E. London, 1879.

what a splendid specimen of brain-power runVOL. VII.-9


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