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coolly rang the sonnette, and desired the slave | apeak, was brought home; the bows of the ship who answered it to inform Señora Arguellas that fell slowly off, and we were in a few moments he was about to leave, and wished to see her. running before the wind, though but a faint one,
“ The brave Englishman is about to place him for Point Morant. self under the protection of your aunt's petticoats, No one could be many hours on board the Alphonso !” shouted Dupont, with triumphant Neptune without being fully satisfied that, howmockery.
ever deficient in dueling courage her captain "I almost doubt whether Mr. Starkey is an might be, he was a thorough seaman, and that Englislıman," exclaimed Mr. Desmond, who, as his crew-about a dozen of as fine fellows as I well as his two friends, was getting pretty much have ever seen-were under the most perfect incensed; "but, at all events, as my father and discipline and command. The service of the mother were born and raised in the old country, vessel was carried on as noiselessly and regularly If you presume to insinuate that—"
as on board a ship’of war; and a sense of confiSeñora Arguellas at this moment approached, dence, that should a tempest or other sea-peril and the irate American with some difficulty re- overtake us, every reliance might be placed in strained himself. The lady appeared surprised the professional skill and energy of Captain at the strange aspect of the company she had so Starkey, was soon openly or tacitly acknowllately left. She, however, at the request of the edged by all on board. The weather throughout captain, instantly led the way into the house, happily continued fine, but the wind was light leaving the rest of her visitors, as the French say, and variable, so that for several days after plantés là.
we had sighted the blue mountains of Jamaica, Ten minutes afterward we were informed that we scarcely appeared sensibly to diminish the Captain Starkey had left the house, after im- distance between them and us. At last the pressing upon Señora Arguellas that the Neptune breeze again blew steadily from the northwest, would sail the next morning precisely at nine and we gradually neared Point Morant. We o'clock. A renewed torrent of rage, contempt, passed it, and opened up the bay at about two and scorn broke forth at this announcement, and o'clock in the morning, when the voyage might a duel at one time seemed inevitable between be said to be over. This was a great relief to Lieutenant Arguellas and Mr. Desmond, the last- the cabin-passengers-far beyond the ordinary named gentleman manifesting great anxiety to pleasure to land-folk of escaping from the tedium shoot somebody or other in vindication of his of confinement on shipboard. There was a conAnglo-Saxon lineage. This, however, was over- straint in the behavior of every body that was ruled, and the party broke up in angry disorder. exceedingly unpleasant. The captain presided
We were all on board by the appointed time at table with freezing civility; the conversation, on the following morning. Captain Starkey re- if such it could be called, was usually restricted ceived us with civil indifference, and I noticed to monosyllables; and we were all very heartily that the elaborate sneers which sat upon the glad that we had eaten our last dinner in the countenances of Dupont and the lieutenant did Neptune. When we doubled Point Morant, all not appear in the slightest degree to ruffle or the passengers except myself were in bed, and a affect him ; but the averted eye and scornful air quarter of an hour afterward Captain Starkey of Donna Antonia as she passed with Señora went below, and was soon busy, I understood, Arguellas toward the cabin, drawing her mantilla with papers in his cabin. For my part I was tightly round her as she swept by, as if—so I. too excited for sleep, and I continued to pace the perhaps wrongfully interpreted the action-it deck fore and aft with Hawkins, the first-mate, would be soiled by contact with a poltroon, visi- whose watch it was, eagerly observant of the bly touched him-only, however, for a few brief lights on the well-known shore, that I had left moments. The expression of pain quickly van- so many months before with but faint hopes of ished, and his countenance was as cold and stern ever seeing it again. As I thus gazed landward, as before. There was, albeit, it was soon found, a bright gleam, as of crimson moonlight, shot a limit to this, it seemed, contemptuous for- across the dark sea, and turning quickly round, bearance. Dupont, approaching him, gave his I saw that it was caused by a tall jet of flame thought audible expression, exclaiming, loud shooting up from the main hatchway, which two enough for several of the crew to hear, and look- seamen, for some purpose or other, had at the ing steadily in the captain's face: “Liche!” moment partially opened. In my still weak He would have turned away, but was arrested state, the terror of the sight-for the recollection by a gripe of steel. “Ecoutez, monsieur," said of the barrels of powder on board flashed instantCaptain Starkey : "individually, I hold for no- ly across my mind--for several moments comthirig whatever you may say ; but I am captain pletely stunned me, and but that I caught inand king in this ship, and I will permit no one stinctively at the rattlings, I should have fallen to beard me before the crew, and thereby lessen prostrate on the deck. A wild outcry of “ Fire! my authority over them. Do you presume again fire!"-the most fearful cry that can be heard to do so, and I will put you in solitary confine- at sea—mingled with and heightened the dizzy ment, perhaps in irons, till we arrive at Jamaica." ringing in my brain, and I was barely sufficiently He then threw off his startled auditor, and walked conscious to discern, amid the runnings to and forward. The passengers, colored as well as fro, and the incoherent exclamations of the crew, white, were all on board ; the anchor, already the sinewy, athletic figure of the captain leap op, as it were, from the companion-ladder to the beneath their feet. Captain Starkey, aided by deck, and with his trumpet-voice command im- the four athletic seamen he had selected for the mediate silence, instantly followed by the order duty, hurled them fiercely back. “Back, back!" again to batten down the blazing hatchway. | he shouted. “We must have funeral order here Chis, with his own assistance, was promptly -- first the women and children, next the old men. effected, and then he disappeared down the fore- Hand Señora Arguellas along; next the young castle. The two or three minutes he was gone lady her daughter: quick !”
-it could scarcely have been more than that, As Donna Antonia, more dead than alive, was seemed interminable; and so completely did it about to be lifted into the boat, a gush of flame appear to be recognized that our fate must de- burst up through the main hatchway with the pend upon his judgment and vigor, that not a roar of an explosion ; a tumultuous cry burst word was spoken, nor a finger, I think, moved, from the frenzied passengers, and they jostled till he reappeared, already scorched and blackened each other with frightful violence in their efforts with the fire, and dragging up what seemed a to reach the gangway. Dupont forced his way dead body in his arms. He threw his burden on through the lane of seamen with the energy of a the deck, and passing swiftly to where Hawkins madman, and pressed so suddenly upon Antonia stood, said in a low, hurried whisper, but audible that, but for the utmost exertion of the captain's to me; “Run down and rouse the passengers, | Herculean strength, she must have been precipiand bring my pistols from the cabin-locker. tated into the water. Quick! Eternity hangs on the loss of a mo! “Back, unmanly dastard ! back, dog !" roared ment.” Then turning to the startled but atten- Captain Starkey, terribly excited by the lady's tive seamen, he said in a rapid but firm voice : danger; and a moment after, seizing Dupont “You well know, men, that I would not on any fiercely by the collar, he added: " or if you will, occasion or for any motive deceive you. Listen. Icok there but for a moment," and he pointed then, attentively. Yon drunken brute—he is with his pistol-hand to the fins of several sharks Lieutenant Arguellas' servant-has fired with plainly visible in the glaring light at but a few his candle the spirits he was stealing, and the yards' distance from the ship. “Men," he added, hold is a mass of fire which it is useless to waste “let whoever presses forward out of his turn fall one precious moment in attempting to extin-into the water." guish."
| “Ay, ay, sir!" was the prompt mechanical reA cry of rage and terror burst from the crew, sponse. and they sprang impulsively toward the boats, This terrible menace instantly restored order; but the captain's authoritative voice at once the colored women and children were next emarrested their steps. “Hear me out, will you? | barked, and the boat appeared full. Hurry and confusion will destroy us all, but with “ Pull off,” was the order : “ you are deep courage and steadiness every soul on board may enough for safety.” be saved before the flames can reach the powder. A cry, faint as the wail of a child, arose in the And remember,” he added, as he took his pistols boat. It was heard and understood. from Hawkins and cocked one of them, “that I “Stay one moment; pags along Señor Arguelwill send a bullet after any man who disobeys las. Now, then, off with you, and be smart !” me, and I seldom miss my aim. Now, then, to The next boat was quickly loaded; the colored your work-steadily, and with a will !”
lads and men, all but one, and the three AmeriIt was marvelous to observe the influence his cans, went in her. bold, confident, and commanding bearing and “You are a noble fellow," said Mr. Desmond, words had upon the men. The panic-terror pausing an instant, and catching at the captain's that had seized them gave place to energetic hand; "and I was but a fool to—". resolution, and in an incredibly short space of “Pass on,” was the reply : “there is no time time the boats were in the water. “Well done, to bandy compliments." my fine fellows! There is plenty of time, I The order to shove off had passed the captain's again repeat. Four of you”—and he named lips when his glance chanced to light upon me, them—"remain with me. Three others jump as I leaned, dumb with terror, just behind him into each of the large boats, two into the small against the vessel's bulwarks. one, and bring them round to the landward side " Hold on a moment !” he cried. “Here is a of the ship. A rush would swamp the boats, youngster whose weight will not hurt you ;' and and we shall be able to keep only one gangway he fairly lifted me over, and dropped me gently clear."
into the boat, whispering as he did so: “Re The passengers were by this time rushing member me, Ned, to thy father and mother should upon deck half-clad, and in a state of the wildest | I not see them again." terror, for they all knew there was a large quan- There was now only the small boat, capable tity of gunpowder on board. The instant the of safely containing but eight persons, and how, boats touched the starboard side of the bark, the it was whispered among us—how, in addition to men, white as well as colored, forced their way the two seamen already in her, can she take off with frenzied eagerness before the women and Lieutenant Arguellas, M. Dupont, the remaining children-careless, apparently, whom they sacri-colored man, the four seamen, and Captain Starficed so that they might themselves leap to the key? They were, however, all speedily om. shelter of the boats from the fiery volcano raging | barked except the captain.
“Can she bear another ?” he asked, and al- ' “ The Neptune, and that is Captain Starker on though his voice was firm as ever, his counte- the bowsprit !" nance, I noticed, was ashy pale, yet full as ever I sprang eagerly to my feet, and with all the of unswerving resolution.
force I could exert, shouted: "A hundred pounds “We must, and will, sir, since it's you ; but for the first boat that reaches the ship!" we are dangerously overcrowded now, especially “That's young Mr. Mainwaring's face and with yon ugly customers swimming round us." voice !" exclaimed the foremost pilot. “Hurra,
“Stay one moment; I can not quit the ship then, for the prizc!" and away both sped with while there's a living soul on board." He step- eager vigor, but unaware certainly of the peril of ped hastily forward, and presently reappeared at the task. In a minute or so another shore-buat the gangway with the still senseless body of the came up, but after asking a few questions, and lieutenant's servant in his arms, and dropped it seeing how matters stood, remained, and lightover the side into the boat. There was a cry of ened us of a portion of our living cargoes. We indignation, but it was of no avail. The boat's were all three too deep in the water, the small rope the next instant was cast into the water. boat perilously so. * Now pull for your lives!" The oars, from the Great God! the terrible suspense we all felt instinct of self-preservation, instantly fell into the while this was going forward. I can scarcely water, and the boat sprang off. Captain Starkey, | bear, even now, to think about it. I shut my now that all except himself were clear of the eyes, and listened with breathless, palpitating er: burning ship, gazed eagerly with eyes shaded citement for the explosion that should end all with his hand in the direction of the shore. It came!-at least I thought it did, and I sprang Presently he hailed the headmost boat. “We convulsively to my feet. So sensitive was my must have been seen from the shore long ago, brain, partly no doubt from recent sickness as and pilot-boats ought to be coming out, though I well as fright, that I had mistaken the sudden don't see any. If you meet one, bid him be shout of the boats' crews for the dreaded catas. smart: there may be a chance yet." All this trophe. The bowsprit, from the end of which a scene, this long agony, which has taken me so rope was dangling, was empty! and both pilots, many words to depict very imperfectly from my made aware doubtless of the danger, were pulling own recollection, and those of others, only last- with the eagerness of fear from the ship. The ed, I was afterward assured by Mr. Desmond, cheering among us was renewed again and again, eight minutes from the embarkation of Señora during which I continued to gaze with arrested Arguellas till the last boat left the ill-fated breath and fascinated stare at the flaming vessel Neptune.
and fleeing pilot-boats. Suddenly a pyramid of Never shall I forget the frightful sublimity of flame shot up from the hold of the ship, followed the spectacle presented by that flaming ship, the by a deafening roar. I fell, or was knocked sole object, save ourselves, discernible amidst the | | down, I know not which; the boat rocked as if vast and heaving darkness, if I may use the term, caught in a fierce eddy ; next came the hiss and of the night and ocean, coupled as it was with splash of numerous heavy bodies falling from a the dreadful thought that the heroic man to great height into the water; and then the blindwhose firmness and presence of mind we all ing glare and stunning uproar were succeeded owed our safety was inevitably doomed to perish. | by a soundless silence and a thick darkness, in We had not rowed more than a couple of hundred which no man could discem his neighbor. The yards when the flames, leaping up every where stillness was broken by a loud, cheerful hail from through the deck, reached the rigging and the one of the pilot-boats: we recognized the voice, few sails set, presenting a complete outline of and the simultaneous and ringing shout which the bark and her tracery of masts and yards burst from us assured the gallant seaman of our drawn in lines of fire! Captain Starkey, not to own safety, and how exultingly we all rejoiced throw away the chance he spoke of, had gone out in his. Half an hour afterward we were safely to the end of the bowsprit, having first let the jib landed; and as the ship and cargo had been and foresail go by the run, and was for a brief specially insured, the only ultimate evil result of space safe from the flames; but what was this this fearful passage in the lives of the passengers but a prolongation of the bitterness of death? and crew of the Neptune was a heavy loss to the
The boats continued to increase the distance underwriters. between them and the blazing ship, amidst a A piece of plate, at the suggestion of Mr. Des. dead silence broken only by the measured dip of mond and his friends, was subscribed for and the oars; and many an eye was turned with in- presented to Captain Starkey at a public dinner tense anxiety shoreward with the hope of de- 1 given at Kingston in his honor-a circumstance scrying the expected pilot. At length a distinct that many there will remember. In his speech hail—and I felt my heart stop beating at the on returning thanks for the compliment paid him, sound—was heard ahead, lustily responded to by he explained his motive for resolutely declining the seamen's throats, and presently afterward a to fight a duel with M. Dupont, half-a-dozen fer: swiftly-propelled pilot-boat shot out of the thick | sions of which had got into the newspapers. "! darkness ahead, almost immediately followed by was very early left an orphan," he said," another.
was very tenderly reared by a maternal aunt, “What ship is that?" cried a man standing in Mrs. " (He mentioned a name with whic the bows of the first boat
| hundreds of newspaper readers in England must
be still familiar). “Her husband-as many here | had long been prepared with their offerings, which may be aware—fell in a duel in the second month almost, in every case, were the work of their own of wedlock. My aunt continued to live deject-hands. edly on till I had passed my nineteenth year; We started on foot; it was genial frosty and so vivid an impression did the patient sorrow weather. At Oslebshausen, which is half-way, of her life make on me—so thoroughly did I we rested, and took a glass of wine. Then we lcam to loathe and detest the barbarous practice continued our march, and at last caught sight of that consigned her to a premature grave, that it the windmill, which marks the entrance to the scarcely required the solemn promise she obtain | town. Breakfast was the first thing to be thought ed from me, as the last sigh trembled on her lips, of, so we went and breakfasted in a house situated to make me resolve never, under any circum in a street called the “ Bishop's Needle.” Then stances, to fight a duel. As to my behavior we hunted about in various shops, and finally arduring the unfortunate conflagration of the Nep rived, not a little laden, at the office of the Lestune, which my friend Mr. Desmond has spoken mona omnibus. Here we deposited our goods, of so flatteringly, I can only say that I did no and secured our places; after which, as we had more than my simple duty in the matter. Both | a couple of hours before us, we repaired tz Stehe and I belong to a maritime race, one of whose hely and Jansen's, the chief café of Bremen, to most peremptory maxims it is that the captain pass the time and read the papers. must be the last man to quit or give up his ship. Toward dusk we reached Lesmona, and our Besides, I must have been the veriest dastard constituents immediately selected, each according alive to have quailed in the presence of-of-that to his taste, the articles we had brought them. is, in the presence of-circumstances which--in | For my part, as I was that evening a guest at point of fact—that is” Here Captain Starkey the house of my friend the pastor, I betook myblushed and boggled sadly: he was evidently no self thither with the trifling gifts I had bought orator; but whether it was the sly significance for his children. I was destined to receive in of Señor Arguellas' countenance, which just then return presents from them and other members happened to be turned toward him, or the glance of his family. How"they were exchanged, I he threw at the gallery where Señora Arguellas' shall presently relate. I begin at the beginning grave placidity and Donna Antonia's bright eyes of the ceremony; for the celebration of Christand blushing cheeks encountered him, that so mas-day is, indeed, a ceremony in most parts of completely put him out, I can not say; but he Germany. continued to stammer painfully, although the The pastor's house is, when you look at it in company cheered and laughed with great vehe- front, a long, low building, with a prodigiously mence and uncommon good-humor, in order to high thatched roof. If you go to the gable, give him time. He could not recover him- however, you will find that there are actually self; and after floundering about through a few three stories in it, two being in the said roof. more unintelligible sentences sat down, evident. The middle of the ground floor is occupied by a ly very hot and uncomfortable, though amidst a large hall, which gives access to all the chambers, little hurricane of hearty cheers and hilarious and has a branch leading to one end of the edifice. laughter.
At this end there is a door, on passing by which, I have but a few more words to say. Captain you find yourself in the place where the cows, Starkey has been long settled at the Havanna; pigs, and other animals are kept. When I speak and Donna Antonia has been just as long Mrs. of the other animals, I should except the storks, Starkey. Three little Starkeys have to my who, on their arrival in spring, from Egypt or knowledge already come to town, and the captain elsewhere, find their usual basket-work habitais altogether a rich and prosperous man; but tions about the chimneys all ready to receive though apparently permanently domiciled in a them. One would imagine, by the way, that foreign country, he is, I am quite satisfied, as they brought from their winter quarters sometrue an Englishman, and as loyal a subject of thing like the superstition of the old inhabitants Queen Victoria, as when he threw the glass of of the Nile valley, so great is the worship of the wine in the Cuban creole's face. I don't know Germans for these birds, and so enthusiastically what has become of Dupont; and, to tell the | is their arrival hailed. No one would ever dare truth, I don't much care. Lieutenant Arguellas to murder a stork. A similar protection is exhas attained the rank of major: at least I suppose tended to nightingales. The consequense is, be must be the Major Arguellas officially report that, being unmolested, the “solemn bird of ed to be slightly wounded in the late Lopez buc night” becomes very tame. In the suburbs of caneering affair. And I also am pretty well now, Hamburg are numerous villas, and there, in a thank you!
friend's garden, I have passed and repassed under
the bough where, within the reach of my arm, a CHRISTMAS IN GERMANY. nightingale was singing. He not only showed CHRISTMAS-DAY came-presents were to no fear, but, being of a vain character, as night
be exchanged. My friend Albert B— and | ingales naturally are, he strained his little thrcat I were deputed to go to Bremen to make pur- the more that he saw I listened to him. chases, the choice thereof being left to our dis-. But to return to the pastor's house. In the cretion. This, be it understood, was for the be- corner of the hall of which I have spoken, was bons vt some of our gentlemen friends; the ladies the “Christmas Tree.” Some of those who
read these sketches may have seen an engraving compared with it. Life-the soul of the world, of Luther on a Christmas evening, his wife and but for which creation were not ! children beside him. The tree represented in It is our daily familiarity with Life, wbich obthat engraving was the exact prototype of the scures its wonders from us. We live, yet remem one I now saw. It was of a species of fir, and ber it not. Other wonders attract our attention, on all its branches were fixed small wax-tapers and excite our surprise ; but this, the great wonThese, at the given hour, were lighted. Imme- der of the world, which includes all others, is diately, a procession of the village-school children little regarded. We have grown up alongside entered, and placed themselves in order. Then of Life, with Life within us and about us; and the pastor appeared, and after a short prayer there is never any point in our existence, at gave out a psalm. He conducted the music him- which its phenomena arrest our curiosity and atself, and, as he had for some time been teaching tention. The miracle is hid from us by familiarity, the young people a little singing, it was much and we see it not. better than usual, more especially as there were Fancy the earth without Life !-its skeleton no braying men to spoil it. The air was that ribs of rock and mountain unclothed by verdure, brave old composition of the great reformer, Ein without soil, without flesh! What a naked, deso feste Burg ist unser Gott ("A strong tower is | late spectacle,-and how unlike the beautiful asour God”). Nothing nobler in psalmody exists. pect of external nature in all lands! Nature,
After another short prayer, and a few words ever-varied and ever-changing—coming with the by way of speech, sundry rewards and prizes spring, and going to sleep with the winter-in were distributed. The greater part of these constant rotation. The flower springs up, blooms, were the handiwork of the pastor's family. I withers, and falls, returning to the earth from refer, of course, to the useful articles of dress whence it sprung, leaving behind it the germs of and other things, which domestic female hands future being; for nothing dies; not even Life, know how to sew, and knit, and embroider. Many which only gives up one form to assume another. tracts were distributed. A blessing was pro- Organization is traveling in an unending circle. nounced, and the children withdrew.
The trees in summer put on their verdure ; It was now our turn. The family assembled | they blossom; their fruit ripens-falls; what the in the saloon-a fine apartment, about thirty feet roots gathered up out of the earth returns to eartb in length. A long table, covered with a white again; the leaves drop one by one, and decay, cloth, extended down the centre. At this every resolving themselves into new forms, to enter one had his place-I among the rest. But it into other organizations ; the sap flows back to was not for a repast. Each had previously en- the trunk; and the forest, wood, field, and brake tered and deposited his or her Christmas boxes compose themselves to their annual winter's at the part of the table assigned to those to whom sleep. In spring and summer the birds sang in they were offered. We all had thus a little heap. the boughs, and tended their young brood; the As the greatest secresy is preserved up to the whole animal kingdom rejoiced in their full moment of the general entry, we had all the bounding life; the sun shone warm, and nature pleasure of a surprise. The curiosity of the rejoiced in greenness. Winter lays its cold chill children, and also of those who were not chil- upon this scene; but the same scene comes dren, as they examined their gifts was most round again, and another spring recommences amusing. I, for my part, received among other the same “never-ending, still beginning" sucthings the following :-Sundry articles got up cession of vital changes. We learn to expect all by the family fingers; a little box, covered with this, and become so familiar with it, that it sel. beads, for holding lucifer-matches; a German toy, dom occurs to us to reflect how much harmony meant to be instructive ; a long chain in beads, and adaptation there is in the arrangement-how intended for the decoration of a pipe. This pipe much of beauty and glory there is every where, was in sugar, and was accompanied by a note in above, around, and beneath us. verse. The note I still have, but the pipe melted But were it possible to conceive an intelligent away in the damp of winter. I never could being, abstracted from our humanity, endowed ascertain to whom I was indebted for this gift. with the full possession of mind and reason, all
A little later, evening worship was celebrated, at once set down on the earth's surface-how and then we supped. Long that night, after I many objects of surpassing interest and wonder had laid my head on my pillow, was I kept awake would at once force themselves on his attention by the thoughts raised by the kind, hearty, and The verdant earth, covered with its endless progenial character of those with whom I had passed fusion of forms of vegetable life, from the delicate the evening, and of the good, old-fashioned, hearty | moss to the oak which survives the revolutions ceremony in which I had participated.
of centuries; the insect and animal kingdom, Many a merry Christmas to these my friends! from the gnat which dances in the summer's sun
| beams, up to the higher forms of sentient being: THE MIRACLE OF LIFE.
birds, beasts of endless diversity of form, instinct Fall Miracles, the most wonderful is that of and color; and, above all, Man—" Lord of the U Life—the common, daily life which we carry lion heart and eagle eye;"—these would, to such about with us, and which every where surrounds an intelligence, be a source of almost endless inus. The sun and stars, the blue firmament, day terest. and night, the tides and seasons, are as nothing. It is life which is the grand glory of the world