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ing into spirals of fire; bounding as if she were some wild beast from its blazing den, the woman dashed into the midst of the excited band. Pausing from their work they shrank away fearfully from the desperation of the eyes and the flaming whirlwind which enwrapt the harlot's maddened frame. A moment more, and, with shriek after shriek, cry. ing for “ water! water!" with one plunge from the gangway, she sank like a stone beneath the flood tide.
Still clinging to the steps, bleeding from a score of flesh wounds, yet revived briefly by the force and coldness of the water, the Forester lifted his gray head, with painful effort, to the level of the deck.
The fire below, divided into two bodies by the resistance of the solid oak of the stairs of the companion-way, and rushing past, through open passages, had made its road into the hold, which, filled with plunder of many kinds, bales of prints and muslins, hampers and barrels of wines and pipes of spirits, became a raging, belching volcano beneath the feet. The infuriated ruffians raised the cry “Each man for himself,” and now crowded into the long boat, in which they were accustomed to pass from the ship to the shore, leaving the hulk to her fate.
The hold now roared like some mighty furnace, and still nearly insensible, and wholly incapable of motion, the Forester lay upon the deck. While from the side of the vessel toward the wharves, fast as fear could urge their flight, the disappointed band of plunderers were making their escape, a stout barge impelled by four pair of brawny arms, drew near, coming up from the bay, where vessels were at anchor.
“Give way, men, give way,” shouts a bronzed, bearded figure in the stern sheets. They give way with a will. The flames by this time have found a vent, and are streaming up through the forecastle. The crackling, burning oak, the flaky pine, fall round them in glowing cinders, that hiss as they touch the waters. The ship quivers from keel to kelson, as cask after cask of spirits in the hold ignites and explodes.
Once more, making a last effort, and this time with the blood gushing over his lips, Roger Benbow gives his cry. Two men, the one foremost whom we saw in the stern sheets of the barge, their hair and garments singed by the heat, and their shoes now hot with the melted pitch that oozes from the caulking, respond to that hail. The Forester is at his last extremity, but finds words to respond to the shout,“ Where are you, brother ?” No time is afforded for words, since, at any instant, the deck, charred and burning underneath, may break through and precipitate them into the seething mass below. The wounded man is lifted: another instant and he is in the barge, and now the rowers, blistered with the heat, give way again,
The Forester awoke in the morning to find himself on an English brig in the harbor. Arriving toward evening, and anchored in the bay, the only vessel within hailing distance, her master heard, or thought he heard, from the dismantled hulk, a cry for rescue from a brother of the mystic tie, and hastened at once to the scene of action, with what results we have already seen. Benbow, though fatally wounded, still retained reason and speech. Peter Styles being sent for, on the instant, the dying man made over the precious papers containing the secret of Charity Green, with an hastily-written but amply-witnessed affidavit of the method by which they had passed into his possession, narrating, also, the plot whose consequences were so fearful to the abductor of the child. Then, after giving advice to his friend by which to be guided in returning to the old land, the strength which till now had supported him failed altogether. He babbled of green fields, and was a boy once more, angling for trout in mountain brooks, climbing for birds' nests in the copses, or stripping the hazels of their
milky clusters. He talked of seeing young children about the bedside; then the failing voice grew infantile and low, and, repeating a little prayer, learned in childhood at a mother's knee, he dropped away.
Saved from the perils of the deep, and cager for the pleasures of the shore, the witnesses who beheld the old man's spirit take its flight, stood awed in His presence who loosens the silver chord and breaks the golden bow. At last two brothers,-one by a tie that links a select communion of all nations with mysterious symbols to kindly service of each other against poverty and persecution from human foes, the other bound by that more sacred and immortal bond which unites the followers of the Crucified to all for whom He died,-closed the eyes and performed the last offices which this poor dust demands. Then one repeated the solemn sentence, "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me though he were dead yet shall he live;" and the other responded, "So mote it be, Amen."
It is a wise saying that “The proper study of mankind is man,” but, if one would understand human nature, he must possess not only a sensitive body and an active intellect but a soul made receptive of the Divine Essence, and so quickened in all its finest instincts and noblest elements. Those who would behold the real condition of their fellows must not walk, like the cynic Diogenes, lamp in hand at noon-tide, affecting to be in search of the honesty in whose existence he disbelieves. They must be led by a clear beam of that Supreme Reason which illuminates every man that cometh into the world, kindling the bright meridian and the starless midnight with an equal ray. Those find truth who seek it for the good use which it can be put to; those keep it who apply its principles to making human beings better, wiser and happier; those add to it who yield themselves to self-forgetful labors; and those possess it, increasing to eternity, who give God the glory.
Charles Bloomfield was one of those rare minds gifted in an eminent degree with the faculty of insight. Study with him was a species of divination, using the word not in a heathen but a Christian sense. In books he caught the meaning of the author where others lost themselves on the mere surface of the thought. In an age where all read few discriminate; but soon it became his constant habit to weigh all writings and opinions as they were true or false to the deepest, highest nature. Inheriting a balanced, composite organization, and fixed by principle in central truths, he was neither misled by the reaction which drives earnest yet nar. row minds to the old monastic and ascetic pietism, or by the opposite and more dangerous movement, which produces the revolutionary Iconoclast.
The young man had lived, unconscious of these powerful and rare endowments, dwelling much in contact with nature and its most beautiful forms, in the society of good books and lovely and true-hearted women. Singularly free from the pride of opinion, humble and teachable as a child, yet gifted with indomitable will, he was one whom a profound reader of character might have selected as born to become an interpreter of the truths that pertain to man in his highest duties, interests and relations, whether taking root here or bearing their eternal clusters in the hereafter.
Charles Bloomfield was an Englishman, of the stamp so common in the time when they fought more bravely, thought more clearly and prayed more fervently than at any other, - combining the three in one,- the age of Elizabeth. His true place was amidst that golden cycle which numbered Cudworth, Herbert, Hooker and Henry More amidst its distinguished luminaries. So, when dedicated to the priestly office, he cherished a conception of its nature, which, though perhaps crude and vague, was yet large, lofty and genial.
Acting under the advice of Dr. Hartwell, who perceived that this sterling nature required hardening and tempering by stern contact with the world as it is, on entering into holy orders he obtained the curacy of a parish in the outskirts of a great mannfacturing town, whose duties were chiefly among poor artisans employed in the mills. The effect of this discipline may be inferred by an extract from a letter to that valued friend after a year's experience in this ministry.
“I grew up, at Wingate Hall, thinking earth to be almost