TWO SHIPMATES Page i
THE TWO SHIPMATES.
WILLIAM H. G. KINGSTON,
Author of "The Gilpins and their F :.tiu -:,
"The Log House by the-Lake," "Michael Penguyne," &c.
PUBLISHED UNDER THE DIRECTION OF
THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION,
APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY TOR PROMOTING
Soarietf for Vranatinlg Mristian knotoIrble.
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New York: Pott, Young, & Co.
For the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge
AT THE CLARENDON PRESS,
OXF 0 RD.
THE TWO SHIPMATES.
j" HE stout trading brig "Amity," Samuel
S Mudge. master and part owner, was
S gliding up Plymouth Sound on a sum-
mer's evening towards her accustomed
berth in.Catwater, a few years before
the termination of the last war between
.1. England and France. She had no pilot.
Son board; indeed, her crew averred-that
the old craft could find the way in and out of
the haibour by herself; at all events, her master
knew it better than most men trading from the
port,, as did his young mate, Ralph Michelmmcre.
The last rays of the setting sun were glancing
on the top-gallant mast-heads of the brig when'
her' anchor was dropped, and by the time her sails
were furled and all was made snug the gloom of
6 The Two Skipmates.
night had settled down on the Pool, and twinkling
lights began to appear from the houses on shore.
Youll be wishing to go on shore, my boy,"
said the old master, as Ralph, the duties for the
day over, came into the cabin to join him at tea,
which the boy had just placed on the table.
" There'll be some one who'll be right glad to
see thee, lad;" and the speaker looked up at the
mate, whose handsome countenance beamed with
pleasure, a slight blush rising on it as he an-
Thank you, sir; thank you heartily. I should
very much like to pay Mistress Treviss-and
-and her granddaughter a visit. I had few oppor-
tunities of seeing them when we were last in
port, and as we have been long on this trip they
may be anxious about us. But would not you
prefer going on shore yourself, captain? It's my
duty to remain on board."
No, do you go, as I tell ye," replied the kind
old master. I'll stay on board and look after the
ship. But I say, lad, take your protection with
you. The press-gangs are sure to be out, and
you may chance to fall in with one of them."
"Thank you, sir, I have it here," said Ralph,
producing a tin case from his pocket; and hurriedly
swallowing his tea without sitting down, he went
into his cabin to rig himself in his shore-going.
Ralph's father, the commander of a merchant
vessel, and an old friend and shipmate of Captain
Mudge, had been lost at sea, washed from the
deck in a heavy gale, leaving his wife and young.
Thle Two Shipmates. it
take care of myself; so if you go on I'll follow you,
and you shall see that I'm as sober as a judge,"
answered Dick, and with a laugh he darted into
Ralph, though eager to be with his friends,
waited a minute or more in the hope that he
might come out, and then, as he did not appear,
reluctantly walked on. At length having passed
through the town he reached a small cottage in
the outskirts, with a few yards of garden in front.
Passing through the wicket-gate he stopped for a
moment at the door. The window was partly open,
and he could hear a sweet voice reading. He caught
the words; they were from the Book of Books,
which he had learned to know and value. He was
unwilling to interrupt the reader. She stopped, how-
ever, having come to the end of the chapter. He
knocked. "May I come in?" he asked. "Oh,granny,
it is Ralph!" The words were uttered by the same
person who had just ceased reading, but in a very
different tone. He well knew the sweet voice,
His heart beat quick. He heard the speaker come
flying to the door. In a moment it was opened.
"Jessie, my own dear Jessie!" he exclaimed, as he
pressed the hand of a fair blooming girl who
welcomed him with a bright smile.
I hoped that you might come to-day, and yet
as the hours drew on I began to fear that I might
again be disappointed," she said, as she looked up
affectionately into his face. "How slow the
'Amity' must have sailed."
She is like other craft, not able to make way
without wind, and we had scarcely a cup-full all
i. The Tuo SJpmnidese
the voyage round from the Thames; besides which,
we were detained there much longer than usual;
but she has safely reached port at last," he
answered; adding, as he advanced into the room
towards a neatly-dressed old lady in a high mob-
cap, seated in an arm-chair, with knitting-needles
in her hands and spectacles on her nose,-" And
how is Mrs. Treviss ?"
Ever glad to see thee, dear Ralph," answered
the old lady, trying, not without difficulty, to rise,
till the young man springing forward quietly made
her sit down again. "In spiritual health I am
well-the Lord be praised for all His mercies; but
bodily infirmities creep on apace with old age,
and remind me that my earthly course is well
I hope that you will live many years to be a
blessing to us, granny," said the young sailor,
affectionately, taking her hand.
I am ready to remain if it is the Lord's will,"
she answered. And now tell me, Ralph, how is
good Captain Mudge? 1 hope that he will pay
me a visit before he sails again, as I want much to
talk to him on a matter of importance.'
He is tough and hearty as ever; he will, I am
sure, come and see you," said Ralph.
Mrs. Treviss, however, did not entirely occupy
the young sailor's attention. He and Jessie had a
good deal to say to each other of especial interest
to themselves as they sat side by side, Jessie's
hands having found their way into those of
Ralph. At last Mrs. Treviss reminded her that
their guest might possibly be hungry, and that it
The Two Shzmiales.
was full time for supper, which she, in obedience
to her grandmother, got up-to place on the table.
" How neat-handed and graceful in all her move-
ments she is," thought Ralph, as his eyes followed
her about the room; and they were seldom off the
door watching for her return when she went into
the kitchen to warm up the old dame's posset and
prepare some other viands. Mrs. Treviss took
the opportunity of her absence to speak to Ralph
on a subject which he found especially interesting.
"If I was younger and stronger I would not give
you this advice I am about to do," she said. "I
would say, wait for a few years till you have the
command of a ship, and Jessie is older and better
able than now to keep house and have the cares
of a family, but as I fear my poor son-in-law, her
father, Captain Flamank, will never more be heard
of, and 1 may ere long be called to my rest, she
will have no one in this world to protect her but
you; and so it's my wish that you should marry as
soon as you can manage to spend a few weeks on
"Then that may be at once," exclaimed the
young lover, delighted. "The 'Amity' requires
some repairs, and the captain is much in a mind,
unless a good freight offers, to go into dock, and
his wish to serve me may settle the matter. I
little thought when I came up this evening what
good news you had in store for me; I can never
thank you enough."
S" Nay, Ralph, though I love you, it's my grand-
child's .welfare I have at heart, for I can with
perfect confidence confide her to you," said the old
The Two Shipmales.
lady, taking Ralph's hand and looking him
earnestly in the face. "You will cherish her,
and watch over her, and guard her from all
Indeed I will, if health and strength is given
me," he answered solemnly.
"For that we must trust to God," said Mrs.
Treviss. "All we can do is to exercise the
sense He has given us, and guard against the
dangers we know may occur. I have therefore
made my will, and left the very small property
I possess to Jessie; but most of my income, as
the widow of a warrant-officer killed in action,
ceases at my death, so that as a single woman
she would be but poorly off, though she will
have something to help keep house."
I would as willingly marry her if she had
not a sixpence," exclaimed Ralph, warmly. "More
willingly I could not, but. it would be a satis-
faction to know that I was saving her from
poverty or from having to toil for her living."
"I know you will, Ralph, and I believe you,
so say no more about that," observed Mrs. Treviss.
" If your good captain settles to put the Amity'
into dock, you may perhaps marry some' day
next week. You can ask Jessie, and I don't
think she will say you nay."
Ralph was pouring out his thanks from the
bottom of his heart, with all the ardour of a
young sailor, when Jessie returned. He would,
at once have broached the subject, had not Mrs.
Treviss given him timely warning that by so doing
he would considerably interfere with the supper
The Two Shipmates. I5
arrangements. Jessie therefore went back to the
kitchen and returned several times, unaware of
the interesting conversation which had taken
place, though she might have observed the ani-
mated expression of her lover's countenance.
When all was ready and they sat down to table,
Ralph ate so little that Jessie began to fear he
was unwell, and she at last could not help looking
up affectionately in his face and asking him if
such was the case.
S"Oh, no, I never felt better in my life, Jessie;
and so happy !" he answered.
. Perhaps she herself might just then have had
some suspicion of the truth, for she forgot to eat
any more; and shortly afterwards her granny,
getting up, hobbled out of the room. The young
people were alone, and, as may be supposed, Ralph
did not lose much time in telling Jessie what
Mrs. Treviss had said, and asking her if she would
consent to the arrangement. Jessie was as ready
to obey her granny's wishes as Ralph could desire,
and as he told her there would be no difficulty in
obtaining a licence, she consented to fix the follow-
ing Monday for their wedding-day, if he could, as
he hoped, remain in Plymouth. He was naturally
very sanguine in the expectation of being able to
obtain a holiday. He even thought that, should
the Amity be offered a freight which could not
be refused, Captain Mudge would propose getting
another mate for the voyage, as it was summer
time; not that he should like him to do that.
Jessie thought that Captain Mudge would not
hesitate about having the." Amity" repaired. How
The Two Shipmates.
could he, when so important an event depended
on his decision! At length granny came back
into the room, with a smile on her countenance,
and sitting down in her arm-chair, looked up at
the tall clock in the corner, which had gone
"tick! tick! tick!" unheeded for an hour or
more since supper.
Well, my dears, is it all settled?" she asked.
Yes," answered Ralph. "Jessie has promised
to make me the happiest young fellow alive next
Monday-though I am wonderfully happy for that
matter at present"-and jumping up he kissed
granny's hand and thanked her again and again
for the gift she had bestowed on him, and then
he ran back to Jessie's side.
At that instant there came several thundering
blows on the door from a heavy cudgel, and a
gruff voice cried out "Open in the King's name;"
while another was heard to say in a lower tone,
"Go round to the back and look out that he does
not escape by that way,"
HEN Dick Bracewell entered the tavern,
he intended merely to take a glass of
liquor, just to show his independence,
and then to follow his friend. He, however,
found a shipmate, Tom Joyce, in the bar,. who
easily persuaded him to take a second, followed,
naturally, by a third; and then, his spirits raised,
1Iie Two -Szhin ats'
he was induced to accompany his companion to
a dancing hall attached to a public-house in one
of the back streets not far off. Upwards of fifty
seamen were collected, many of them half-seas-
over, when a press-gang, to whose commanding
officer notice had been given of what was going
forward (very likely by the landlord himself),
rushed in, and, after a severe struggle, captured
the whole of them, including Dick and Tom,
who, having only just fallen into the trap, were
the most sober of the party.
While the more unruly were carried down at
once to the boats, Dick and Tom with a few
others were marched along by the larger part of
the press-gang, who were evidently intent on
making further captures.
The two captives had their wits wide awake,
and were not without hopes of effecting their
The press-gang went on till they reached the
outskirts of the town, when they brought up
before a neat little cottage. Three men were
sent round to the back-door, while five others
advanced to the front entrance and knocked
"That's where Widow Treviss lives; she's not
one to harbour seamen," Dick heard one of the
"Nol Hedger says he marked a prime seaman
go in there not two hours ago," answered another.
It at once occurred to Dick that they were
speaking of Ralph Michelmore.
"Poor fellow! it's where the young girl lives he's
18 The Two Sk mates,
going to marry. If they get hold of him they'll
not mind her tears and prayers, but will carry him
off, like the rest of us, to serve the king. How-
ever he has a protection, and has a chance of
getting off, I hope."
The blow on the door was repeated.
"Open in the King's name," shouted the officer.
"I always obey that authority," answered
dame Treviss, from within. "Ralph, unlock the
The door was thrown open, and the seamen,
led by their officer, rushed in. The old dame
sat calmly in her chair, while Ralph, with Jessie
clinging to his arm, stood in the centre of the
Why have you come here at this time of
the evening, my friends?" asked Mrs. Treviss,
with all the composure she could command.
"Because, old lady, we have information that
you are harbouring seamen wanted for his
Majesty's service, and, if I mistake not, here
stands one of them, and a likely lad too,"
answered the officer, a rough old master's mate,
well accustomed to such work, as he laid his hand
on Ralph's arm and made a sign to his men to
"Oh, no, no! you cannot take him! You will
not be so cruel-you shall not have him," cried
Jessie, clinging tightly to her intended husband.
"Don't be frightened, dear Jessie, they cannot
take me, I have my protection," said Ralph, try-
ing to free himself from the officer's grasp.
"Let go my arm, and I will show you the
Thie Two Shipinates.
paper which proves that I am mate of the 'Amity,'
and a protected man," he added, turning to the
"Never took a fellow yet who didn't try to
make out that he was protected. However, if the
young woman here won't make such a fuss we'll
let you overhaul your pockets for your pro-
Ralph was released, and began to search in
his pockets. Poor Jessie stood by, still
trembling with alarm, and anxiously watching
Oh! you must have it, Ralph," she exclaimed
in a plaintive tone, as she saw that he did not
produce the important document. Oh! let me
try," and she plunged her hands eagerly into his
pockets. She uttered a cry of dismay when it
was not to be found.
I must have forgotten to take it out of my
other jacket when I dressed to come on shore,"
said Ralph; I had it just before I left the brig, I
know. Don't be alarmed, Jessie dear, all will
come right; Captain Mudge will send it to me, or,
if the officer will permit me to go on board, I'll
get it.-I will, indeed, sir," he added, address-
ing the old mate, "and will, on my honour,
return with it to any place you may name; I will,
on my honour."
"That sort of note, I tell you, don't pass cur-
rent with us, my lad," answered the old mate,
more moved perhaps by Jessie's agony of grief
and terror than from his gruff manner and
language might have been supposed. "It's hard
The Two Skipmates.
lines for you, I'll allow, as matters stand, I see;
but cheer up, my good girl, many another man
has had to serve his Majesty for a year or two and
come home with his pockets full of rhino to set
up house. As to the protection, I knew from the
first that was all fudge; so as we've lost too much
time already, palavering about it, come along, my
brave fellow, without more ado." As he spoke he
again seized Ralph by the arm, and three of the
men stepped forward to assist him.
Poor Jessie clung to Ralph frantically, entreat-
ing that he might be allowed to remain. "He
will bring you the paper to-morrow; I can answer
for him, and so can my grandmother. He never
told a falsehood in his life; he would not deceive
even you," she exclaimed. Oh, let him go!
cruel, cruel men !"
"The young man speaks only the truth," said
dame Treviss, trembling with agitation as she
rose from her chair and tottered to her grand-
While two of the men had seized Ralph,
another was about to tear Jessie from him, when
the dame took the poor girl in her arms.
Take off your hands, lads, and I will accom-
pany you without attempting to escape," he said,
and the men releasing, him he bore Jessie to the
little horse-hair sofa, where he placed her by the
dame's side, bestowing on her a loving kiss as he
Having released himself gently from her arms,
"Now I am ready to accompany you, sir," he
said, and walked steadily towards the door. Per-
The Two Skipmates. z1
haps even then the king's officer might have felt
that the merchant seaman was morally his
The dame, fearing that Jessie might be exposed
to some rough treatment should she attempt to
stop Ralph, held her in her arms till he had
reached the door. She cast a fond look at him as
his captors hurried him away.
The door was closed-he was gone! She
listened with aching heart to the retreating steps
of the cruel press-gang as they bore off their
prisoners, till the sound died away in the dis-
tance. In vain her grandmother tried to console
her; a fearful foreboding filled her gentle bosom
that she might never see him more, and she re-
fused to be comforted.
S soon as Ralph Michelmore was in the
road, though he had offered no resistance,
he was roughly thrust into the midst of the
press-gang, who again closed round their prisoners.
The officer called off the men on the watch
at the other side of the house, and gave the
order to proceed back to the boats. They had
not gone far when Ralph felt one of his fellow-
captives stumble up against him, evidently to
attract his attention.
"Hist, old ship! I'd have given a year's wages
rather than have seen you in the hands of the
The Two Shipmanes.
gang," whispered the man, whom he knew at
once to be Dick Bracewell.
"Thank you, Dick," answered Ralph. "I am
vexed with myself for not having brought my
protection with me. I shall however get it to-
morrow, without doubt, so I shall be all right. I
am sorry though to find that you have been
"It's little odds to me where I am, but much
to you whether you keep your liberty, according
to what you told me about that young girl,"
answered Dick, in the same low tone. 'Now,
depend on't, they'll take good care you don't re-
ceive your protection, for I've found out that we
are to-be shipped this very night aboard the 'Fal-
con,' now lying in the Sound, and that she sails
for a foreign station-the East Indies they say-
to-morrow morning. Bless ye, old ship! before
Captain Mudge can bring you your protection we
shall have run the Eddystone out of sight."
This information made Ralph very anxious, for
he had too much reason to fear that it was correct.
Dick fancied that some of the press-gang were
observing him and was silent for some time,
though not idle with his fingers, walking on as if
resigned to his fate. Once more he stumbled,
apparently without intending to do so, against
Hist, mate! you'd like to get your liberty, and
come what may I've made up my mind to help
you," he whispered. "My hands are free. In half
a minute we shall be close to some dark lanes,
and more than one hiding-place I know of. I'll
The Two Shizpmates.
knock the fellow down nearest to you, and then
do you run for it."
I cannot do it, Dick: I promised riot to run,
and I must not break my promise," answered
"Oh, nonsense !" cried Dick: "if those fellows
made you give a promise it's their look out."
"A promise is a promise in God's sight, how-
ever made," said Ralph.
"Then you don't care for the young girl you
talked of marrying," said Dick, again lowering
"I'd give my life for her sake," answered
"That's not the question. Come, here's the
place; say the word and you'll be free," whispered
Dick, not attending to his last remark.
"No, I cannot," answered Ralph firmly.
An obstinate man will have his own way, and
be sorry for it afterwards," exclaimed Dick, in a
tone of vexation. But 1'll see what I can do in
spite of you; there'll be another chance further
Dick staggered on as if he was still half-seas-
over, gradually increasing his distance from Ralph
till he got alongside his friend Tom. The latter
was in no mood for talking, but he listened
eagerly to what Dick had to say.
Aye, give the word, and I'm ready," answered
Tom, after listening for some time; "only just
help me to get my hands out of limbo."
Dick had managed to liberate his own hands,
gnd it was the work pf a moment to free his com-
Tile Two. Ski5rnnaes.
panion's, the darkness preventing their guards
from observing them.
They had by this time reached a street close
to the water, though at some distance from where
the boats were waiting. Suddenly the press-gang
were assailed by the wildest shrieks and cries and
showers of abuse, uttered by a number of women
and boys, who rushed out from some narrow
courts or other places where they had been con-
cealed, They did not confine their attack t6
words, but, supported by some men, who however
kept at a safe distance behind them, they opened
a volley of brickbats and stones at the heads of
the sailors. The latter turned to defend them-
selves and drive off their assailants, who nimbly
retreated, when pursued, in all directions, re-
doubling their shrieks and cries. The officer,
well knowing the object of the attack, shouted to
his men to stand fast; but some amid the din
did not understand what he said, and few were
willing to obey his orders.
Tom, whose hands had been freed, tripped up
the man nearest him, and dashed down the street
towards the water, followed by two of the press-
"Now's your time, mate," cried Dick, seizing
Ralph by the arm; "come along."
"I cannot," answered Ralph, firmly; "I pro-
mised to remain. Save yourself if you can."
You're a fool, then," exclaimed Dick, and,
springing past some of the press-gang attacked
by those in front, he dashed through the crowd.
He was however pursued, and quickly brought back.
The Two Szipnmafes.
Luck's against me, hearties, but I'm not the
lad to pipe my eye," he exclaimed, in a tone of
bravado. "Just give me another chance, and I'll
show you who has the fastest pair of heels."
The sailors laughed at Dick's sally, and thought
him a hearty good fellow, though they did not
neglect, for all that, to lash his hands more
securely than at first.
In the meantime Tom had reached the wharf,
but finding one side blocked up, had doubled, in
the hope of escaping in another direction, when
he saw two of the press-gang close to him. Nu-
merous vessels of all sizes lay in the harbour.
Dread of having to serve on board of a man-of-
war made him desperate. Without hesitation he
plunged into the water, and swam off, hoping to
reach one of the vessels, on board which he might
be received and concealed. His pursuers, expect-
ing a flogging should he escape, dashed in after
him. The heads of the three men could scarcely
be discerned when the officer, with the main
body, reached the quay. In vain he shouted to
Tom to return and not to risk his life, while he
ordered some of his men to push off in a boat and
overtake the swimmers. No boat was however
to be found afloat in the neighbourhood. Some
were hauled up on a slip, but they were under
repair, and no oars were in them. The people
who had been mobbing the press-gang had col-
lected on the quay, keeping at a safe distance, and
they now uttered cries of encouragement to Tom
to persevere, while they hurled execrations on the
heads of his pursuers; their voices, joined with
The Two Shipmates.
those of the shouting seamen, creating the wildest
possible uproar. In a short time the splash of
oars was heard, and a boat was dimly seen at
some distance from the shore. The officer
shouted to the people in her to take his men on
board, but his orders were unheeded.
Almost within hail lay the "Amity." Could
Ralph once get on board her he was safe. At
that moment he caught sight of a lad running by.
"Here, boy," he cried out, in spite of the
growls of some of the press-gang near him,
"there's a golden guinea for you if you'll get
aboard the 'Amity,' tell Captain Mudge that his
mate, Ralph Michelmore, has been pressed, and
ask him to bring my protection, which he will
find in my jacket pocket, on board the 'Falcon.'
She sails to-morrow early, so there is no time to
be lost; or if you can get off at once, and you
shall have thirty shillings if you do, he may over-
take us before we reach the boats."
"Trust me, mate," answered the lad, a sharp
young mud-larker. I should just like the feel of a
little earnest-money, though, to show that I am
not being sent on a fool's errand."
The seamen laughed, and told the boy that such
was very likely to be the case. Ralph however
found a crown piece in his pocket.
"Here, my lad," he said, giving it to the boy,
"notwithstanding what they say, I will trust you.
What's your name, that I may know you again ?"
I'm sometimes called Peter Puddle, and some-
times Muddy Legs, and all sorts of names for that
matter; but I'm no ways particular,"
The Two S/hpmates.
"Well then, Peter Puddle, be smart about it,
and gain the rest of your reward," said Ralph.
The lad, with a shout of delight, taking the
money, ran off, and Ralph was left in doubt
whether or not he would fulfil his commission.
The sailors laughed even more than before,
"It's easy to see who's the fool now," observed
one of them.
The attention of the party was however
quickly recalled to what was going forward in the
harbour. The boat before seen could be dis-
cerned dimly in the distance through the gloom,
and from the same direction there came the
sound of oars splashing, or people struggling in
the water, and loud cries and shouts mingled
with fierce oaths, while now a piercing cry rang
through the night air. Some of the press-gang
were eager to jump in and swim to their ship-
mates' assistance, but the officer forbade them,
ordering three or four to make another search for
a boat. At length the sounds of struggling
ceased, but which party had been defeated it was
impossible to ascertain.
The sound of oars in the water was now heard,
and a boat was observed slowly approaching the
shore. She reached at length the jetty near
which the man-of-war's men were standing.
Some of them went down to meet her, and a
shout proclaimed that their shipmates had re-
turned, though without a prisoner. The two men
were lifted out of the boat, not having strength
to walk. Their arms and shoulders were fearfully
battered and bruised, and the head of one of them
The Two Sk iimazes.
was cut open. They had reached the boat, when
they were attacked by the men in her with oars
and stretchers, and they would have been drowned
had they not got hold of the gunwale, and, in
spite of opposition, clambered on board, and after
a desperate struggle turned the occupants out, just
at the moment that another boat came up. The
men, they believed, had been taken on board her,
as had, they supposed, the escaped prisoner; and at
all events, she had made off and got out of sight.
Followed by a collection of men, women, and
boys, still shouting and hurling abuse at them, the
press-gang, moving on, at length reached the
boats. Ralph and Dick were among the first not
over gently hauled on board; the rest of the cap-
tives were as quickly as possible shoved in after
them; a strong party of the press-gang remaining
on shore to keep back the mob, which seemed
inclined to make a rush at the last, for the
purpose of rescuing some of their friends. Their
courage however failed them. The last of the man-
of-war's men leaped on board, the order to shove
off was given, and the boats proceeded down the
Sound, followed by the yells and execrations of
the people on shore.
"They'll hurt their own throats more than they
do us," observed an old seaman who was pulling
at the thwart on which Ralph and Dick sat. "It's
hard lines though, you think, for yourselves,
mates, I daresay, but before long you'll be used to
a life aboard a man-of-war, and be as ready to
press others as we were to press you."
"Justice is justice, and I shall never think it
The Two Shipmates. 9.
right to press men against their will," answered
Ralph. "I however hope to be free to-morrow,
as I have a protection which will be brought on
board to me."
"Don't count too much on that, mate," said
the old sailor; "when they've got a man, they're
not in a rimind to let him go. It's wisest to make
the best of a bad job, and that's what I advise you
to do, my hearty."
If I had only myself to think of, I would," said
Ralph, liking the tone of the old sailor's voice;
C but I was to be married next week, and it's bitter
hard to be parted from the girl one loves, and harder
for her." Ralph's voice trembled as he spoke.
"Aye, mate, hard, very hard!" answered the
old sailor, in a sympathising tone; "I know what
it is. I was pressed the very day I had married
as sweet a young girl, and as good too, as an
honest man would wish to have for his wife. I
had five years of it out round the Cape without
ever hearing a word of her, but I knew she would
be true to me, and that kept my heart up. I got
home at last, with plenty of prize money to set
up house, but she was gone. They showed me
her grave. It might have been worse-I know
that-still it seemed as if the life had been crushed
out of me. I left my money with her childless
mother, and volunteered aboard the first ship I
heard of fitting out for a foreign station. Frori
that day to this I've been at sea, turned over from
one ship to another, and never saved a sixpence.
I wish I had. I'd have got your discharge, that I
would, if money could have done it."
The Two Shpi.Pwalo.
"Thank ye, from the bottom of my heart, old
friend," said Ralph, warmly. "Maybe I shall get
my protection paper in time, and be set free."
"Wish I could say I thought so. But you'll
know at least that there's one aboard the Falcon'
who can feel for you, and that's something; aye,
and will stand your friend if there's a chance.
Cheer up! cheer up! Here we are, close alongside
The pressed men, with Ralph and Dick among
them, were sent down to the lower deck, and placed
under charge of a sentry. They were allowed to
stretch themselves on (as Dick, while bemoaning
his fate, remarked) "the softest planks they could
find," for the remainder of the night.
It seemed but a moment after Ralph had at
length fallen asleep, that he heard the boatswain's
shrill whistle and the deep rough voices of his mates
rousing up all hands, while the pale light of early
morning streamed down through the hatchways.
The next cry which reached him was, "Hands
aloft; loose sails." Other orders were issued; he
knew too well their meaning: preparations were
being made for immediately putting to sea.
)OOR Jessie had wished at once to hasten on
board the "Amity," to obtain the assistance
of Captain Mudge, and to get Ralph's pro-
tection, but her grandmother persuaded her to
VAe Thiw Skipipzates.
remain till the morning, as, not knowing where
Ralph had been carried, she was sure nothing
could be done till then.
Daylight came at length, and Jessie, receiving
a'loving embrace from her grandmother, set out.
With a prayer for her safety, Mrs. Treviss
watched the young girl, who, like a bird released
from its cage, flew rather than walked, as she
made her way in the grey light of the early
morn in the direction of the port.
At last she reached the landing-place, some way
off which Ralph had told her the "Amity," lay.
There were several boats made fast to the shore,
or moored off it; but no watermen were about.
In vain she looked along the quays on either
hand; no one was stirring. Here and there, on
board some of the vessels, men were seen just
coming up the fore hatchways on deck, but they
were too far off to hear her voice had she called to
them She felt ready to give way to tears at the
delay, when every moment might be so precious.
At length she saw, through the veil of morning
mist which still hung over the mirror-like surface
of the harbour, a small boat approaching the
landing-place. A boy was paddling her at his
ease, singing as he slowly dipped his oars in the
water. She hurried down to meet him as, stand-
ing up, he gave a few more strokes and brought
the boat to shore.
Well, Miss, what's it you want?" he asked.
Oh, boy, will you take me off to the 'Amity'?"
said Jessie. She lies not far away from the shore,
and I will pay you well."
3 'The Two Shzpmates.
"Now that is curious," exclaimed the lad, the
same Peter Puddle by name to whom Ralph had
entrusted his important commission. "I was to
have gone aboard her for a young chap who was
pressed last night and had left his protection
behind him, but I got another job and couldn't,
though I am going when I've had breakfast."
"Pray take me off at once, for every moment
may be of consequence," cried Jessie. I want to
see the captain about the same young man, and he
will, I am sure, give you some breakfast."
Well, step in, Miss, then," said Peter, offering
his hand to help her, while he kept the boat close
to the shore with his boat-hook. "I thought
might be that the skipper would just hear what
I'd got to say, and then kick me down the side
again, as the chances are, many I've met with
"Oh no! no! Captain Mudge will treat you
kindly and reward you for the trouble you have
taken," said Jessie, as Peter began to pull away
from the shore.
As to trouble, Miss, I can't boast much of that,
seeing 1 didn't go when I said I would," answered
Peter, in a greatly changed tone. I like you, for
you speak kindly to me; and I'm sorry I didn't go
when I promised; for, as you say, Miss, there's no
time to be lost. He was taken aboard the 'Falcon,'
and she is to sail this morning for the Indies, so
that if he goes in her he wont be back again for
many a long year."
This information increased poor Jessie's agita-
tion and anxiety. Fortunately the boat was soon
21w Two Shizaz'eJ's.
alongside the "Amity:" Peter hailed the deck. One
of the crew looked over the side, and seeing
Jessie, called the captain, who quickly made his
appearance, while in the meantime the accommo-
dation ladder had been lowered.
"What brings you here at this hour, my dear
girl ?" he exclaimed, with a look of anxiety in his
countenance as he descended the ladder to help
Jessie up the side. "Has anything happened to
"Oh, yes, Captain Mudge; he has been pressed,
and will be carried off to sea if we do not take
him his protection," answered Jessie as she reached
the deck, no longer able to restrain her tears.
"That boy knows all about it."
Peter Puddle was called up, and gave the mes-
sage he had received from Ralph with sufficient
"No time to be lost indeed," exclaimed the
captain. "Dear me! dear me! poor Ralph! We'll
make our way down the harbour as fast as sails
and oars will send us along, and save him if we
can. Lower the boat, lads, and take your break-
fasts with you."
Jessie, in spite of her anxiety, did not forget her
promise to Peter; and the captain told him to go
forward and get some food, which Toby Trott,
the cabin boy, would give him. Peter pulled one
kof 'hi: shaggy locks and hastened to the caboose,
v here the cook was busy blowing up the fire, the
grey smoke from which had just begun to curl in
light wreaths towards the blue sky. In the mean-
time Jessie accompanied the captain into the cabin,
34 The Two Shipmates.
"I reminded him to take his protection just as
he was going ashore. He must have lost it, I fear,
on his way," observed the latter.
But Jessie was not so easily convinced of that.
She hurried down to Ralph's berth, and eagerly
put her hand into one of the pockets of his jacket
hanging up inside the door; her countenance fell.
She tried the other pocket; "Yes, here it is!" she
exclaimed in a joyful tone, drawing out a tin case
and examining it. "Oh, Captain Mudge, let us
go with it at once."
"As soon as you have had a cup of coffee, my
dear girl; I cannot let you start without that,"
answered the kind old captain. Careless fellow!
I am angry with him for giving you so much
anxiety; but the fright he has had will be punish-
ment enough you think, I daresay. Come, come,
Jessie, don't cry; any man might have done the
same. He just forgot in his eagerness to see you
that he had changed his jacket.-Here comes the
coffee." The captain poured out a cup for her,
but she could only take a few sips, while he hur-
riedly swallowed his breakfast. The boat was
soon ready. Jessie was handed into her, and
the old captain taking his seat, with four stout
hands to row, they shoved off from the vessel's
side. They had got to a short distance off,
when Peter Puddle looked over the bulwarks.
"'Mind the mate of the sovereign he promised,''
he shouted. "I'll stay aboard till you come
Never fear, lad ; you'll get it if he is set free,"
answered the captain.
The Two Shipmates. 35
"Oh! he must, he will be freed," cried poor
Jessie, who did not like the captain's "if."
"I hope so, my dear girl, but we must be
prepared for disappointment," he said, in a sooth-
ing tone. "I have had a good deal in my time,
though I know that God orders all for the best,
and He has given me strength to bear it." He
spoke for some time in the same strain. "It's
still a dead calm, and the ship cannot sail without
a breeze, though all the Lords of the Admiralty
were to order her to get under weigh, that's one
comfort," he continued. "So cheer up, Jessie,
cheer up." The boat had got out of the Catwater,
and was making good progress down the smooth
waters of the Sound, with its high, richly-wooded
shores on either side. Far ahead, at the entrance
of the harbour, lay several ships-of-war and a fleet
of merchantmen. The topsails of the largest, as
well as those of the merchant vessels, were loosed
and hung in the brails, and Blue-peter was flying
from their mast-heads. It was evident that they
were prepared for sea. Poor Jessie's anxiety
increased. Now and anon a catspaw had passed
across the mirror-like surface of the water, just
rippling it for an instant, and then leaving it
again placid as before. Others now followed in
quick succession. The sails and flags of the ships,
hitherto hanging listlessly against the masts, began
Ito blow out, and a vessel close-hauled was seen in
the offing gliding quickly across the mouth of the
"Step the mast, lads," said the captain; "we
shall feel the breeze presently, and the canvas
36 The Two S/ipmates.
will help us along. Keep the oars going, though."
The sail was quickly hoisted and rigged out with
a boat-hook, while the sheet was passed aft to the
captain. The crew pulled more lustily than ever,
for they saw that the frigate was preparing to
sail, and were eager to rescue their mate, who
was beloved by all of them. The breeze every
moment increased. Poor Jessie, unable to speak
from anxiety, her heart sinking within her, kept
her eyes fixed on the ships, while the captain
every now and then bent down to look at them
under the foot of the sail. "In oars, lads," he
said at length, for the boat was skimming so fast
over the water that they were of no further use.
Still the wind blew stronger and stronger. They
were within half a mile of the frigate. The loud
sound of a gun fired from her side boomed over
the water; it was followed by another-the signal
for weighing. The head-sails of the merchantmen
were sheeted home, and in quick succession their
bows turned seaward and they glided away from
their anchorage. The "Falcon" had not yet moved.
They were now so near the frigate that the men
in the tops and on the yards and swarming up the
rigging could clearly be distinguished, while the
boatswain's shrill whistle and the voices of the
officers were distinctly heard. A groan escaped
from the old captain's breast as the head-sails
were let fall and sheeted home. The yards,
hitherto backed against the mast, were swung
round, and the huge anchor appeared rising above
the water. Poor Jessie uttered a cry of grief, for
she understood too well that there was now no
The Two Shiiznales.
hope of ever getting alongside. At that instant
a person was seen to spring into the main
rigging; Jessie held out her hands to him-it was
Ralph. He must have recognized the boat as she
approached. He waved a farewell to Jessie. No
words reached her ear; but she saw, or fancied
that she saw, his lips moving. Standing up she
seemed as if about to spring towards her intended
husband, but the old captain holding her back, she
uttered a piercing cry and sank down senseless in
his arms. He could not tell whether Ralph had
seen what had happened; he had indeed enough
to do in attending to Jessie and steering the boat.
Recollecting the protection, he held up the case
containing it; but it was unnoticed, or at all
events unheeded. He heard one of his seamen
remark, Now's his time! If he was to slip over-
board and swim to us, we'd pick him up fast
enough, and they'd not heave-to to send after
him." The sailors in the boat beckoned eagerly to
Ralph, who could not have misunderstood their
signals. The temptation to him must have been
very great; but whether or not he intended to
make the attempt they could not tell, for at that
moment three men sprang into the rigging and he
was dragged down on deck out of sight.
Happily for Jessie, she did not see what had
occurred. The ship had paid off before the wind
_ and was rapidly gathering way: her after-sails
were let fall, her top-gallant sails hoisted, and
under a crowd of canvas she majestically glided
out of the Sound.
The boat had got a considerable way up the
The Two Shipmates.
harbour before Jessie gave signs of returning
consciousness. The old captain sat watching her
with the affectionate care of a father. With a
deep sigh she at length recovered, and a flood of
tears relieved her aching heart. She turned her
eyes seaward and gazed long and steadfastly at
the proud ship which bore Ralph away, till the
man-of-war could no longer be distinguished from
the crowd of other vessels which surrounded her.
The good old captain could fully sympathise with
her in her grief, for he himself felt very sad at
having his mate, whom he loved as a son, taken
so unjustly away from him.
As the boat passed the "Amity," Peter Puddle
looked over the side and hailed, Hav'n't you got
the mate in ?"
The captain shook his head.
"Then I've lost my guinea," cried Peter; but
I mind more about the mate, that I do."
Never mind your guinea, lad. I'll see after
you. Stay on board till I come back," answered
They soon reached the shore. Captain Mudge
insisted on escorting Jessie home, for he could not
bring himself to leave her till he had seen her safe
with her grandmother, who would, he fancied,
comfort her better than he could. On reaching
home, Jessie, throwing herself into her granny's
arms, gave way to her tears.
It will do her good, and Ralph won't find fault
with her when he hears of it," observed the
old captain. "Fine young man, that mate of
nine, Mrs. Treviss. He's a great loss to me, no
The Two Shipmates.
doubt about that; but it may turn out for his
good after all. Shouldn't be surprised, as I said
to Jessie just now, if he was to come back an
officer in his Majesty's Service. He'd not be the
first pressed man who has risen to be an admiral.
We can all pray for him too, you know, Mrs.
Treviss; and that's a great comfort, isn't it ?"
Jessie in a short time became calm again, and
even looked up and smiled at her kind old friend.
Captain Mudge had a good deal of business to
attend to, so after a short chat, promising to
return soon to see how they were getting on, he
took his departure.
HE Falcon sailed down Channel with her
convoy of merchantmen. She was to see
them safe across the Atlantic to different
ports in the West Indies, and then to proceed on
her voyage to the East.
Early in the morning, Ralph, with the other
pressed men, had been sent up on deck and their
names duly entered in the ship's books. Still he
had a lingering hope that Captain Mudge would
come off in time with the protection. How
cruelly that hope was disappointed has been seen.
With intense anxiety he had watched for the
boat: he had seen her at length approaching.
Already the capstan had been manned, and the
men were tramping round against the pawls, the
40 The Two Siplmates.
fifes playing merrily, to run the anchor up to the
bows. While stationed at the foretop-sail braces,
as he looked through a port he had recognized
Jessie in the "Amity's" boat. The temptation to
bid her farewell was greater than he could resist.
The brace was belayed: he sprang into the
rigging that Jessie might see him. A midship-
man observing the boat, and thinking that he
was about to spring overboard to her, ordered
him to be seized, and suddenly he found him-
self dragged down on deck and placed under
charge of the master-at-arms for attempting to
Ralph had now more reason than ever to be cast
down. The offence with which he was charged
was a serious one, yet the consciousness that he
had no intention of committing it supported him.
For long he was kept in suspense, while the ship
with her attendant merchantmen was making an
offing from the land before shaping a course down
Channel. At length he was conducted between
two marines to the .quarter-deck, where Captain
Shortland and his officers were standing and a
large portion of the crew were assembled.
"I must have you understand, my lads, that I
intend to maintain strict discipline on board this
ship. I shall have an eye on those who do their
duty, and on those who neglect it. I never
forgive an offence, and shall severely punish
drunkenness, insubordination, and desertion or
attempt at desertion: and I intend to make an
example of the man who was, I am informed,
about to try to desert from the ship." And the
The Two S/zinlades.
captain looked at Ralph, who stood between his
guards. All eyes were turned towards him.
"What is his name?" asked the captain of the
first lieutenant. On being told, he continued,
"Ralph Michelmore, after having entered as one
of this ship's company, you were about to desert
to a boat which had come off to receive you, and
I shall give you two dozen lashes as a warning to
yourself and others for the future."
had no intention of deserting, sir," answered
Ralph, firmly. "The boat brought off the master
of the brig to which I belong, with my protection,
and I could easily have slipped through a port had
I wished it."
"And I can say, sir, that Ralph Michelmore
speaks the truth. He's an old shipmate of mine,
and I never heard him tell the shadow of a lie,"
said Dick Bracewell, stepping aft and doffing his
hat. "He could have made his escape before he
was brought aboard if he'd had a mind to do it,
but he wouldn't because he'd passed his word that
he'd stay quiet, and the officer who pressed us
knows it and can say so if he likes."
The old mate who had commanded the press-
gang, and was now attending to his duties on the
lower deck, was sent for, and at once corroborated
what Dick had said, explaining at the same time
the circumstances of Ralph's capture.
"I believe you, and you may return to your
duty," said the captain, looking at Ralph. For
your sake I am sorry that you were pressed, though
Iam glad to have got so smart a seaman as you
appear to be; and if you turn out as I expect, you
42 The Two Skipmates.
may have no reason to regret that you were com-,
pelled to join this ship. Pipe down."
The men went below or forward to their re-
"Well, my lad," said the old sailor who had
spoken to Ralph in the boat coming up to him,
" I'm right glad you've got out of that scrape, and,
as I said afore, if ever you want a friend you'll find
Jacob Crane a staunch one. I can feel for you,
lad; I can feel for you."
"Thank you, Jacob," answered Ralph, putting
out his hand to grasp that of the speaker, who
wrung his heartily.
"Have you ever before served in a King's
ship ?" asked Jacob.
No, I have never so much as been on board
one before," said Ralph.
Then I can be of use to you in putting you
up to a thing or two," said old Jacob, and forth-
with he began to explain the way in which the
duty was carried on.
Ralph listened attentively, and made such good
use of the knowledge he had gained that he was
able from the first to do his duty as well as any
one. He was fortunately stationed at the gun of
which Jacob was captain, and the old sailor took
pains to instruct him in handling it. Naval
gunnery not being in those days the art it has
since become he was soon a proficient.
"How, my lad, came you to say that you have
never before served on board a man-of-war?"
asked the first lieutenant one days observing his
The Two Shipmates. 43
"Nor have I, sir," answered Ralph, touching his
hat. "I never handled a gun before I joined this
"You do very well then, and may look out for
a higher rating before long," observed Mr. Handsel,
This remark somewhat raised Ralph's spirits.
The captain himself had observed his activity and
neat appearance, and the thorough way in which
he did everything to which he put his hand. One
day the signal-man was on the sick-list. The
post is a responsible one when a number of ships
are sailing in company, as a watch has to be kept
on the whole fleet and signals constantly made
and answered. The captain sent for Ralph, and
after a few questions directed him to attend to the
duty. He performed it with his usual attention
and intelligence. -It kept him also on the quarter-
deck and under the eyes of the officers. As is
customary, the midshipmen assembled under the
master each day at noon and at other periods
with their sextants or quadrants to take observa-
tions. Some of the younger ones Ralph remarked
handled their instruments rather clumsily, and
evidently did not understand their use.
"I say, Dickenson, for the life of me I cannot
manage to shoot the old sun with this thing, it
only puts my eyes out; and yesterday again my
day's work was all wrong somehow or other," said
Mr. Paul Chandos, a youngster who had just come
to sea, to another midshipman who had also not
been many months in the Navy.
"I'm sure I can't help you," answered Dick-
The Two Shiijales.
enson, a gawky lad, with a hopeless glance at his
quadrant. "It seems a very useless expenditure
of our valuable eyesight when it's the proper
business of the master, and those fellows the
master's assistants, to find out whereabouts the
"Still, I should like to know how to use this thing
properly, for the captain is sure to find out if I
don't; and besides, some day I may have command
of a vessel, and I should look very foolish if I
didn't know how to find my way in her," said
young Chandos, putting the quadrant to his eye
and imitating the master, who with the rest of the
midshipmen stood at some distance off.
It will be so long before either of us have that
chance that I don't intend to trouble myself about
the matter," answered the other midshipman,
swinging his quadrant backwards and forwards
as if he felt inclined to throw it overboard. Still
"If you like, I shall be happy to show you
how to take an observation and the way to work
it out," said Ralph, touching his hat, though he felt
more compassion than respect for the youngster.
I wish you would, Michelmore," answered
young Chandos, in a grateful tone; I have been
bothering away day after day and haven't liked to
ask any one."
Ralph took the quadrant, and having first placed
it to his own eye, made Chandos hold it while he
showed him how to use it, and to watch for the
moment when the lower edge of the sun seemed
to touch the horizon before it rose again.
The Two Shipmates. 45
There-there-I never saw it do that before,"
exclaimed the young midshipman. "Thank you,
Michelmore, you are a good fellow: and now just
work it out for me in this pocket-book, will
Ralph, having in the meantime taken a glance
round at the different ships of the fleet, very
rapidly in a few figures did as requested.
It happened that the captain had just before
come on deck, and, unnoticed, was an observer of
the scene. He had remarked too the way in which
Ralph had assisted the youngster without neglect-
ing his proper duty. The master and his assistants
with the rest of the midshipmen had taken their
instruments below when he went aft to where
Ralph was standing. "I see, Michelmore, you
know how to take a meridional observation," he
observed. "Do you understand much of naviga-
I take an interest in the study, sir, and am
considered a fair navigator," answered Ralph,
Have you made many voyages ?" asked the
Several,-sir, up the Mediterranean, to Lisbon,
Madeira, and the Baltic as mate," said Ralph.
You consider yourself competent then to navi-
gate a vessel in any part of the world," observed
the captain, after a short pause.
"'Yes, sir, I should have no fears as to.. the
correctness of my observations," answered Ralph,
modestly, though he spoke with confidence.
"I will consider what can be done, and will not
46 The Two S: ".:'..
lose sight of you," observed the captain, walking
There were grumblers and discontented men,
as there are on board most ships. Dick Bracewell
was among them. He soon got tired of the strict
discipline, grumbled at being compelled to turn
out neatly-dressed and clean, and at being only
allowed to smoke his pipe at certain times and in
one part of the ship, and more than all at having
his grog stopped or being compelled to drink it
mixed with nine parts of water when he had
neglected his duties or broken through any regu-
lations, as was not unfrequently the case. Having
had a good deal of money in his pocket when
pressed, he was able to buy from others their
allowance of grog.
At length one evening when Ralph went below,
to his sorrow he found his old shipmate unusually
uproarious, now singing and shouting, now ready
to quarrel and fight with any one who interfered
with him. Ralph was doing his best to get him
to sit down quietly by himself, when the hammocks
were piped below and the men sprang up on deck
to bring them down from the hammock-nettings.
"I'm off for mine," cried Dick, getting on his legs
and staggering along the deck. I look as sober
as a judge, whatever I may be, though I feel very
jolly." Ralph tried to stop him, but Dick breaking
from his friend scrambled up the ladder, shouting
out, I'm a free man, and no one shall stop me
from doing what I choose." His shouts drew the
attention of one of the officers towards him. He
was ordered aft with his hammock, carrying which
Th? Twbo Skipmazes.
he went staggering along till he rolled over with
it on the deck. In vain he tried to get on his
feet, so he lay still, with just enough consciousness
left to know that he was in a sad scrape, without
a chance of getting out of it till his back and the
cat had become acquainted. The officer of the
watch, knowing that it would be useless to speak
to him, sent for two marines, between whom he
was taken below and forthwith placed in irons,
thus to remain till he had recovered his senses.
The inevitable consequence followed. The next
morning Dick received two dozen lashes as a
punishment for drunkenness.
Dick, who had been one of the merriest fellows
on board, now became morose and surly, even to
his best friends; and as the men were afraid of
selling him their liquor, he could not drown his
care, as he would have tried to do had he been
able. "Don't talk to me, Ralph," he said one day
when his old shipmate was trying to arouse him
to a better state of mind. I'm determined to
take French leave, and you're not the man I think
you if you try to stop me."
"I have always been your friend, Dick, and I
should prove that I am so still if I prevented you
from doing a mad thing which would be sure to
bring you into a worse condition than you are
now. You would most probably be retaken, or
should you escape you would to a certainty get
drunk, spend all your money, and be left a beggar
in a strange land."
I've a notion that I can take as- good care of
myself as you or any other man, though you have
Til Twoc S/tplmales.
been mate of the 'Amity,' and expect some day to
walk the quarter-deck of this ship," answered Dick
with a scornful laugh, his old feeling of envy of
Ralph reviving in his mind. "I shall have to
touch my hat and 'sir' you while you top the officer
over me. Ha! ha! ha!"
Ralph had some time before while in friendly
converse, somewhat incautiously perhaps, expressed
his hopes to Dick, who then seemed cordially to
sympathise with him. He felt hurt at Dick's
remark, though not the less anxious to serve him.
Before he could reply the boatswain's whistle was
heard, and the crew were piped on deck to muster
No one was allowed to be idle on board. The
men were constantly exercised at the guns, or in
the use of the small arms, or in shortening and
making sail, the frigate sometimes dropping astern
to whip up the laggards, then crowding on again
to recover her former position in the van of the
fleet. Ralph was now regularly employed as a
signalman. While he was thus constantly on the
quarter-deck, not only young Chandos but several
of the other midshipmen were glad to get his
assistance in taking observations and in working
out their day's work. The master was glad to be
relieved of the trouble of instructing them, and
the captain was pleased to encourage the young
man and to give him an opportunity of keeping
up his knowledge.
Old Jacob Crane also congratulated him on his
good prospects. "I'm glad to think don't, lad,"
he said in a hearty tone. You've the right stuff
The Two Shipmates, 49
in you, and you've what's better than all, a firm
trust in God and a wish to do your duty in His
sight. You'll do well wherever you are. I've
never seen men like you fail."
In saying that you unjustly condemn yourself,
I suspect," observed Ralph.
No, not unjustly," answered Jacob. "I did not
understand that truth in my younger days, and
only' learned it of late years, when too late to do
much towards altering my condition among my
fellow-men. Mind, I don't say that I'm not
much the better for it even now, for I'm happy
and contented and fear no evil; but I remember
what the Bible says, 'Honour thy Creator in the
days of thy youth.' Those who do not, have
bitterly to regret it when they grow old, even
though they then learn to know and serve Him,
The sins of our youth find us out, there is no
doubt about that; and I envy you, Michelmore,
who will not have to look back to the many
misspent years that I do."
It was now Ralph's part to direct his friend to
the only sure source of comfort-God's loving
message to man, as found in His Word, 'The
blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin,"
when by loving obedient faith the sinner takes
hold of the promises. Thus the one assisted the
other. Ralph indeed required support. Jessie was
never out of his mind. Her granny was old and
infirm, and might soon be taken from her; and
then, should Captain Mudge be away, what would
she do ? She has not, that I know of, dear girl,
a friend on whom she can depend," thought. Ralph.
o5 The Two Shipmates.
" Yes, she and I have One in heaven on Whom
we both rely. To Him I will pray for her, as
she will I know for me." Earnestly and faithfully
Ralph did pray, and he did not fail to obtain that
answer which true prayer always receives. He
was supported, and his heart comforted.
The fleet was now approaching Jamaica, and
Ralph was more actively than ever engaged in
making and answering, signals. Port-Royal, to
which most of the ships were bound, was reached
at length, when another man-of-war took charge
of the rest to escort them to their destinations.
Dick had not concealed from those he could
trust his intention of deserting. Ralph had
done his utmost to dissuade him from his foolish
intentions, and though he would not inform the
officers, had determined to keep a watch over his
friend and stop him if he could. A boat, which
came alongside directly the frigate dropped anchor,
brought the news that the yellow fever was raging
on shore, with orders that no one should leave the
"You have lost your chance, Dick, and I am
glad of it," said Ralph.
Not so sure of that," answered Dick; I'm a
pretty good swimmer, and can make my way on
shore if I've a mind for it."
Don't be so mad, Dick, as even to think of
such a thing," said Ralph. "Haven't you heard of
Port-Royal Jack, the big shark? He will be sure
to catch you if you make the attempt,"
Dick looked incredulous, but the accounts he
heard from his other shipmates of the number of
The Two Shipmates. 51
people' Port Royal Jack had swallowed made
him hesitate about putting his resolve into exe-
The next day the frigate, having taken in fresh
provisions and water, put to sea, and Ralph hoped
that Dick would be in a better mind before they
again entered a port.
HE Falcon" had got some way to the south
of the Line. Ralph was now a quarter-
master, a position in which only seamen
of merit and experience are placed.
It was night, and unusually dark for that lati-
tude. A gentle breeze filled the frigate's canvas
as she glided over the calm ocean with the wind
on the larboard quarter. Ralph was in the watch
on deck, stationed near the man at the helm.
Now he glanced his eyes aloft to ascertain that
the sails drew properly, now at the binnacle to
see that the proper course was kept; then he took
a look on either side round the horizon.
Ralph had turned his eyes to the south-east,
when he observed a vivid flash. It looked like
lightning. Another and another flash followed
in quick succession. He made his report to the
officer of the watch. The flashes continued.
There could be no doubt about the matter, an
action was taking place. A midshipman was
sent to inform the captain. As soon as he came
The Two Shipmnats.
on deck all hands were called and the yards braced
up, a course was steered which would carry the
frigate to windward of the combatants. There
could be no doubt one of them was English, and
if the smaller of the two, the appearance of the
"Falcon" would probably turn the tables. In the
meantime the drums beat to quarters and the
usual preparations were rapidly made for battle.
Till near enough for the night-signals to be dis-
tinguished it was important that their approach
should not be discovered, as it was as likely to dis-
courage a friend'as to overawe a foe, or what was
of more consequence, might induce a foe to try
and escape. All lights on board were therefore
carefully shaded as the frigate stood on towards
the combatants. Suddenly the flashes ceased: still,
as the bearing of'the strangers had been taken,
there would be no difficulty in discovering them.
The crew of the Falcon" waited in vain for a
renewal of the flashes. The fight was over.
Which was the victor was the question. Ralph
heard the subject discussed by the officers on the
quarter-deck. They expressed their fears that
there would be no fighting.
An English ship would not have given in so.
soon," observed the first lieutenant.
"Not unless she is the smallest," answered the
purser, who was addicted to croaking.
"Then we shall have the satisfaction of re-
taking her and thrashing .her captor into the
bargain," said Mr. Handsel.
"But what if her captor is bigger than we
are?" asked the purser.
The Two Shipmates. 53
Thrash him notwithstanding," said the first
It is possible that more than two vessels were
engaged," remarked the captain. We shall know,
however, before long. Have the night signals
ready, Mr. Handsel. We must take care not to
fire into a friend."
The excitement on board increased as the
frigate, moving at the rate of two or three knots
an hour, drew near the spot where it was ex-
pected that the strangers would be discovered.
The men stood at their guns prepared to open
the ports and run them out when the order should
be given. The magazines were open and powder
and shot passed up. The surgeon and his assis-
tants were below in the cockpit making their
arrangements for the duties they might have to
perform; looking to their instruments, their
bandages and styptics, and rigging their ampu-
"How do you feel, Paul?" asked Dickenson
of young Chandos. If we could see the enemy
I shouldn't mind, but for my part I don't like
this sort of work in the dark,. I confess."
"I was thinking of home and my mother and
sisters," answered Chandos. I used to long to
be in a battle, and I should be sorry to miss it,
but I wish it was over. I would rather have to
look back at it than forward."
So would I, provided I hadn't lost an arm or
a leg or been killed outright," said Dickenson, in
a dolorous tone.
I haven't thought about being. killed, and I
54 TIhe Two Shi mates.
hope that neither you nor I will be," answered
Chandos; adding, "I shouldn't mind, perhaps, a
bullet through my arm or leg for the honour and
glory of the thing, and to talk about when we
"I'm sure I don't want any such honour and
glory, and I wish you wouldn't speak about such
things," groaned out Dickenson. "Perhaps we
shan't have a fight after all."
I hope we shall, though," exclaimed his more
plucky messmate; "that is to say if it does not
last too long. I could hold out for an hour or so,
but then I think I should begin to wish it was
"Beg pardon, young gentlemen; you'd hold out
better after the first hour than for the first five
minutes," observed old Jacob Crane, who had
overheard the conversation. "Just let us ex-
change a couple of broadsides and you'd think
no more about the matter than if you were
snowballing each other. I know the stuff you're
made of too well to doubt that."
Thank you, Crane, for the compliment," said
Chandos; "but do you think we shall have a
"Sure on't," answered the old man ; "just look
out over the larboard bow and you'll see three
ships hove to, and some bright lights in the
stern of the biggest of them. She's a lumping
frigate if she isn't something larger, and though
our signal has been hoisted some time she hasn't
The midshipmen, whose eyes were not so well
The Two Shipmates. 55
accustomed to pierce the gloom of night as were
old Jacob's, had at first some difficulty in dis-
tinguishing the three ships, though they saw the
bright lights he pointed out. Gradually the
frigate drew near, and the tall masts and wide-
spread canvas of the strangers appeared clearly
enough against the sky, like large phantoms
stalking across the waters. Still the private
signal remained unanswered. There could be
no longer any doubt that the largest ship was an
enemy, and that she had captured one or both
of the others. Notwithstanding her apparent
superiority, Captain Shortlands did not hesitate
about attacking her. Sail was shortened, and
the frigate stood on with top-sails, jib, and
spanker set, so as to be thoroughly under com-
mand. It was no longer necessary to keep the
ports closed. The order to open them and to
run out the guns was given, and at the same time
the crews of the guns were cautioned not to fire
a shot till they heard the word of command.
The hearts of the coolest beat quicker than usual as
when about midnight the Falcon," having drawn
within a mile of the enemy, the lights from the
fighting lanterns of the latter, which exhibited
two rows of ports, with only a small space
between them, gave her a most formidable
appearance. She evidently carried many more
guns than the English frigate.
"What's the odds, lads!" cried old Jacob,
when some of the men near him remarked this.
"It isn't the number of guns a ship carries
will give her the victory, it's the way they are
Thte Tvto Shiprnates.
fought, and we'll soon show the mounseers how
we can handle ours."
In a short time the enemy filled his sails, the
two ships thus nearing each other more rapidly;
then suddenly he hove in stays when on the lee-
bow of the Falcon," and his guns thundering forth,
sent their shot flying through her rigging, the
only serious effect, however, of which was to
bring down her jib. The "Falcon's" crew stood
ready, the captains of the guns with laniards in
hand eager to fire in return, but no order came.
Captain Shortland knew that he could depend
on the steadiness of his crew, and was reserving
their fire for a shorter and more effective distance.
Several more shots hurtled through the air around
The weathermost of the smaller ships is firing
at us, sir," observed the first lieutenant to the
"Never mind that, we can settle with her by
and by," was the answer.
Thus the "Falcon" stood majestically on as if
not a foe was near.
Though Ralph had never before seen a shot
fired in anger, he stood at his post close to the
wheel as calm and collected as the oldest seaman.
The eager crew had not much time to wait,
before, by a clever manceuvre, the frigate had
been brought with her starboard broadside to bear
directly on the stern of the French ship at less
than pistol-shot distance. At the same moment
the order to fire was passed along the decks and
rapidly obeyed. Every shot went crashing into
. -rll .'?
THE TWO SHIPMATES. Page 56.
The Two Skhimates.
the French ship, raking her fore and aft, and
probably killing the men at the wheel; for before
she had time to alter her position the Falcon"
luffed into the wind, just scraping clear of her
spanker-boom, and shooting up to leeward, let
fly the whole of her other broadside with terrible
effect into her opponent. So rapidly had this
manceuvre of the English frigate been performed,
that several of the Frenchman's weather guns
went off after she had passed to leeward. The
action was now carried on broadside to broadside,
the position in which British seamen most de-
"Aim low, my lads! aim low!" was the oft-
repeated order of the officers in charge of the
guns, as they moved along the decks; not that
there was much necessity for it, as the men had
got a good mark before them and were pounding
away at it as fast as they could load and run out
their guns. The Frenchmen were at the same
time vigorously returning their fire, but as if
intent on crippling their foe and then taking
her at a disadvantage, they sent most of their shot
flying through her rigging, bringing blocks and
spars and ropes in thick showers down on deck.
Though most of the enemy's shot flew high, others
came whizzing between the men's heads, crashing
into the sides of the frigate, or knocking away
her bulwarks. Several of the crew had been
wounded and carried below, but as yet two only
had been killed, their bodies being drawn aside,
when it was found that they were really dead, out
of the way of their shipmates at the guns. Hitherto
The Tzoo Shzihmanles.
Ralph had escaped unhurt, though the head of one
of the men at the wheel close to him had been
taken off by a round shot, and an officer near him
had been struck to the deck. By the lurid glare
from the quick succeeding flashes and the light
of the lanterns he caught a glimpse of Dick
working away manfully at one of the upper deck
guns, he, like most of the crew, stripped to the
waist, with a handkerchief tied round his head.
Now he was visible, now he was concealed by
the clouds of smoke which circling round and
then rising in the air formed a dark canopy over
the combatants. Young Chandos was not far
off. Whatever might have been his sensations
at first, he was collected enough now to attend
steadily to his duty, and the work going on was
a pretty severe trial to young nerves. The mid-
night battle raged fiercer and -fiercer. A shot
came flying by. Ralph felt that he was hit
severely in the arm, and was compelled to
summon another man to the wheel; but binding
up his wounded limb, he stood as before at his
post. Not many minutes afterwards a round
shot struck the bulwarks, sending splinters flying
in every direction. At the same moment Ralph,
who had his eye on the captain, saw him stagger,
and springing forward caught him with his un-
wounded arm just as he was falling to the deck.
Others gathered round. It was evident that he
had been most seriously wounded. In vain he
endeavoured to speak, but becoming senseless
was carried below. Lieutenant Handsel at once
took the command, making his clear voice, as he
The T~d Skhipmate. 59
issued his orders, heard amid the wild din of
battle. For an hour and a half the engagement
had raged on and yet was as furious as ever.
The lieutenant of marines, a tall, handsome young
man, was cut almost in two by a round shot soon
after the captain had fallen, and several more
men were hit. Aloft, however, the damage was
far more severe than on deck; the running
rigging hung in festoons, the standing rigging
was cut to pieces, every sail was riddled through
and through, and the masts and yards were badly
wounded in many places. Judging by the crashing
sound which came back from the French ship
after each broadside fired by the Falcon," and the
white splinters which flew from every part of her
upper works, she was in a still worse plight.
Still her crew kept up a hot fire. The young
midshipmen, and even others, might possibly have
begun to wish that the battle was over.
"Keep at it, my lads!" was the cry passed
along the decks; she'll soon give in."
Broadsides had been exchanged; another pro-
ceeded from the "Falcon;" but none came in
"Cease firing!" cried Lieutenant Handsel;
and as soon as all was silent he hailed the enemy
and asked if she had struck. No reply was made.
Again the Falcon opened fire.; but as the French-
men did not return it, she at once ceased, and a
second time the lieutenant hailed, but no answer
"We must give them more of it!" he shouted.
At that instant the smoke clearing away it
60 The Two Shipmates.
was seen that the rigging of the French ship was
swarming with men, who were endeavouring to
loose their top-gallant sails, apparently with the
intention of escaping. Some of the crew of the
" Falcon" were ordered aloft to set theirs while the
rest let fly another thundering broadside. Before
the Frenchmen had time to descend, the mizen-
mast of their ship fell over the side, and several
must have been plunged into the water; not a
minute afterwards the main-mast, fore-mast, and
bowsprit followed, and she lay a helpless wreck
on the ocean.
Loud cheers burst from the throats of the
British crew, and hearty shakes of the hand were
exchanged among them. Before the question was
asked a voice came from the French ship crying
out that she had struck, and entreating that the
English frigate would not again fire.
"No fear of that," was the answer; what ship
is she ?"
"The French frigate Concorde,' replied the
officer who spoke. "Send a boat, I pray, for we
have none left."
Three boats which had escaped injury were
instantly lowered, and Mr. Handsel, not aware
that Ralph was wounded, ordered him to go in
one of them. When he reached the deck of the
prize such a scene of horror as he had scarcely
imagined met his sight. The boats, booms, the
wheel, capstern, binnacle, and indeed all the
upper portions of the ship, were cut to pieces;
the bulwarks were destroyed and the starboard
side almost beaten in, while the decks, slippery
T1ce Two Shipmnates.
with gore, were literally strewn with the dead
and badly wounded. The French captain, two
lieutenants, several junior officers, and fully sixty
men were killed, and two other lieutenants and
eighty men were wounded. A young officer with
his arm in a sling, who by the death of his supe-
rior had succeeded to the command, presented
his sword in token of submission to the third
lieutenant of the "Falcon." It was at once re-
turned to him with a compliment to his bravery
and an expression of sympathy, and an assistant-
surgeon was sent for from the "Falcon" to attend
to the sufferers. Ralph was the first person the
young man spoke to on coming on board.
"You are hurt, Michelmore," he said, in a
friendly tone; I must look to you at once;"
and by the light of a lantern he dressed Ralph's
arm, which greatly needed care. "I fear that
our good captain is mortally wounded,; but he
has not forgotten you, for as soon as he came to
himself he ordered his clerk to make out your ap-
pointment as a midshipman and signed it, though
he could scarcely hold a pen. You'll come in for
your share of prize-money as such, and be placed
on the quarter-deck; so I'll congratulate you, my
lad. There, now you'll do; but I must get you
sent on board again, you're not fit for work here."
Ralph very unwillingly obeyed the order he
received to return to the Falcon." When he had
reached her he would not even then go below;
but though he was unable to handle a rope,
having reported himself to Mr. Handsel, he re-
ceived directions to superintend a party of men
62 The Two Siimanles.
in refitting the rigging. There was work indeed
for every one ; for though the "Falcon" had suffered
less than her antagonist, her masts and spars,
wounded in various places, required to be fished
and the standing rigging to be spliced, to enable
her to make sail and go in chase of the two
other ships just before captured by the Concorde."
Happily it fell perfectly calm; and thus, while the
prizes could not escape, time was obtained for
repairing damages. There was not a moment
to be lost, for every one knew that should a
breeze spring up before the rigging had been set
to rights, the tottering masts would to a certainty
go over the side.
AYLIGHT found the "Falcon's" crew still
hard at work, the prisoners on board the
"Concorde" being assisted by the English
seamen taken out of the two merchant vessels.
The latter were South Sea whalers, furnished, as
was not unusual in those days, with letters of
marque, and returning home from round Cape
Horn with full cargoes and a considerable amount
of booty. They lay, their sails all set, about two
miles off, waiting for a breeze to make their
escape. Their masters, who had been found as
prisoners on board the "Concorde," were eager
to attempt their recovery, and offered to man the
"Falcon's" boats with their crews, and to lead an,
The Two S/hipmates.
expedition against them. Mr. Handsel, however,
at first considered that it would be extremely
hazardous, and he could not spare the necessary
number of men for the enterprise. So busy
were all hands that no enquiries had been made
about the killed and wounded. Few perhaps even
thought of their shipmates writhing in agony
below. The voices of several officers wont to be
heard were silent, and not a few of their mess-
mates were missed from among them. At length
there was a rumour that their brave captain was
even worse hurt than was at first supposed-it
was soon whispered that he was dying-and then
came the news that he was dead. Many a tear
was dropped from the eyes of his hardy crew,
which the loss of their own messmates had failed
to draw forth. But there was no time to express
their sorrow. All hands had to work on as hard
as ever. The carpenters, having secured the masts
and spars, were busy with the boats. Mr. Handsel
at length determined to send an expedition to re-
capture the whalers, which, fortunately lying rather
more than a mile apart, could not assist each
other. Ralph offered to go in one of the boats;
as it was his left arm which was wounded, he
could steer or handle a cutlass with his right.
"Yes,youwill go in charge of the gig as an officer;
Mr. Symonds will take command of the expedition
in the pinnace; the masters of the whalers will go
in the other boats: should Mr. Symonds fall, the
command will devolve on you," said Mr. Handsel.
Mr. Symonds was a-master's mate; one of the
lieutenants being wounded and the other on
64 The Two Shipmates.
board the "Concorde," he was the next in rank
able to go. Four boats were quickly in the water,
the last nail being driven in by the carpenter as
they were being lowered. Their crews were
armed with pistols and cutlasses. It was resolved
to attack the nearest vessel first; and as she was
said to be the fastest sailor, should she be captured,
it was hoped that the other would be quickly over-
taken. Old Jacob and Dick were with Ralph.
The boats shoved off from the ship's side and
pulled for the nearest whaler. As they approached
she opened a hot fire, on which Mr. Symonds
ordered them to keep apart and to steer for her
stern. One of the masters in charge of the
pinnace did not hear the order. Ralph saw that
she was struck several times. Mr. Symonds'
boat also suffered. He with the second cutter
dashed on, the others following: one boarded on
each quarter. The Frenchmen had to quit their
guns and to defend themselves with pikes and
pistols, but their assailants quickly swarmed on
board, Ralph, in spite of his wounded arm, getting
up the side with Jacob's assistance.. The fight on
deck was short. The prize-crew gave way, and in
three minutes the English were in possession of
the ship. Ralph looked round for Mr. Symonds. He
lay dead in the stern of his boat, and Ralph found
himself in command of the prize. The master of
the whaler just captured was also killed. The
other was badly wounded, and several of their
men had fallen. Having secured the prisoners
and released the crew below, he ordered the boats
to tow ahead towards the other whaler. As they
The Two Shipmates. 65
approached she opened her fire, but by steering to
the eastward he kept directly ahead of her, out of
range of her guns. Getting still nearer, he brought
his broadside to bear on her, when the Frenchmen,
to avoid the consequences, hauled down their
colours. She was quickly taken possession of,
when the prize-crew were secured and the Eng-
lishmen remaining on board were released. As
each vessel had six boats they in a short time were
towed near to the Falcon." As they approached
they were received with a loud cheer, and Mr.
Handsel ordered Ralph to take command of the
first re-captured, the "Eagle," and to send all the
hands he could spare to assist in refitting the
" Concorde and setting up jury-masts. Of the
other vessel, the Penguin," her only surviving
mate took charge; for both had fought bravely,
and had not struck till after a long chase and
when several officers and men had fallen. Both
vessels had also so severely suffered in hull and
rigging, that it would have been dangerous without
undergoing repairs to proceed on their voyage.
Lieutenant Handsel therefore determined to
proceed with all the ships to Rio de Janiero, the
nearest port in the Brazils. Ralph could scarcely
believe that he was not in a dream when he thus
found himself in command of a fine ship, with
the probability of having to navigate her home.
Should however, a fitting man be obtained at: Rio
to take charge of her, he would be superseded and
have to return to the "Falcon." He naturally
hoped that no one would be forthcoming. He
should then realize his fondest hopes-be united
66 The Two Shipmates.
to Jessie-with a good sum from his prize-money
and pay as captain of the "Eagle" with which to
set up house. He might then rejoin the navy as
an officer, or obtain his discharge, or go back to
the Amity," should Captain Mudge wish him to
do so. I will not be ungrateful to my kind old
friend, though I suspect that Jessie would wish me
to remain in the service; and though I entered
unwillingly I should now be sorry to leave it," he
thought. Perhaps I may rise still higher-others
have done so-why should not I, if I do my duty,
and my life is preserved ?"
Ralph quicky got accustomed to his new posi-
tion. His scanty crew acknowledged that they
had never had a better captain. They were kept
of necessity at work, but he made that work as
light as possible by setting them to do it in the
best way it could be done, and only ordering them
to do what was absolutely required. Sailors, as
indeed is the case with most classes of men, are
very quick in discovering when they have an
efficient officer placed over them who knows his
duty. Insubordination and mutiny are generally
the consequences rather of the ignorance and sloth
of a captain than of tyranny.
Fortunately the calm continued. The decks
were washed clean of their bloody stains; the
dead were committed to their ocean graves, and
their shipmates, if they did not forget, soon ceased
to talk about them. Jury-masts were rigged on
board the "Concorde," and a breeze at length
springing up, the four ships, thus partially repaired,
made.sail for Rio.
The Two Shipmates. 67
Old Jacob and Dick had: accompanied Ralph on
board the "Eagle." It was an unfortunate circum-
stance for the latter. Spirits were more easily
obtained than on board the frigate, and he very
soon became quarrelsome and mutinous. Ralph
not observing his state, had directed him to per-
form some duty.
"Not for you, or any man like you. You who
were before the mast only yesterday, you think you
can top the officer over me, do you? I told you
1 wouldn't stand it, and I won't," exclaimed Dick,
reeling about and flourishing his arms as his
The whaler's crew laughed, and some of the
rougher characters even encouraged Dick with
. Ralph knew that discipline must be maintained,
though ready himself to bear any insult, and most
unwilling to punish-his former messmate. A boat
from the Falcon" was alongside. He ordered the
boatswain and some other men on whom he
could depend to seize Dick and lower him -into
her. It was done before the unhappy man knew
what was happening. Ralph then wrote a note
to Lieutenant Handsel, saying that the proceed-
ing was necessary to prevent worse consequences,
but begging that as Bracewell had behaved
bravely.in the action his offence might be over-
looked. Dick stormed and raged when he found
himself being carried back to the frigate, and
vowed that he would be revenged. Ralph re-
gretted what had happened the more, as he had
hoped that. by keeping Dick on board the Eagle'
The Two Shipupales.
he might have prevented him from attempting
to desert. He resolved however, as soon as they
arrived at Rio, to go on board the Falcon" and
to try and bring him to reason. Though the
distance to be run was not great, they were very
long about it. Light winds and calms prevailed,
and when there was a breeze the other ships
had to wait for the "Concorde," which under jury-
masts made but slow progress. At length land
was sighted, and all hoped to get in the next day.
As however evening drew on the weather .looked
very threatening. Dark clouds gathered rapidly
in the sky. Squalls in quick succession swept
over the ocean, and a heavy sea got up, in which
the ships plunged and rolled as they made their
way towards the harbour's mouth. Night coming
down on the world of waters, the rest were
ordered by a signal from the "Falcon" to stand
off the land till daylight. Ralph trembled for
the masts of the "Eagle," and was still more anxi-
ous about those of the "Falcon." The night became
very dark and the gale increased. The light from
the other ships could be distinguished aat' some
distance apart. The Falcon" and ." Penguin"
appeared to be making fair way, and the:." Eagle"
behaved very well, but the Concorde was evi-
dently dropping astern. Ralph had kept his eye
on her lights. They grew dimmer and dimmer.
It was doubtful whether she was even holding her
own. The "Eagle" was under close-reefed topsails,
and could with difficulty carry them. A perfect
hurricane was blowing dead on shore. "Lord
help those on board the prize! I can nowhere see
TVe Two S/iplnzales.
her lights," exclaimed old Jacob, who had been
looking out to leeward. She must have carried
away her jury-masts, or her canvas has blown to
ribbons, I fear. If not, we shouldn't have lost
sight of her."
Ralph looked in vain in the direction in which
he had last seen the lights of the "Concorde,"
while those of the frigate and the whaler were
clearly visible, the former about a mile ahead of the
"Eagle," and the latter rather further off, astern.
"If the wind doesn't change soon there'll go a
good lump of prize-money and the lives of a good
many poor fellows," observed old Jacob.
"But won't she be able to steer for the harbour,
Crane ?" asked young Chandos, who was however
thinking more of his two messmates and others
on board than of prize-money.
"It will be a hard matter to find it, even if they
can steer the ship at all; and considering the
way we knocked her about, it will be a wonder to
my mind if she doesn't go to the bottom before
morning," answered old Jacob with a sigh.
The anxious night passed away. When day
dawned, it was found that the ships were nearer
the land, notwithstanding all their endeavours to
beat off it, than they had been on the previous
evening. Many a glass was turned westward in
search of the Concorde," though the hope of dis-
covering her was slight. Not a trace of her was
to be seen. She with her prize-crew had pro-
bably foundered or gone on shore at the moment
her lights had disappeared. Still it was thought
possible that she might have been driven into
Zhe Two Shipmates.
some bay, or between high rocks, and be con-
cealed by them from sight.. Soon after dawn the
"Falcon" made the signal to bear up for the
harbour. She leading, and the two re-captured
whalers following, they stood towards it. Though
the sea broke impetuously on the rocks on either
side, they safely entered the magnificent harbour
of Rio de Janiero and dropped their anchors off
Lieutenant Handsel at once applied to the
authorities for guides, and a party was sent off,
,under the master and purser, to search the coast
to the northward for the wreck of the Concorde,"
and to, assist any of the crew who might have
escaped. The sea was still too rough to allow of
an expedition by water. Ralph in the meantime
was ordered to return to the Falcon" with Mr.
Chandos and the men-of-war's men who had ac-
companied him on board the "Eagle." Mr. Hand-
sel then told him that as there was no probability
of an English master being found at Rio to take
the Eagle home, he should direct him to do so,
and would furnish him with a document which
,would enable him to obtain a passage to rejoin
the Falcon in India, should he desire to remain
lin the navy. I would strongly advise you to do
so," he added; "and it will not be my fault-if
you do not gain promotion."
Ralph heartily thanked his commander, and
begged that he might be allowed to defer his
decision till his arrival-in England. Before going
on shore, which he had to visit to obtain work-
men for the repairs of the "Eagle," he went below
The Two S/hipynates.
to speak to Dick Bracewell. He hoped to soothe
his anger and to persuade him to give up his in-
tention of deserting. He did not see him as he
went along the decks. He ascertained that he
had not formed one of the exploring party. He
sent others to search for him, but he was nowhere
to be found. A number of shore-boats had been
going backwards and forwards all day between
the ship and the .shore, and Ralph had too much
-"reason to fear that Dick had smuggled himself
into one of them and made his escape. He felt it
his duty to inform the commander, that watch
might be kept to prevent others from following so
bad an example; and he received orders to take a
couple of,men and to bring back the deserter if he
could be found. He first returned to the Eagle"
to warn the boatswain, who was in charge, to look
sharply after their own men.
"Half are drunk already, and as they have
somehow or other managed to get liquor on
board there is no fear of them," was the un-
SRalph could only hope that the boatswain- him-
self would keep sober, and as he could not remedy
matters by remaining, he pulled on shore. Having
obtained an interpreter and guide from the British
consul, he commenced his search for Dick. After
looking for him for some time, he heard that an
English seaman, answering to his description, had
been seen to enter a house in the neighbourhood
of the town. Though it was now nearly dark he
set off at once in the hopes of finding him before
he could make his escape. He knew that he was
73 The Two Shipmales.
acting really a kind part towards Dick, who would,
if left on shore, soon fall a victim to intem-
perance and the unhealthy climate. The house
was reached. The inhabitants appeared to be
very much surprised at the visit, and though they
allowed a search to be made for the runaway, they
protested that they had never seen or heard of
him. With much regret Ralph returned to the
quay to go on board his ship. As he and his
party approached .the shore they observed a bright
glare in the sky over the harbour.
As I'm alive there's a ship on fire," exclaimed
one of the seamen. Hope it isn't our frigate."
"It is one of the ships which came in this
morning, at all events," observed the guide.
Ralph with an anxious heart hurried down to
the quay, where a number of people were already
collected. A ruddy glare extended far and wide
over the harbour from a fiery mass which floated
on its surface, lighting up the buildings and the
figures of the people on the shore,: and the ships
at anchor off it. Among them lay the "Falcon," her
sides and lofty masts and rigging brought pro-
minently into view. At some distance from her
was the "Penguin;" and what was Ralph's dismay
when he discovered that the burning ship was
the Eagle." His impulse was to go off at once to
her-but what aid could he render? Already the
flames were bursting through her hatchways and
ports and encircling her masts and spars. The
oil and casks in her hold once having ignited, no
human means could extinguish the conflagration.
lie looked for his boat. A boy alone was in her;
The Two SIipmates. 73
the other men, as was to be expected, had gone off
to a wine-house, and only just having heard that
a ship was on fire, came reeling down to the quay,
uttering exclamations of surprise when they dis-
covered that she was their own. Having tumbled
into the boat they were sufficiently sober to row;
and Ralph ordering them to shove off, steered
for the unfortunate "Eagle." Numerous boats were
moving about, and some around her, and he
hoped, therefore, that the people on board had
been rescued. It made him fear, however, that
all hope of saving the ship had been abandoned.
Still it was his duty to get on board if he could
to ascertain that every possible effort had been
made. He had passed through an outer circle
of native boats, and was dashing on, when he was
hailed by a man-of-war's boat, but not hearing
what was said, he was still continuing his course
and would soon have been close to his ship, when
there came a thundering report as if a whole
broadside had been fired. Her mizen-mast shot up
into the air, followed by a large portion of the after-
part of her deck and bulwarks and interior fittings;
some parts in large pieces, others rent into num-
berless burning fragments, which hung suspended
in the air, and then in a thick fiery shower came
hissing down into the water, the lighter bits
reaching considerably beyond where the boats lay;
Ralph had scarcely time even to get his boat
round before the shattered pieces of burning wood
began to fall thickly round his boat, threatening
in an instant to sink her, and to kill any one who
might be struck. Happily no one was hurt, The
74 The Two Shzipmaes. -
downfall of the wreck ceased; still the fire'in the
forepart of the ship was raging on, when the
bows and bowsprit rose in .the air surrounded by
flames which, tapering up into a vast cone of fire,
suddenly disappeared as, the stern sinking first, the
water swept over the remainder of this hapless
ship, and all was instantly dark, except here and
there where the smouldering ends of spars and
planks floated above the calm surface of the har-
bour.. Ralph with a sad heart pulled on board the
" Falcon," feeling himself reduced from the posi-
tion of captain of a fine ship to that of a master's-
assistant; and what weighed still more on his
spirits, that he had no longer the prospect of
returning to England and to his dear Jessie. He
was thankful to find that the boatswain and most
of the crew of the "Eagle had been rescued, with
the exception of three unhappy men who, over-
come by liquor, had been suffocated below. The
whole of the survivors entered on board the
"Falcon"-indeed they were not offered a choice.
*A dozen of her best hands were also taken out of the
" Penguin "-such being the custom of the times,
-when a King's ship wanted men. Their places
were filled by Portuguese and other foreigners,
thirty of whom were shipped by the Falcon" to
make up her complement, in addition to a few
runaway English seamen reduced to beggary, and
sent on board by, the consul. The exploring
party returned without a survivor from the "Con-
corde," a few pieces of wreck alone having been
found as evidence of her fate. Such is the sad
result of warfare. Three hundred human beings
The Two Sipmates. 75
had lost their lives on board the four ships, two
only of which now remained afloat. Ralph did
his utmost to discover Dick, but without success,
and at length he began to fear that he had been
drowned in trying to make his escape, or had-not
an unlikely occurrence-been murdered on shore.
The "Falcon," her repairs being completed, and
Mr. Handsel having written his despatches to
send home by the Penguin," and having given
himself an acting order as commander, sailed for
the East Indies.
. Ralph, as may be supposed, did not fail to write
to Jessie and Captain Mudge by the Penguin,"
and to leave duplicates of two letters with the
consul, to be forwarded by another opportunity.
.f OOR Jessie Flamank had good cause to be
' :, sad. For long she hoped against hope.
'-' Whenever the door opened her heart beat
quickly and she looked up half ready to spring from
her seat in expectation that her Ralph would
'appear. Her kind granny was unwilling to. say
anything which might quench the hope which kept
up her spirits, yet the dame knew full well that
:Ralph was too good a seaman to be allowed his
liberty. Captain Mudge looked in every evening
-when his work on board the "Amity" was over
for the day, and did his utmost to comfort Jessie.
'He would not say, however, whether he thought
76 The Two Shibmates.
that Ralph would come back soon, but he told her
that he was sure to get on well and be better off
in many respects than on board the brig. "As
to danger," he continued, "to my mind a man is
as safe in one place as in another. God, remem-
ber, looks after those who trust in Him; they
would be in a bad case if they had no other pro-
tection than such as they can find for themselves;
so I don't see, Jessie, that any of us can do more
for him than we are doing, that is, praying heartily
for him. As I always say, it's a blessed thing that
we can do that for ourselves and others, though we
can do nothing else for our own or their help."
Jessie did trust to God, but her trial was hard
to bear notwithstanding. Still it made her throw
herself more than she might otherwise have done
on His fatherly care, and- she felt her heart
lightened in a way she had not supposed possible.
She had abundance of occupation; for Mrs. Treviss
was accustomed to take in needlework to assist
her limited means, and as her eyesight had of late'
become dim, Jessie endeavoured to relieve her by
labouring with redoubled diligence.
Kind-hearted Captain Mudge seldom came to
the cottage without some welcome present, which
he said he had received as a gift from a brother
skipper just returned from a foreign voyage. One
day it was a Dutch cheese, another a few pounds
of choice tea, or a box of dried fruit or some
bottles of wine, and so on. One day, when the
package was larger than would have been becom-
ing for him, master of the good brig "Amity," to
carry through the streets, he was followed by a
The Two Shipmates, 77
boy wheeling it along in a barrow. The lad, who
was dressed in a neat sailor-like costume, set it
down in the passage and was going away, when
Jessie recognized, in spite of his changed appear-
ance, her young tatterdemalion boatman, Peter
Puddle. "What, Peter, I scarcely knew you again,"
she said. "You must stop and have something to
"Thank ye, miss, I'm not hungry, as I used
to be," he answered, in a tone of satisfaction.
" Captain Mudge has taken me aboard the 'Amity,'
and I get as much grub as I want, though I
shouldn't mind a bit of bread and cheese, thank
Jessie invited Peter into the kitchen and placed
before him a loaf of bread and some cheese, to
which, notwithstanding his assertion, he did ample
justice. She observed that he had improved. in
his manners as well as in his appearance. Before
beginning to eat, he said grace exactly in the words
the captain used and in the same tone. He told
her that Captain Mudge had given him an outfit
and was teaching him to read and say his prayers,
and was ever so kind in all sorts of ways. Oh,
miss, there isn't no one like him," he added.
" And only to think if I'd gone off at once that
night and hadn't picked those fellows up I might
have saved your young man from going to sea in
the frigate. I be main sorry, you may depend on't;
but I'll do all the captain tells me, that I will."
Jessie sighed. "The men might have lost their
lives had you not picked them up, though it was
indeed careless of you to forget your commission,"
The Two' Sht ipnales
she said. But what I have to forgive I heartily dot
forgive, and I hope that you will obey Captain
Mudge and follow his advice."
"That I will, miss, and thank you too for
speaking so kindly to me," answered Peter, warmly..
"I hope I may have a chance of showing-that I'm
grateful some day, though it isn't likely, I'll allow.":
The "Amity" was at length ready for sea. She
was bound out to Riga for staves, a somewhat
dangerous voyage in the autumn. Captain Mudge
came to wish the widow and her granddaughter
farewell.: "I've got a fresh mate," he said, a:
decent lad, but he isn't like Ralph, and I doubt if;
he's much of a navigator."
"Good-bye, Jessie, good-bye; heaven bless and
protect you; keep a good heart, my girl, you'll see
Ralph back some day," were his last words as he-
wrung her hand at the porch and hurried down
SWhen he had gone Jessie felt that she had lost;
the .truest friend she. possessed in the world next
to her .granny, and she could not help fearing:
that the days of her only relative were numbered.:
Every week Jessie. saw a marked change in her.;
She-could no longer get up and down stairs without
the greatest difficulty, her eyesight grew worse,
and her trembling fingers refused to hold a needle,:
while she could scarcely convey her food to her:
mouth. In one respect .she had not changed: her-
mind remained clear and her trust in God as firm.
as ever. She knew that she was dying, though she
was loth to say so to her grandchild, who would:
thus be left alone in the world. "God willlook
TIE TWO SHIPMATES.-PLYMOUTH.
The Two Shzpimnaes.
after the dear one," she said often to herself; "He
is ever the father of the fatherless and will not
forsake her." She longed, however, for the return
of Captain Mudge, but though it was the time
for him to be back no news had come from him.
A letter at last arrived from Ralph written from
the West Indies, which gave her an account of his
prospects of promotion, and cheered her up. He
was well and as contented as could be, and she
was thankful for that; still it compelled her to
abandon all hopes of his speedy return. When his
next letter arrived giving an account of the battle
and of the loss of the "Eagle" and his own bitter
disappointment she was sitting by the death-bed
of Mrs. Treviss. Had it not been for the burning of
the "Eagle," Ralph might even now have been with
her, but instead he had certainly gone to that far,
far off Indian Ocean, where he might be kept for
years. Jessie restrained her tears that she might
not disturb her grandmother's last hours.
Mrs. Treviss, who was thinking of Captain
Mudge, asked faintly if he was coming.
"No hope of it, dear granny," she answered, in
a faltering voice.
God's will be done! Trust to Him! trust to
Him!" whispered the old woman, closing her eyes
as if she was weary and wanted sleep.
Jessie sat long watching her anxiously. There
was no movement. She took her hand. It was
icy cold. Her granny was dead and she was
alone in the world. The doctor some time after
looked in and found the young girl still seated by
the bed side. He sent a woman, Dame Judson by
80 The Two Shipmates.
name, to assist her, and promised to make arrange-
ments for the funeral, but he had a large family of
his own and could do little more except in the
way of sympathy and advice. Mrs. Treviss was
carried to her grave, Jessie being the only mourner,
while Dame Judson walked by her side to afford
When-she came back to her solitary home she
could not for some time arouse herself from her
grief, though Dame Judson, a motherly sort of
woman, tried her best to console her. Jessie, how-
ever, felt that it was necessary to consider what
she should do for her support. The cottage was
hers, and she had about ten pounds a year left her,
the interest of a sum in the hands of Messrs. Gray-
son and Co., shipowners, of Plymouth. She could
make something by her needle, but scarcely suffi-
cient, though she was resolved to try her best.
She would have let her cottage and looked for a
situation as a lady's-maid or a nursery-governess,
but then should Ralph come back he would be
disappointed at not finding her there, and she
might not even hear of his return, so she would
not entertain the idea for a moment. She might
find an old lady to lodge with her, and her last
idea was to open a school for little girls. She had
no one to consult with. Worthy Dame Judson
hadn't an idea above charming; with her neighbours
she was but slightly acquainted. Messrs. Grayson
and Co. had paid her grandmother's interest regu-
larly, but were not pleasant people to speak to.
They had been part owners with her father in the
"Dolphin," the ship in which he had been wrecked.
The Two S@ipmates.
Having neglected to insure her they had lost a
good deal of money by the circumstance, and
being especially narrow-minded entertained an ill
feeling even for poor Jessie herself, which they
exhibited whenever she went to their office. She
had been to a good school in Exeter, but the lady
who kept it and who would have been of great
assistance was dead, and the school broken up.
The clergyman of the church Jessie attended,
on hearing of her unprotected condition, imme-
diately called on her to offer such consolation
and assistance as he had the power to bestow.
He was however the vicar of an extensive parish,
which, in addition to its usual large number of
poor, contained at the time very many widows
and orphans of the soldiers and sailors killed
during the long protracted war, who demanded
all his sympathy and attention. Having also but
a limited income, insufficient for the extensive
demands on his purse, he was unable to afford her
any pecuniary assistance. His visits, few and
far between, like those of angels, as'they of ne-
cessity were, afforded her much comfort and sup-
port, as he never failed to urge her to seek for
that strength from on high which will always be
granted when asked for with a believing heart;
and to place her reliance on Him Who orders all
for the best, though man, with his finite powers of
mind, often fails to perceive it.
The only other person she could consult was
Mr. Barry, the apothecary, and he had but little
time to give his thoughts to the subject.
The "Amity" had in the meantime gone back to
The Two Shi15nales.
London and had made several other distant voyages
without returning to Plymouth. The captain had
written to her, but on each occasion had again
sailed without receiving her replies, and was thus
not aware of her grandmother's death. At length
a letter reached him while he lay in the Thames,
and in his answer he promised to come and see
her without fail at the end of the next voyage. A
long time passed after this and no tidings came of
him. She lived on in hopes, however, of his
promised visit, till at length she heard from Mrs.
Judson of a rumour that the "Amity" was lost with
"But don't ye take on so now, my dear," ex-
claimed the good woman when she saw the effect
her announcement had produced. We often hear
of vessels going to the bottom which are all the
time snug in some port or other, and perhaps the
Amity,' which has to be sure been a terrible long
time missing, will come back some day with her
old captain all right."
These remarks slightly revived poor Jessie's
hopes, but weeks and weeks went by and the old
captain did not appear. Still she thought that the
Amity" might have been captured by the enemy
and be in some foreign port, but the brokers had
not heard from Captain Mudge, and even though
a prisoner he would have managed to send a letter.
She had long been expecting, also to hear from
Ralph. She was certain that he would have
written if he had had the opportunity, but no
news came of him. India was a long way off,
and letters were often six months gr even a year
The Two S/ho~inates.
in coming, she knew. She was therefore, though
anxious, not alarmed, but she could not help watch-
ing with a beating heart each day at the hour the
postman was wont -to pass her door, in the ex-
pectation that he would stop with a letter in his
Months and months passed, none came. Her
heart sickened, her cheeks grew pale. Again
Dame Judson was the bearer of bad tidings. She
didn't wish to alarm Miss Flamank, not she, but
she had heard a report that one of His Majesty's
ships had been lost in the Indian seas with all
hands, and she was greatly afraid that it might be
the 'Falcon.' There were many other ships though
on the station, and it might just as likely be one of
Jessie had never before fainted in her life, but
she would have fallen to the ground had not Mrs.
Judson caught her and carried her to the sofa.
The good woman was dreadfully frightened, for
she thought that Jessie was dead and that she had
killed her by her incautious announcement. She
tried all the usual expedients to restore animation,
and at length the poor girl opened her eyes, but
there was a pained yet vacant expression in them
which the dame could not fail to remark.
Mr. Barry happened soon afterwards to look in
to say that he had the promise of four or five
pupils, but he at once saw that poor Jessie would
be unable to receive them for a long time to come.
For weeks she remained in a sadly prostrated
state, attended by Dame Judson, who looked after
her, as she said truly, without hope of fee or reward,
84 The Tzbo SAhimales.
Youth and a good constitution prevailed at length
and Jessie recovered her health, though her heart
seemed crushed, and she was unable to exert her-
self as she knew was necessary to obtain a liveli-
hood. Poor girl! she felt utterly alone in the
world. Still, though the news of the "Falcon's" loss
was confirmed beyond all doubt, and the widows
and children of her officers and crew entitled to
pensions had received them she heard, she herself
would not abandon all hope of seeing Ralph.
Had she not prayed to God that he might be
preserved from all dangers with the truest faith ?
and oh, how earnestly! though, as in duty bound,
she had added, "Thy will be done." She even
now tried from her heart to repeat those words
and to bow meekly to the will of her Heavenly
Father. He knows what is best and does all for
the best, as granny used to tell me, and as the
kind vicar often says," she repeated to herself; "I
am sure of that, though I cannot see it in this
case, but that arises from my blindness and little
IND Mrs. Judson had gone to her own
house. Jessie was seated at her work
near the window for the sake of the light
on an evening- in the spring of the year,- when
she saw a man in a- sailor's dress pass the garden
gate, then stop and make inquiries of a passer by.
The .Two Shipmates. 85
Presently he came back, and opening the gate,
knocked at the door. Her heart beat violently.
He was a stranger, not at all like Ralph; but
could he have brought news of him ? She flew to
open the door.
Beg pardon, ma'am; are you Jessie Flamank ?"
asked the stranger, pulling off his hat with a
Oh, who are you? Oh, tell me why you have
come !" exclaimed Jessie, scarcely able in her
agitation to utter the words.
:" Why, do you see, I'm an old shipmate of one
you knew once upon a time, and I thought as now
I was at Plymouth I'd come and look you up and
see how you were getting on, and have a talk
about him," answered the man, stepping in as
Jessie made way for him.
"Then do you bring me no news of him-of
Ralph Michelmore?" she asked, in a trembling
",Not what you may call news ; seeing as how
it's better than two years since I last set eyes on
my old messmate," answered the stranger, taking
a chair, while Jessie, unable to support herself,
sank into the one she had left. "He told me all
about you," he continued, "how you were to be
married when he was pressed along with me and
others, and so I came to know you: and said I
to myself now that he's gone, poor fellow, and
she's all forlorn-like, maybe, I'll try and comfort
her a bit."
Poor Jessie! This strange address from the
rough sailor, though apparently kindly meant, had
86 The Two Sh~imates.
anything but the effect intended, for she burst
"Now don't take on so," said the sailor, "I
didn't think as how I'd have made you cry, or I
wouldn't have talked about Ralph. Maybe he
wasn't lost with the old 'Falcon.' I've known
men turn up after ever so many years, whom I
thought fathoms deep below the waves long afore.
Not but what he'd have been sure to come back
to you if he could, that's certain."
"You have not told me who you are. How
did you escape from the shipwreck ?" said Jessie,
at length becoming calm enough to speak.
"I've had a purser's name for some time past,
but I don't mind telling you I'm Dick Bracewell,
who sailed along with Captain Mudge in the
'Amity' once upon a time," answered her visitor.
"And as to how I escaped, why I'd left the ship
after we took the Frenchman and put into Rio,
and I didn't know but what Ralph was still aboard
her, and a lieutenant by that time, till I heard
when I came ashore last that she was lost with
Jessie did not quite like Dick's way of speaking,
still it was a melancholy satisfaction to her to
talk of Ralph; and as her visitor appeared to
mean kindly, she did not express any wish that
he would take his departure. He sat and sat on
telling her many particulars about Ralph while on
board the the "Falcon;" how well he had behaved
in the action, and how he had been made an
A fictitious name sailors who have deserted generally assim.
to escape recognition,
The Two Szhpmates. 87
officer, and been placed in command of the "Eagle."
Dick did not however tell her everything that had
occurred regarding himself; but though he was
not aware of it his tone betrayed the feeling of
jealousy which he had entertained, and which her
quick perception detecting, did not raise him in
her estimation. At last she had to tell him that
it was getting late, and to beg that he would go
"Well I hope that I may call again and spin
another yarn about old times," he answered, as he
took up his hat.
She did not like to say no, and yet his con-
versation had not left a pleasant impression on
her mind. When she had closed the door behind
him, she sat down and cried bitterly. It seemed
to her more certain than ever that Ralph was lost.
Her evening reading of the Bible and her prayers,
that solace of the afflicted, restored calmness to
Day after day Dick Bracewell came to pay her
a visit, and believing him to have been Ralph's
particular friend, she did not like to decline seeing
him. He told her that after he had left the Falcon"
he had joined a privateer, which had been wonder-
fully successful; that they had taken a rich Spanish
galleon and many other valuable vessels, and that
he having become one of the mates of the ship had
had a large share of prize-money; enough, he de-
clared, to set him up as an independent gentleman
for life. To wind up his good luck he had. come
home in charge of the last prize they had made,
which was fully as rich as any of the rest
88 The Two Shipmates.
"My old shipmate, he that's gone, told me that
I should be ruined if I left the frigate, but he was
".wrong you see," added Dick. "He thought too
that I hadn't the sense to take care of my money,
if I got any, but I had had a sharp lesson or two,
and I made up my mind not to touch liquor
whether afloat or ashore, and I've kept to it for
better than two years."
Jessie had heard Ralph mention Dick Bracewell
once or twice, but knowing nothing about his
character did not doubt the truth of his state-
ments. Still Dick had not, as he supposed, gained
her confidence. His frequent visits were, as might
have been expected, noticed by Jessie's neigh-
b6urs, and Dame Judson looked in one morning
ofi purpose to tell her of the remarks she had heard,
and to give her advice on the subject. She con-
cluded by saying, "If you think that he is worthy
of you, my dear, which I don't, why there is
nothing to say. You are your own mistress, and
can marry him when-"
"I marry him!" interrupted Jessie. "Oh,
Mrs. Judson, how can you think of such a thing?
I did not suppose that he or any one else dreamed
for a moment that I fancied he was making up to
me, or I would not have received him after his
first visit. Do, Mrs. Judson, stay with me to-day,
and if he comes tell him that I cannot see him,
and beg that he will not come again."
Mrs. Judson very readily consented to do .as
Jessie wished. She had made inquiries about
Dick Bracewell, and did not altogether believe in
the capture of the Spanish galleon, though she
The Two Shipzates. 89
heard that he had come ashore from a prize
brought into Plymouth to be sold. The dame
had brought her work, and took Jessie's usual
place by the window to watch for Dick. She had
not been there long before she saw a young sailor
approach the house, and, without stopping, walk
straight up to the door. "That isn't Dick Brace-
well. I wonder who he can be," she exclaimed
as a knock was heard.
Can it be Ralph?" gasped out Jessie, rising
from her seat.
"Oh, no, my dear, he's much too young-looking.
You mustn't have such a fancy. Ill see what he
wants," said the dame, going to the door.
"'Please, ma'am, does Miss Flamank still live
here? asked the young sailor.
What do youwant to sayto her?" said the dame.
I've a great deal to say to her, and I think
she'll know me when I tell her who I am," replied
"Do let him come in, Mrs. Judson," exclaimed
Jessie, eagerly, her heart beating with the belief
that she should hear news of Ralph.
The stranger, doffing his hat, advanced into the
room and stood before Jessie with a smile on his
countenance as if expecting instantly to be re-
cognised. I thought, Miss Flamank, that you'd
have known me," he said at length; I've never
forgotten you and your kindness to me. Don't
you remember Peter Puddle?"
"Oh! yes, yes; indeed I do," exclaimed Jessie,
putting out her hand. "And is the 'Amity' not
lost ? Is Captain Mudge still alive ?"
90 The Two Shipmates.
Peter shook his head. "I wish I could say
there was any chance of that," he answered.
"When the old brig went down in the dead of
night, I was left afloat on a hen-coop, which the
old captain had just before cast loose and told me
to cling to, for all our boats were stove in. And
I never saw him, nor any one belonging to the
' Amity' alive again. Next morning I was picked
up by a ship bound out to the West Indies, and
I've been knocking about in those seas ever since.
The captain had taught me navigation, and, what
was better still, to read the Bible; and as I just
did what that tells me to do, I got a good
character aboard. I was made third mate, and- the
other two dying, I became first mate for want
of a better man; though I was very young for
such a charge. But I did my best, and the captain
was satisfied, and says, that as he didn't want a
better, I should sail with him again next voyage.
We sailed for home at last, bound for London;
but having sprung a leak, and carried away our
foremast, put into Plymouth for repairs-and
that's how I've been able to come up to see you.
But I've not yet spun all my yarn. Tell me,
Miss, have you never got any letters from me?"'
No," answered Jessie, I have not received a
single letter from abroad for three long years or
more," and she sighed sadly.
I thought 'twas so when I got no answers to
three I wrote," said Peter. "What I had to tell
you was this,-that just before the brig went
down the captain made fast to the hen-coop a
bag with fifty golden guineas in it, and charged
The Two Szi.i5nates.
me, if I escaped, to take it to you. I unlashed it
and managed to get it into my pocket just before
I was hoisted on board. There would have been
small chance of my keeping it, however, if I had
not fallen among honest people; but when I came
to know the captain, I was sure that it would
be safe in his hands, so I gave it into his charge,
and he stowed it away for me, and showed me
where it was kept. If he hadn't done this I should
have lost it, for a few months ago, when we were
down in the Bay of Honduras; we were chased
and overtaken by a schooner under Spanish colours.
Her crew, a set of fellows of all nations, calling
themselves privateer's men, though they were more
like pirates, robbed us of everything they could
lay hands on, and all the specie they could find
belonging to the captain and owners, and had
begun to scuttle the ship, and would no doubt
have set fire to her besides and carried off our
boats, when an English man-of-war hove in sight
bringing up a strong breeze. The pirates, some of
whom I was sure were Englishmen, in spite of
their dress, for I heard them speaking and should
know two or three of them again, made off and
allowed us to stop the auger holes and pump out
the water. Their schooner, being a fast craft,
escaped; but the man-of-war, having seen us safe
on our way to Barbadoes, went back to look for
her. If she didn't find her, she. would at all
events have made those seas too hot for the pirate.
I was better pleased than anything else that your
money was saved, and here it is all right, just as
the captain did it up for you,"
The Two Ship/zates.
As Peter spoke he placed on the table before
Jessie a small weather-stained canvas bag, and
undoing the string, counted out fifty guineas.
They are all right," he continued, "and my
heart is lightened of the thought I've always had
that I might lose them, though I would have made
it up to you somehow or other, that I would."
Tears choked Jessie's titterance as she thought
of the kind captain who had remembered her in
his last moments, and of the sturdy honesty and
faithfulness of Peter.
"I am, indeed, grateful to you as I am to
Captain Mudge," she said at length, but surely
you are entitled to some of this."
Not a dollar would I touch, not if all the
judges in the land were to order me to take it,"
answered Peter, replacing the money in the bag,
which he tied up and pressed into her hands.
"There, it's all for you, and I wish you knew how
happy I am to give it to you safe at last."
Before Jessie could reply there was a knock at
the door. Mrs. Judson went to open it. "Miss
Flamank cannot see you," Jessie heard her say.
She never sent that message," exclaimed Dick
Bracewell, brushing by her and entering the room.
He cast an angry glance at Peter as if he con-
sidered him an intruder, and advanced to shake
hands with Jessie. She drew back greatly an-
noyed at his conduct.
"Mrs. Judson told you I was engaged," she said.
She told me you couldn't see me; but when a
man loves a girl, and knows pretty well that she
likes him, he isn't to be stopped by trifles," he
The Twieo Siemates. 93
answered, throwing himself into a chair, as if he
felt perfectly at home.
A feeling of indignation prevented Jessie from
saying anything. Meantime Peter had been
narrowly eyeing her unwelcome visitor, and step-
ping up to him, said-
You've just come from the West Indies, mate,
I've a notion?"
"Yes, I've been in those seas," answered Dick,
for having told Jessie so, he could not deny the
I thought as much, and we met there not long
ago in a way I'm not likely to forget," said Peter,
quietly. "May be you don't remember me, but I
do you, I can tell you; and there are not a few of
the crew of the 'Kate' who will remember you,
too, if they set eyes on you."
Dick, taken by surprise, turned pale, and de-
clared he did not know what the young man
meant; but Peter again minutely described how his
ship had been boarded by pirates on the Spanish
Main, and positively asserting that Dick was one
of them, advised him, if he valued his life and
liberty, to clear out of Plymouth without delay.
Dick, as might have been expected, swore that
the young man, as he called Peter, was mistaken;
but shortly after observing that it was clear he
was not wanted, took up his hat, and without
much leave-taking, hurried out of the house.
. Jessie, who feared that Peter was right in his sus-
picions, thanked him for giving Dick the warning.
"He was once, at all events, Ralph Michel-
more's friend, and I should have grieved if you
The 7rwo Shzpmales.
had been the means of bringing him to punish-
ment," she said.
I'd not hurt him, Miss Jessie, on any account,"
answered Peter, but as I judged by the way you
spoke to him that he was not welcome, I thought
I would just say what would make him keep away
for the future."
Peter remained to dinner and amused Jessie
alid Mrs. Judson with an account of his adven-
tures, in all of which his -honesty and courage
were remarkable, though he was not aware that
what he said exhibited it.
"That's what the right training of good Cap-
tain Mudge has done for him," observed Mrs.
Judson, when he had gone. "I remember him a
regular pickle; and if he had been left to himself,
he would have been a vagabond all his life, like
many others who have had no kind friends to look
Peter's warning had not, it appeared, been lost
upon Dick Bracewell; for from that day Jessie
saw him no more.
. Peter came constantly, while he remained- in
Plymouth, to see her. At his last visit, he put
the sum of thirty pounds into her hands. I want
you to take this, Miss Flamank, and to spend any
of it you like," he said, while a blush spread over
his sunburnt countenance. It's my savings since
I was. picked up by the 'Kate,' and I always
intended it for you.-Well, if you won't accept it
as a gift, remember, if what happens to many a
sailor happens to me, it will be yours. Now,
don't say no, and you'll make me more happy than
I can tell you,'"
The Two Shi.zmate. 95
Peter would take no refusal, so at last Jessie
consented to receive the money, though she
resolved not to spend it on any account. After
Peter had sailed, Jessie lived on much as before,
except that with the money she had received she
was able to obtain many of the necessaries she
had before denied herself. Still her pale cheek
told of a sad heart, and though more than one
young man well to do in the world asked her to
become his wife, she remained faithful to the
memory of her lost Ralph.
T HE"'Falcon.proceeded on her voyage to India.
Though she was refitted as thoroughly as
was possible in a foreign port, her com-
mander had no wish to encounter another enemy
with so large a proportion of his crew untried and
inexperienced. He did his utmost however to get
them into efficient order, and every day that the
weather permitted they were exercised at the
guns, as well as at making and shortening sail,
and taught the use of the small arms.
Ralph Michelmore was fully occupied, and had
but little' time to think of his bitter disappoint-
ment at not returning home in the Eagle." By
the time the Falcon" reached the Hoogly, the
crew had been brought into excellent order, and
were highly complimented by the admiral on the
station. There being no post-captain to super-
s;de him, Mr. Handsel received an acting order
96 The Two Shkmates.
to continue in the command The "Falcon"
was allowed just time to take on board a fresh
supply of powder, shot, and other stores and
provisions, when she was ordered to proceed in
search of an enemy's cruiser, said to have captured
several English merchantmen in the southern part
of the Indian Ocean. She was supposed to be
a heavy frigate, equal, if not superior, in force to
the "Falcon," but neither Captain Handsel nor
any of his ship's company had the slightest doubt
as to what would be the result of an action should
they be fortunate enough to fall in with her.
SA sharp look-out was kept, and the ocean
traversed in all directions for several weeks, but
no traces of her could be discovered, till at
length a prize she had taken only two days before
was recaptured. Her probable whereabouts having
been ascertained from the prisoners, the prize
being sent on to Calcutta, the "Falcon" under all
sail steered in the direction where it was hoped
the enemy would be found. The stormy season
was approaching. The weather, indeed, had al-
ready changed for the worse; but still Captain
Handsel was unwilling to return to port, when on
the point, as he hoped, of meeting the long
A strong breeze was blowing from the north-
east, and the frigate was steering south, under all
the canvas she could bear. The crew had just
been piped to breakfast.
"A sail on the lee bow," shouted the lo6k-out
at the mast-head.
Ralph was sent aloft to examine the stranger.
The Two Szipmates. 97
She was standing close hauled to the northward.
From the squareness of her yards, he had little
doubt, seen even at that distance, that she was a
man-of-war, but as the two ships were rapidly
nearing each other, the matter would soon be
decided. The course of the "Falcon" was altered
so as to intercept the stranger. Suddenly, how-
ever, the latter was seen to wear ship, and, setting
more sail, to stand away before the wind. The
" Falcon was already carrying as much as she
could well stagger under; still, eager to overtake
the fugitive, the captain ordered the top-gallant sails
to be loosed, and. on flew the Falcon," like the
bird from which she took her name, in chase of her
expected prey. A stern chase is proverbially a
long chase. It seemed doubtful, after the lapse
of several hours, whether she was gaining ground
on the stranger. The evening was drawing on;
the gale was increasing.
"Hand the top-gallant sails!" shouted the
captain. The crew were going aloft when there
came a loud crash. The fore and main top-
gallant masts were carried away. Two poor
fellows were struck-one fell dead on the deck,
the other was knocked overboard. To heave to
was impossible. The wreck of the masts was
cleared away, and two reefs taken in the topsails,
and the courses brailed up. The frigate flew on
at her utmost speed. It was now almost, night,
and it was feared that the chase would escape in
the darkness. Still it was possible, with the
heavy gale blowing, that she might continue on
the course she was steering.
Tue Two Shzrnclates.
When darkness came down over the ocean
the chase could still be seen through the night-
glasses, standing as before. As night, however,
drew on, clouds gathered thickly in the sky,
the obscurity became greater, the gale heavier,
and after a tremendous squall, which struck the
frigate, had passed over, those on the look out
could nowhere discern the chase.
The captain, however, did not believe that she
had hauled her wind, and hoped to come up with
her perhaps with her masts gone. The master,
after speaking with the captain, had gone below
to examine the chart, but even that could not be
relied on, as the part of the ocean they were then
in, was, in those days, but imperfectly known, and
prudence dictated that they should heave to till
The captain, in the meantime, expecting
every instant again to sight the chase, kept
the ship on her course. Ralph was standing
aft with his two young messmates, Chandos and
Dickenson, who had become much attached to
What do you think of it, Michelmore? I
don't like running into the darkness as we are
doing," observed the former.
"The darkness will not hurt us, and provided
there are no rocks or shoals in our course we may
run on as safely as in the daytime," answered
Ralph. "I examined the chart, and the nearest
islands marked on it are, if they are correctly laid
down, full fifty leagues to the south of us, though
there are some shoals rather nearer."
The Two Shiipmatcs. 99
The master, who had been below, returned
hurriedly on deck, and spoke to the captain.
If so, we'll heave the ship to," was the answer.
Scarcely had the order been given to "Put the
helm a'lee," than the look-out forward shouted
" Breakers ahead!" and the next instant a fearful
crashing sound was heard. The ship quivered
from stem to stern, the tall masts rocked,
and those on deck, unable to hold on to the bul-
warks, were thrown off their feet. It was a
moment of intense suspense. The head-sheets
had been let fly. Would the ship answer her
helm? No. A tremendous sea met her bows,
sweeping over her deck, and carrying several men
in its relentless grasp into the raging surf to lee-
ward. Again she struck, with greater violence
than before; the next sea hove her on her beam
ends. The carpenter reported twelve feet of
water in the hold, and rapidly increasing-a rock
had gone through her. The captain ordered the
masts to be cut away. He had abandoned all
hopes of saving the ship, and his only thought
now was how to preserve the lives of his people.
A party of the crew, led by Ralph and other
officers, with gleaming axes quickly severed the
weather rigging, and a few strokes were sufficient
to send the tall masts, with their spars, crashing
over to leeward. The furious seas in quick
succession struck the devoted ship, carrying away
her bulwarks, and destroying several of her boats.
The officers and crew were collected on the
quarter-deck, for the stern of the ship having
swung round it was least exposed to the assaults